White rice is considered a staple in many cuisines around the world. Many people deem it to be healthy, but it’s actually highly processed and doesn’t contain nearly as many nutrients as wild and brown rice.
White rice is also often included on the list of foods allowed on a low-acid, GERD-friendly diet.
So, is it acidic? Is white rice OK for acid reflux and GERD diets?
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Is white rice good for acid reflux?
White rice is generally considered safe for people who suffer from acid reflux and GERD. In fact, some experts say that it might help alleviate symptoms like heartburn thanks to the presence of fiber. This carb helps soak up excess stomach acid, preventing it from refluxing up your esophagus. So, adding white rice to your diet may actually be beneficial for your health.
What is the pH level of white rice?
Rice has a pH level of around 6.00-6.70. Generally, rice is considered mildly acidic due to its pH level.
But adding white rice to your diet, especially if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, may actually greatly benefit your health.
Most types of rice are neutral in terms of their acidity, so eating it should be fine on a low-acid diet.
Even though white rice isn’t acidic, be careful about how you prepare it. Frying it will reduce the pH level and contribute to the release of acid-forming minerals.
Because of that, fried rice, especially with a lot of oil and salt, might worsen your acid reflux symptoms.
So, make sure to boil your rice and serve it with fresh or cooked veggies and healthy herbs to ensure that it helps your acid reflux.
Is white rice good for you?
Most calories in white rice come from carbohydrates, including fiber. Unfortunately, white rice has a rather high glycemic index, which means that the carbs in white rice are turned into sugar in your blood rather fast.
This causes rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels, raising your risk of type 2 diabetes.
But it doesn’t mean that you should completely avoid white rice as it’s still filling and can make for a great energy source.
Some studies also found that eating rice regularly may help you lose weight. Unfortunately, the data is conflicting as white rice isn’t too high in important nutrients and is rather caloric.
As a result, the weight loss benefit might only be evident when white rice is eaten with healthy high-fiber veggies and good sources of protein.
So, if you consume it in moderation, it might help you maintain a balanced weight.
In addition, enriched white rice, which is commonly available in most grocery stores, contains a lot more folate, around 23% of your daily recommended need for this vitamin.
This is much higher than regular white rice and brown rice combined.
Because of that, eating white rice might be especially beneficial for pregnant women, as this micronutrient helps during early pregnancy and reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine.
There are some downsides to eating white rice, though. Some studies believe that eating too much white rice may increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.
This is a name for a group of risk factors that increase your risk of health disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
To avoid this risk, experts recommend switching to brown rice, which has nutrients and compounds that help prevent heart disease.
White rice also grows in certain parts of the world where the soil is contaminated with arsenic.
The rice plant soaks up more arsenic than other food crops, so it might become a problem, especially for people who consume a rice-based diet.
High intake of arsenic increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, and it’s also toxic to your nerves.
Some types of rice are lower in arsenic, such as jasmine and basmati rice, so it might be best to choose these.
How does white rice help acid reflux?
White rice contains some essential fiber. This carbohydrate helps soak up excess stomach acid, which is the culprit behind heartburn and other symptoms.
It also contains healthy carbs and very little sugar, which is great for your digestive system and overall health.
Because of that, adding some healthy carbs like rice to your diet can ease the symptoms of acid reflux in many people, especially when consumed along with some high-fiber veggies.
Most types of white rice are often enriched with minerals and vitamins that help keep your digestive system healthy.
They also improve the health of the ‘good’ gut bacteria that live in your stomach and intestines.
These bacteria help prevent too much gastric acid from accumulating in your stomach, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux symptoms.
Keeping your digestive system healthy also reduces your risk of indigestion and other issues, including certain types of cancer.
Is brown rice better for acid reflux?
Brown rice has a pH level of 6.20-6.80, which is slightly higher than white rice. It’s also neutral in terms of acidity, but it might be much better for your acid reflux symptoms.
Brown rice isn’t stripped from most nutrients like white grain is, so it’s much higher in fiber.
In fact, one cup of brown rice provides you with 3.5 g of fiber, whereas the same serving of white rice contains only about 0.6 g.
Because of that, brown rice might be even better at soaking up excess stomach acid.
Brown rice is also loaded with nutrients, including niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
It’s also much higher in powerful plant compounds and antioxidants. These help flush out harmful free radicals from your body, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, among others.
So, adding some brown rice to your diet can be incredibly beneficial.
While white rice is less nutritious than brown rice, adding it to your diet can help you soothe some acid reflux and GERD symptoms, such as heartburn.
It also contains some important minerals, so it can be a great part of a healthy, balanced diet.
What’s more, white rice isn’t acidic, so you can safely eat it on a low-acid diet along with some alkaline-forming, high-fiber veggies.