Bananas are loved by a lot of people all over the world, and have been labelled by many as the most consumed fruits in the world. They are a favorite fruit of many people, including those with acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
People suffering from acid reflux need to cut down on their consumption of acidic foods. For this reason, they all want to find out whether bananas are acidic or alkaline; and how people with acid reflux or heartburn react to their consumption.
Are bananas acidic or alkaline?
Acidity or alkalinity of a substance is measured on a scale of 14 (the pH scale). Values from 0 to 6.9 indicate acidity, while those from 7.1 to 14 indicate alkalinity. The intermediate value of 7 indicates a neutral position. So, where are bananas positioned on this scale?
Before we mention the pH of bananas, it is important to note that the pH of a fruit usually depends on its degree of ripeness. Usually, an unripe fruit tends to be more acidic than a ripe one. So, a ripe fruit has a pH that is slightly less acidic than an unripe one. For this reason, an unripe banana is more acidic than a ripe one.
Bananas generally have a pH that ranges from 4.5 to 5.3. Unripe bananas have a pH that is usually less than 5, while the ripe ones have a pH that is above 5, and can go as far as 6.5 depending on the degree of ripeness.
Considering the above pH ranges, we can conclude that bananas are acidic, with the ripe ones only slightly acidic, as they have a pH that’s near a basic range.
Are bananas good for acid reflux or heartburn?
Many people suffering from acid reflux do get advised to consume bananas in order to fight this disease. However, these people are often confused by the fact that bananas are actually acidic. And acidic foods are known triggers of acid reflux. So, how it that possible?
But before we talk about how bananas can help your acid reflux, let’s take a look at how acid reflux disease occurs. This disease occurs when the acidic content of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The reflux of acid into the esophagus occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weakened or even damaged.
Now, let’s get back to bananas and acid reflux. Bananas are just slightly acidic. In fact, many nutritionists often classify them among alkaline foods. So, they are thought to be relieving when it comes to acid reflux. So many people have reported success in using banana to fight acid reflux or heartburn.
However, it must be noted that these claims are actually anecdotal in nature, and lack scientific researches to back them up. So, while banana can relieve someone else’s reflux, they might not relieve yours. It’s now up to you to find out.
Despite the absence of scientific researches that particularly checked for the effectiveness of banana consumption on acid reflux, nutritionists do have some facts that support their claims of banana’s action against this disease. They believe that banana acts as a natural antacid, and therefore helps neutralize high acidity in the stomach.
Bananas are also very rich in potassium. A mineral they believe has some alkalizing property, along with its ability to facilitate the digestion and absorption of food materials. Also, many nutritionists have asserted that eating bananas help strengthen a weak sphincter, whose inability results in acid flowing up to the esophagus.
While bananas are just slightly acidic, they can be good in stopping your acid reflux or heartburn. Some people believe that they are among the most effective home remedies for acid reflux. Health experts suggest taking a banana before or after your meals in order to combat this disease. However, all these claims are presently without a scientific study to back them up.
Worthy of mention is the fact that people should only consume bananas that are ripe when trying to relieve acid reflux. Unsurprisingly, an unripe banana can cause acid reflux in no time. They are said to contain potassium nitrates that can trigger acid reflux. Also, unripe bananas contain carbohydrates that are harder to digest. This facilitates fermentation processes in the gut, and promotes acid reflux.
On the other hand, some people have reported banana to have caused them acid reflux. While this is completely possible, it is very likely that these people must have consumed unripe bananas. So, in essence, fighting acid reflux or heartburn with bananas revolves around consuming only ripe ones, and avoiding unripe ones.
Finally, fighting acid reflux disease doesn’t only revolve around your diet. Lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing this disease. This includes not eating at least 2-3 hours before going to bed, and also indulging in physical exercises. If all these do not help, then it’s best you consult your health care professional for advise and treatment.