Pineapple and acid reflux
If you experience a burning sensation or irritation in your esophagus after eating, you may have acid reflux. This condition occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter fails to close off your esophagus from your stomach. Acid from your stomach can move back into your esophagus, causing discomfort.
This is a common condition. Pregnant women may have it daily, and 1 in 3 adults experience it monthly. You may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if you have acid reflux a few times per week or more or if the reflux has damaged your esophagus.
Certain foods can trigger acid reflux. Doctors generally recommend avoiding foods high in acidity, such as pineapple. Still, pineapple has health benefits you should consider before you cut it out of your diet.
What are the benefits of pineapple?
- Bromelain has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties.
- This extract may also reduce swelling and bruising.
- Pineapples are high in fiber and water content, which can help prevent constipation.
Pineapple contains bromelain. This naturally occurring substance is most concentrated in fresh pineapple.
Bromelain has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Although it’s acidic, some experts believe that it has an alkalizing effect as you digest it. This may be beneficial to people with acid reflux. People believe the bromelain enzyme reduces swelling, bruising, and other injury-related pains.
Pineapples are high in fiber and water content, which can help prevent constipation and promote healthy digestion.
Pasteurized forms of pineapple may not have the same benefits.
Risks and warnings
Some doctors advise against eating pineapples if you have acid reflux. This is because pineapples are highly acidic. They typically score between a 3 and 4 on the pH scale. A score of 7 is neutral and a score higher than that is alkaline.
Citrus fruits also contain a high level of acid and may cause reflux symptoms. Fruits with less acidity include bananas and melons.
Unless you have an active stomach ulcer, you can generally eat pineapple without experiencing any harmful side effects. Whether pineapple affects acid reflux depends on the person.
Treatment options for acid reflux
Many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are available that can help with acid reflux. Antacids are often a first-line treatment. You should only take them for a short period.
If your acid reflux persists, your doctor may recommend H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors.
If you have persistent acid reflux, you may need surgery to repair or reinforce your esophageal sphincter. Doctors generally consider this as a last resort.
Changing certain lifestyle habits may also reduce or relieve your acid reflux symptoms. This includes exercising more frequently, eating smaller meals, and avoiding snacking late at night.
What you can do now
A one-size-fits-all approach to managing acid reflux doesn’t exist. For many people, pineapple can cause or worsen acid reflux. This tropical fruit is highly acidic. Most doctors believe acidic foods can trigger reflux.
However, pineapple has many health benefits. To determine whether you should keep pineapple in your diet, consider keeping a food diary to document what you eat and when acid reflux occurs.
If you plan to try this, remember to do the following:
- Track your diet for at least five to seven days.
- Make sure to include all of the foods you’ve eaten, not just pineapple.
- Take note of any medications you take and when you take them.
Will fresh pineapple affect my symptoms in the same way as pineapple juice or other pineapple products?
Fresh pineapple may help improve reflux symptoms. This is because of the concentrated amount of bromelain present. Bromelain is known to be anti-inflammatory and has an alkalizing effect. Pineapple juice may make your symptoms worse because the bromelain concentration is limited.Natalie Butler, RD, LDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.