Is Kimchi Good for Acid Reflux? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Kimchi is controversial for acid reflux. Because it has probiotics which can benefit gut health, but also spicy ingredients and acidity that can worsen acid reflux symptoms.

Acid reflux is a condition that affects your esophagus and stomach.

In acid reflux, your body experiences a backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

This can lead to various health problems, such as heartburn, regurgitation, and potentially more serious complications like esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus.

One of the key factors in managing acid reflux is diet.

What you consume can affect your esophageal sphincter, which can impact your acid reflux symptoms and overall health.

To effectively manage acid reflux, you should consume fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, ginger, and non-citrus fruits and avoid fatty, spicy, and acidic foods like fried foods, citrus fruits, and chocolate.

Now, kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables.

People usually eat it as a side dish or use it in cooking.

Kimchi is controversial for acid reflux because it contains ingredients that can be both beneficial and problematic.

For example, kimchi is rich in probiotics which are good for gut health, but it also contains garlic, onions, and chili, which are common triggers for acid reflux.

Additionally, kimchi has a pH level of around 4.2, which makes it acidic.

A serving of kimchi can give you a good amount of vitamins A and C, fiber, and probiotics, but the exact percentages of daily needs can vary based on the recipe and serving size.

Probiotics in kimchi can positively affect gut health, which is beneficial for acid reflux.

However, the spices and acidity can negatively affect those with acid reflux, especially if they have a more sensitive digestive system.

Furthermore, kimchi is a fermented food and fermented foods are generally good for gut health.

However, because of its spicy ingredients and acidity, it can be bad for acid reflux.

If kimchi is good for you, you can eat a small amount of kimchi per day safely.

More than that can cause increased acid reflux symptoms.

If kimchi is bad for you, I suggest you limit your kimchi intake to avoid potential complications.

Stick to small amounts to minimize acid reflux flare-ups.

Also, you shouldn’t eat kimchi if you are suffering from severe acid reflux or GERD to prevent worsening of symptoms.

Because the spicy and acidic ingredients can irritate the esophagus.

You can buy fresh kimchi in your local market or can order it online.

Always choose kimchi with less spicy ingredients if you have acid reflux.

Because milder versions may be less likely to trigger symptoms.

You can store them in the refrigerator for several weeks to months, depending on the fermentation stage.

Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, and essential medical care is key to managing/dealing with acid reflux effectively.

I always recommend my acid reflux patients to follow an acid reflux-friendly diet to improve their overall well-being, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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