Is Kimchi Bad for Acid Reflux? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Kimchi is good for acid reflux because it contains probiotics antioxidants but bad for acid reflux because it contains lactic acid bacteria

Acid reflux is a condition that affects your esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth and stomach.

In acid reflux, your body produces too much acid in your stomach, which can cause a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), regurgitation of food or sour liquid, upper abdominal or chest pain, trouble swallowing, and sensation of a lump in your throat.

This can lead to various health problems, such as inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), ulcers in the esophagus (esophageal ulcers), bleeding in the esophagus (esophageal varices), narrowing of the esophagus (esophageal stricture), and cancer of the esophagus.

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

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

To effectively manage acid reflux, you should consume foods rich in fiber like fruits and vegetables and avoid foods rich in fat like fried foods and cheese.

Fiber can help regulate your bowel movements and prevent constipation, which can put pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and allow acid to flow back into your esophagus.

Now, kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, salt, and fish sauce.

People usually eat kimchi as a side dish with almost every meal or use it as an ingredient in various dishes like soups and stews.

Kimchi is good for acid reflux because it contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can improve your gut health and digestion.

Probiotics can also help balance the pH level of your stomach and reduce inflammation caused by excess acid.

Kimchi also contains antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione that can protect your cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

However, kimchi is also spicy and acidic, which can trigger or worsen acid reflux symptoms for some people.

The amount of kimchi you eat depends on how spicy it is to you.

If you find it too spicy or acidic for you to tolerate well, you may want to limit or avoid it.

Furthermore, kimchi is a fermented food that contains lactic acid bacteria that produce lactic acid during fermentation.

Lactic acid can lower the pH level of kimchi and make it more acidic than regular vegetables.

This means that eating too much kimchi may increase the risk of developing ulcers or bleeding in the esophagus if you have GERD or other conditions that make you more sensitive to acidity.

You can eat about 1/4 cup of kimchi per day safely if you have mild GERD symptoms.

More than that can cause heartburn or regurgitation.

Glutathione is an antioxidant that can protect your cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

However, glutathione is not naturally found in kimchi but rather produced by some bacteria during fermentation.

Therefore, eating kimchi does not provide significant amounts of glutathione to your body.

Also, you shouldn’t eat kimchi if you have allergies or intolerances to any of its ingredients like garlic or fish sauce.

Because these ingredients may cause allergic reactions or digestive problems for some people.

You can buy fresh kimchi at local markets or online stores.

Always choose organic or non-GMO varieties for better quality and safety.

Because organic produce may be grown without pesticides or chemicals that may harm your health.

You should store fresh kimchi properly to preserve its freshness and flavor.

You should keep it refrigerated at 4°C (40°F) or below until ready to use.

You should also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil after opening it to prevent moisture loss and spoilage.

Finally, remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to managing acid reflux effectively.

I always recommend my patients with GERD to follow a low-fat diet to reduce their stomach acid production.

Because excess fat may increase inflammation and weaken their LES function.

I also suggest them to avoid foods that trigger their symptoms like chocolate, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits juices etc, because they may irritate their esophagus.

Stick to eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day instead of large meals less often because this may prevent overeating and reduce pressure on their LES.

To minimize heartburn I advise them not lying down within 2-3 hours after eating because this may cause gravity to pull up the food into their esophagus.

Also they shouldn’t drink alcohol coffee tea etc., because they may relax their LES function

I hope this answer helps you understand how kimchi affects acid reflux

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About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutritionist in West Bengal, India, with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry.

He has done his diploma in nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc (US), and completed various certification courses from several universities. He also has considerable research experience in PCOS.

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

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