Popcorns are small salty delights that are considered especially necessary while watching movies. This light snack is not only binge-worthy but something about it amplifies the entire experience.
Be it microwave popcorn bags or homemade popcorn. They are the key to a theatrical ambiance. So is popcorn bad for acid reflux, and can it cause uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms? Let’s find out.
Is Popcorn Bad For Acid Reflux?
As you may already know, acid reflux (chronically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease) happens when bodily functions disrupt. The lower esophageal sphincter allows stomach acids to leak into your food pipe. When this happens, painful symptoms arise, and lifestyle changes become mandatory.
Have you become more careful of your diet ever since developing GERD? As necessary as it is, you don’t need to worry while snacking on popcorn.
The short answer is: No, popcorn is not bad for acid reflux. However, individuals react variously to different foods, which is precisely why the possibility of popcorn worsening your acid reflux is not nonexistent. Rare as it might be, it’s still possible.
We have comprehensively described below why popcorn is not bad for acid reflux, along with why it might cause adverse effects in some rare situations, so if you wish to satisfy your doubts once and for all, then take a look below.
Why is Popcorn Safe For Acid Reflux
Several factors make popcorn a healthy snack, and the likeliness of it triggering your acid reflux is extremely low. Here’s why
Popcorn is Rich in Whole Grains
Whole-grain foods contain a blend of endosperm (vitamins), bran (fiber), and germ (nutrients) in a single grain. They are considered suitable for acid reflux because of their nutritional properties, mainly the high fiber content.
As you may have heard before, when your stomach is GERD infected, it will affect your digestive system too. In this situation, it is recommended to adopt a high-fiber diet because, unlike high-fat foods, fiber can be easily broken down and absorbed into your body.
When the food is digested quickly, fewer stomach contents will remain trapped in your body, and the risk of acid reflux will decrease significantly.
The good news is that your favorite snack, popcorn, is 100% whole-grain food. Popcorn is whole grain to reduce the moisture to a level that will not hinder the “popping.” Not only this, but popcorn is rich in lean proteins, providing up to 4 grams per serving.
Considering that acid reflux is related to the leakage of toxic stomach acids into your digestive tract, It is implied that inflammation of this body part is also possible.
When acids reflux in your esophagus, they can break down the tissue and damage it significantly. This can trigger other GERD symptoms as well. For example, the generation of a burning sensation, chest pain, sore throat, and even abdominal pain.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, your doctor must have suggested an anti-inflammatory diet. You’d be happy to hear that popcorn can be added to this diet because of its nutrient-packed properties.
Each popcorn kernel consists of a water droplet for “popping” popcorn. Luckily, it contains only 4% water; meanwhile, the antioxidant count is high, and antioxidants will protect the tissue from damage and prevent any inflammation before it even happens. This means that popcorn is capable of fighting the inflammation in your body, and it will not, in fact, trigger symptoms.
Popcorn Has a Neutral Acidity Level
Each food substance has different ph levels, and as you may know, 7 is considered neutral meanwhile anything below is acidic. To avoid symptoms of acid reflux, it is advised to increase the consumption of alkaline foods (higher than 7 on the pH scale) in your diet so that you’ll be able to enjoy its health benefits.
Another one of popcorn’s qualities is that it ranges from 6.9 – 7.3 on the ph scale, meaning it’s neither alkaline nor acidic. Popcorn will neutralize the stomach acids and reduce the likeliness of acid reflux while numbing its symptoms. All these qualities make it an acid reflux diet-approved food substance.
Why Does Eating Popcorn Trigger Acid Reflux?
If you have firsthand experience of worsening your acid reflux after eating popcorn, you, unfortunately, fall into the negative spectrum of popcorn consumption. Below are the reasons why popcorn might seem bad for your acid reflux.
Kernel Corn Stuck in The Throat
Have you ever cooked popcorn in an air popper? That means you must have noticed the popping of the kernel/ seed into a full popcorn, but even after the popcorn pops, the small seed remains inside.
Global pharyngeus, the painless yet discomforting feeling of a kernel stuck in your throat, is closely associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Popcorn kernels stuck in your throat can mimic GERD symptoms, irritate your esophagus lining and cause heartburns, hoarseness, and persistent coughing.
Read also: Are Potatoes Good For Acid Reflux?
Toppings Might Be Reflux Triggers
As discussed above, plain popcorn is a neutral food substance. However, it doesn’t mean that its acidity and side effects won’t change depending on the foods, liquids, or toppings you pair it with.
Many prefer eating buttered popcorn or caramel popcorn, thinking it has the same features as regular popcorn. However, remember that these substances are examples of fatty and acidic foods. The butter will put pressure on your system.
Meanwhile, caramel has a pH range between 2.0 – 5.0, meaning that LES will be affected and acid reflux will be triggered. Popular toppings that might be GERD triggers should also be avoided. Examples might include cheddar cheese, extra salt, spicy foods, and cream cheese.
How To Eat Popcorn Without Triggering Acid Reflux
If you are extremely cautious about your GERD and want to reduce its probability as much as possible, follow the below-listed precautions and remain safe.
Avoid Gerd-triggering Combinations
It’s settled that plain popcorn is absolutely safe for GERD. Popcorn paired with snacks such as white chocolate, carbonated drinks, and greasy foods will be bad for your acid reflux, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pair it with anything. If you pair it with the proper substances, acid reflux will be prevented. Some examples are listed below.
- Cottage cheese instead of cream cheese or blue cheese
- Red wine instead of white wine and carbonated drinks
- Sweet peppers
- Honey instead of caramel
Gerd-friendly Snacks Other Than Popcorn
You can also eat these snacks because they are considered GERD-friendly, much like popcorn.
- Sweet potatoes
- Egg whites
- Dark chocolate
- Whole-grain bread
Is Popcorn Bad For Acid Reflux Summary
Popcorn is safe for acid reflux because of its several health benefits, and since It is considered a healthy snack, there is no need to cut it out from your diet. However, if it is causing adverse side effects in your system, then there is no denying it.
It is always recommended for GERD patients to keep a food diary to track whatever food substances are noticeably harmful.
Gerd disrupts your life as it is. Rather than letting it take this delicious snack away from you, follow the above-listed precautions.
We hope this article helped you understand why popcorn isn’t bad for acid reflux. Please share it with your friends to help them out as well.