Is Popcorn Good for Acid Reflux?

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: September 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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If you are suffering from acid reflux, you might know that some foods are fine to eat, while others can make your acid reflux quite uncomfortable.

Acid reflux causes heartburn and indigestion due to the lower esophageal sphincter malfunctioning. When this valve isn’t working right, the contents of your stomach can move back into the esophagus. You can keep it under control by eating certain foods and avoiding others.

You can eat popcorn with acid reflux because it is a whole grain and full of fiber. As long as you keep it plain and avoid adding toppings that can cause irritation, popcorn shouldn’t cause symptoms of acid reflux.

When eating popcorn when you have acid reflux you should always chew it thoroughly and carefully to avoid a popcorn kernel getting stuck in your throat.

Is Popcorn Acidic or Alkaline?

When you suffer from acid reflux, you need to be aware of which foods are acidic and which are alkaline. Popcorn has a pH of between 6.9 and 7.3. It falls into neutral territory between the two. As long as you eat it plain, it won’t make your symptoms of acid reflux worse.

The scale for pH ranges from 0 to 14, with 6 to 7 being neutral. Anything below that is considered acidic, while values above are alkaline.

Keep in mind that toppings might increase acidity. It is important to understand which toppings are safe and you can learn which types of popcorn are best when you have acid reflux.

Toppings for Popcorn When You Have Acid Reflux

non acidic popcorn toppings

Understanding the acidity of different toppings can help you choose those that are best for you. First, most people enjoy some salt. Salt has a pH of 7, so it is in neutral territory. You can eat salt on your popcorn.

Another favorite topping is butter. Butter is still neutral, with a range of 6.1 to 6.4. It won’t worsen your symptoms, so you can eat it on your popcorn.

Some people enjoy drizzling caramel on popcorn, but it has a pH between 2.0 and 5.0, so it is too acidic for you if you have acid reflux. Unfortunately, if you eat caramel popcorn, it could worsen your symptoms.

Chocolate has a pH range of 6.1 to 6.5, and milk chocolate is slightly more acidic than dark chocolate or white chocolate. You can eat chocolate, but it is slightly acidic and can irritate you.
Many people enjoy cheese on their popcorn. Different cheeses have different pH levels. Blue cheese has a pH between 6.2 and 6.5, so it is slightly acidic but you can eat a little bit.

Other popular cheeses include feta cheese, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese, which range from 4.1 to 5.6 in pH, so they are too acidic for you if you have acid reflux. If you want to add cheese to your popcorn, just make sure you check the pH level before you make your decision.

Are There Health Benefits to Eating Popcorn?

Popcorn is:

  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • High in antioxidants
  • High in fiber
  • Low in calories (as long as toppings are minimal)

One of the reasons that so many people eat popcorn is because it’s a healthy snack. It has minerals, including ascorbic acid, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and more. As long as you keep the salt and butter to a minimum, popcorn is a healthy snack.

Popcorn is also high in antioxidants, polyphenols in particular. They help to protect your body from free radicals and can help prevent cancer.

Another benefit of eating popcorn is it’s high in fiber, which helps keep your metabolism healthy. Finally, popcorn is a low-calorie snack, as long as you don’t add too many toppings.

Different Types of Popcorn and Acidity

For problems with heartburn, prepackaged microwave popcorn should be avoided as it has additives including extra salt and artificial ingredients. It also often contains perfluorooctanoic acid, which is bad for you.

Corn itself is only slightly acidic, and after corn is boiled, it is more acidic. However, if you make popcorn at home and don’t add toppings, its PH is neutral.

One of the best ways to prepare popcorn when you have acid reflux is with an air popper. Air poppers don’t use any oil and make simple, delicious, popped popcorn.

Benefits of Eating Popcorn with Acid Reflux

Popcorn is a whole grain food and is one of the foods that can help you have some relief from heartburn. Because of its neutral acidity level, the grain helps to absorb extra acidity. Whole-grain foods help to reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of getting heart disease.

Another benefit of eating popcorn is that it has a good helping of fiber, which also helps absorb stomach acid. Popcorn is also high in antioxidants, which have many health benefits.

When you eat popcorn, you may experience improvement in digestion, better blood circulation, and a reduced risk of other diseases. There are benefits to eating popcorn, but it is important to eat it plain. Obviously, the higher fat and sugar content of toppings on popcorn can dramatically change the macronutrients.

How You Should Prepare Popcorn If You Have Acid Reflux

The best way for you to make your popcorn is with an air popper. This machine uses nothing besides hot air and popcorn kernels, and it is the healthiest way to prepare popcorn.

How to Make the Best Air-Popped Popcorn
How to Make the Best Air-Popped Popcorn

You can also prepare popcorn on a stovetop. If you choose this method, you should use three tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil rather than butter. You can add a sprinkle of salt, but avoid butter.

One of the triggers for acid reflux is high-fat foods, which is why it is important to pop popcorn in a natural way. Adding a very small amount of oil to the stovetop is okay, but this is why the air popper is the best option.

Final Words

When you have acid reflux, you need to pay attention to the acidity of what you eat. Popcorn is a favorite snack, and it falls in the neutral pH range. As long as you stay away from toppings, you can eat popcorn. It won’t necessarily help your acid reflux, but it won’t hurt it either.

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