Chinese food is an incredibly popular cuisine. It offers a wide variety of delicious dishes, from meat-based meals to soups as well as spring rolls and roasted veggies.
But just like other common takeout cuisines, it can be high in sugar, salt, fat, and additives.
As you may know, these ingredients aren’t good for you and may even make the food acidic and bad for people with heartburn and other symptoms. So, is Chinese food acidic?
Is Chinese food acidic?
Chinese food is often deep-fried or stir-fried, which increases its acidity. It also tends to contain various sauces ad marinades that are acidic and may lead to heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms. Because of that, if you’re especially sensitive to acid-forming foods, you might want to limit your consumption of Chinese food or choose lighter and less-caloric alternatives.
Does Chinese food have a low pH level?
The pH level of Chinese food depends on the specific food, but all meals and dishes tend to have acid-forming properties.
Veggie-based dishes might have a higher pH level than deep-friend meats and noodles, but they’re still bad for people with acid reflux.
Most fried food has a low pH level and increases your risk of heartburn and other acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
Is Chinese food good for you?
If you’re getting takeout or eating at a reputable Chinese restaurant, you’re most likely be getting quality food with fresh ingredients.
While a lot of items on the menu might be high in calories, fat, and sodium, there are some alternatives that should help you avoid heartburn.
Some Chinese food might even be healthy, especially stir-fried veggies. Additionally, some restaurants might steam the veggies for you instead, which helps lower the calories but maintain the nutritional value and flavor.
Depending on what type of Chinese food you order, you can get some good nutrients. For example, wonton soup provides you with very few calories but a good amount of protein, vitamin B6, and niacin.
It’s also very filling, so it can help you feel full without eating too much. The downside to wonton soup and most other soups from Chinese cuisine is that it’s relatively high in sodium.
So, make sure to indulge in it every once in a while.
Basing your Chinese order on rice instead of noodles can further help decrease the caloric content, making the meal healthier and more nutritious.
Rice, even the one served in Chinese restaurants and takeout spots, contains some important nutrients, especially manganese.
This mineral helps your body form connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones.
So, while you shouldn’t get your nutrients from takeout, it’s good to know that there are some health benefits to this delicious food.
Chinese food can also be suitable for vegetarians and vegans. One of the best and healthiest options is Buddha’s delight, which is made with steamed vegetables, tofu, cabbage, bok choy, and broccoli, all in a light sauce.
It’s rich in several nutrients from the veggies, but also a lot of protein from tofu.
Tofu is actually a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body requires to build new proteins.
One of the biggest downsides to Chinese food is that most contains a large amount of sodium.
A diet high in dietary salt increases your risk of high blood pressure and strokes, as well as other issues.
As a result, it’s important to avoid eating Chinese food too often. Also, when you do dine out or order takeout, try avoiding soy sauce or replace it with a low-sodium version for a healthier meal.
Can you eat Chinese food on acid reflux?
While most Chinese food is acidic and may worsen your acid reflux, you don’t have to remove the whole cuisine from your diet.
The key to enjoying Chinese food on a low-acid diet is to consume it in moderation and choose healthier options, especially those without soy sauce.
If you’re particularly sensitive to acidic foods, you might want to limit your intake of Chinese food even more or talk to your doctor about how you can enjoy this cuisine safely.
What type of Chinese food is best for people with acid reflux?
Even though Chinese food is acidic, you don’t have to remove it from your diet altogether.
There are some rules you have to follow, though, to ensure that you’re not suffering from heartburn the next day or immediately after.
Firstly, make sure to avoid fatty and deep-fried foods, such as egg rolls, fried chicken or duck, crispy fried noodles, and similar.
These tend to spend more time in your stomach, increasing the likelihood of acid reflux symptoms.
Secondly, try avoiding or limiting foods covered in sauces, regardless of what type they are. All sauces are acidic and can worsen your heartburn.
They also tend to be high in calories and fat, which is bad for your overall health.
On the bright side, you can have some sauce with your Chinese food, but just make sure to have it on the side and avoid foods smothered in it.
These might still be high in calories and slightly acidic, but your stomach and esophagus should tolerate them better than some other, fattier alternatives.
Also, make sure to order and make Chinese food without spices, as these contribute to acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
Just like most common takeout cuisines, Chinese food tends to be acidic. As a result, consuming it in large amounts and too often can give you heartburn and worsen your acid reflux symptoms.
Luckily, if you can’t live without having some occasional Chinese takeout, there are some options that are less acidic and richer in nutrients that shouldn’t aggravate your symptoms and make you feel bad after eating.
So, you can still enjoy your favorite foods on a low-acid diet.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.