If you’ve ever experienced acid reflux, you know how unpleasant this sensation is. While cooking at home, it’s easier to control what foods trigger your acid reflux and limit them. However, it’s more difficult to control the acidity of the foods you consume when dining out.
The majority of restaurants use ingredients that have different pH levels, which makes assessing whether the food is acidic difficult. For example, is sushi acidic?
Is sushi acidic?
Generally, it’s tough to determine the exact pH level of sushi. This is because each sushi roll is made with different ingredients that have varying acidity levels. Nevertheless, as long as you eat sushi without soy sauce and wasabi, it’s safe to consume it on a low-acid diet as it’s not very acidic and leans towards neutral.
What is the pH level of sushi?
To assess the pH level of sushi, you have to look at each individual ingredient since it greatly depends on them. First of all, the pH of white sushi rice is around 6.35, making it a relatively safe food to consume on a low-acid diet. Then, you have to consider what your sushi is stuffed with.
For example, smoked salmon has a high pH and is a good choice for people struggling with acid reflux. In the same way, vegetarian and vegan sushi stuffed with veggies is safe to consume on such diets as well.
On the other hand, dousing sushi in soy sauce and wasabi decreases its pH, making it very acidic. For example, soy sauce has a pH level of 4.9. As a result, if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, it’s best to stay clear from soy sauce and wasabi as they’re not only acidic but also unhealthy. They may even irritate your stomach and esophagus even more.
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What are the health benefits of sushi?
Sushi made with fish and seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They’re a fantastic energy source and help you keep your heart, lungs, immune system, and blood vessels working.
These fatty acids also protect your cell walls from age-related damage as well as the damage caused by free radicals. Many fatty fish such as salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so they should be an integral part of your diet.
READ MORE: Is Sushi Fattening? (Sushi Ranked!)
Furthermore, sushi with salmon and other types of fish is one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D. This micronutrient is responsible for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. It also helps keep your bones, teeth, and connective tissues healthy.
This vitamin also contributes to proper digestion, making it helpful in preventing acid reflux.
Sushi is also made with seaweed that contains many minerals and micronutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as magnesium, iron, and iodine. All of these compounds are necessary to maintain good health, and the seaweed that sushi is made with provides you with a good amount.
What’s more, this type of seaweed is also very rich in protein, so even though seaweed isn’t a big part of sushi, it’s still a good source of nutrients.
Moreover, sushi rolls are generally very small. This means that you have to consume a lot of them to feel full. However, rice is high in calories, making it very easy to overeat, leading to weight gain. On top of that, white sushi rice doesn’t contain many nutrients.
To get the most out of your sushi, try choosing brown rice sushi rolls if they’re offered. If not, eating regular sushi is still OK, but it’s important to control your portion sizes.
Is it dangerous to eat sushi?
Vegan and vegetarian sushi rolls are definitely safer options to consume. This is because traditional sushi is made with surimi (fish paste), seafood, and fish. Unfortunately, many fish are high in mercury, which, if consumed in high quantities, can be bad for your health.
READ MORE: Is Vegan & Vegetarian Sushi Healthy?
When dining out or buying sushi at the grocery store, make sure to choose reputable brands to ensure that the fish has been stored properly and isn’t spoiled. This is especially important as fish poisoning is incredibly dangerous.
Furthermore, sushi has to be stored and kept at a specific temperature to prevent the rice and other ingredients from going bad. In many buffets and stores, sushi stays on shelves for a long time, increasing the risk of poisoning. Hence, when buying sushi, choose places where you know that the food is fresh.
Is sushi bad for acid reflux?
Without any sauces and additives, sushi isn’t bad for those experiencing acid reflux and GERD symptoms. Rice and either fish or vegetables won’t make your symptoms worse and may even help you stay healthy.
This is because vegetables and fish are loaded with nutrients and vitamins necessary for your body to function properly. Furthermore, rice is a good source of fiber and can help absorb stomach acid, alleviating the symptoms.
Is vegan sushi better for acid reflux?
Whether you choose vegetarian sushi or the traditional kind depends mostly on the dietary plan you follow. The difference isn’t big when it comes to acidity, so it’s safe to consume both types when you’re suffering from acid reflux or GERD. The only thing to be aware of is that wasabi and soy sauce are very acidic.
Hence, if you want to safely indulge in sushi without causing any uncomfortable symptoms, it’s better not to eat soy sauce and wasabi.
In the same way, sushi is often served with pickled ginger, which is meant to serve as a palate cleanser in between eating different sushi rolls. However, the pH level of pickled ginger is around 4, so it’s very acidic. Therefore, if you’re particularly sensitive to acidic foods, it’s best not to consume pickled ginger while eating sushi.
Without any sauces and additives, sushi can be safely incorporated into a low-acid, stomach-friendly diet. It’s loaded with many health benefits, such as lots of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and can be a wonderful treat.
However, white rice doesn’t come with as many nutrients as brown rice, so it’s best to limit how often you consume sushi, especially if you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux. As always, everything is safe in moderation.
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.