Smoothies are a very popular beverage that people drink for pleasure, flavor, and health benefits.
They’re very versatile, as you can make them from basically any vegetable and fruit.
When they’re made in a healthy way with fresh ingredients, they provide you with a lot of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
But sometimes, when you drink too many smoothies at once, you might notice that you experience heartburn-like symptoms. So, why do smoothies cause heartburn?
Why do smoothies give you heartburn?
Most smoothies, especially those sold commercially, are loaded with sugar and other additives, which tend to be high in fat and calories. These compounds and nutrients contribute to acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn.
On the other hand, if you make your smoothies at home using alkaline-forming fruits and veggies, you’re very unlikely to experience heartburn.
What’s more, such smoothies can soothe your inflamed digestive tract, reducing your acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
Are smoothies acidic?
Whether a smoothie is acidic depends greatly on the ingredients it contains. For example, smoothies with orange juice as a base are acidic and irritating for your digestive tract.
As a result, people who suffer from acid reflux should avoid such beverages. If you’re sensitive to acidic foods and drinks, try choosing smoothies based on alkaline-forming juices, such as the ones made from apples or fresh veggies.
These have alkalizing effects and won’t irritate your digestive tract.
How do smoothies give you heartburn?
Most smoothies that you can purchase in stores, cafes, and restaurants contain a lot of sugar.
This nutrient is hard for your stomach to digest, which forces it to produce more gastric acid.
When this acid accumulates in your stomach in large quantities, it’s more likely to reflux up your esophagus, leading to heartburn, among other symptoms.
As a result, limiting your intake of sugary drinks can help ease the symptoms.
Commonly sold smoothies also tend to be made from acidic fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and others.
While these are alkalizing once digested, they still contain lots of acids that can irritate and inflame your esophagus while you’re drinking it. In most cases, this can’t be avoided if you’re sensitive to acidic foods.
The only way is to consume fewer smoothies and replace them with more alkaline-forming beverages.
Additionally, most cafes and restaurants will allow you to adjust your smoothie. So, you can ask for a low-sugar or low-fat alternative.
If you consume a lot of smoothies containing acidic ingredients and preservatives, you may also experience that the muscles between your esophagus and stomach, called lower esophageal sphincter muscles, are relaxing.
This allows stomach contents and acids to rise up and cause heartburn.
You can try taking some antacids or talk to your doctor about other treatment options when that happens.
Are smoothies good for you?
All of these fruits and veggies are loaded with minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin C, potassium, various B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and so many more.
As a result, drinking healthy smoothies, especially green ones, can help you load up on these nutrients very quickly and easily.
What’s more, smoothies often contain nutritional and herbal supplements, including matcha powder and spirulina.
This is incredibly beneficial for your health as, for example, matcha powder is incredibly high in fiber and antioxidants.
Firstly, fiber helps soak up excess stomach acid, which means that it’s very helpful in preventing acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn.
On the other hand, antioxidants prevent oxidative damage, reduce your risk of chronic health conditions, and fight against inflammation.
So, if you drink smoothies with these two ingredients, you can reap a lot of health benefits.
Additionally, drinking smoothies can boost your intake of fruits and vegetables.
According to World Health Organization, adults should consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Unfortunately, most adults don’t reach this recommended intake. So, drinking smoothies, provided they’re made with fresh vegetables and fruits, is a great way to consume more of these important foods.
Some smoothies also have added protein sources or protein powder. This can help you up your intake of protein, which is a building block for your muscles.
Protein also helps you feel full after eating, which prevents overeating and weight gain.
Getting enough protein, especially if you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, can be hard.
So, consuming protein-enriched smoothies can increase your intake of this macronutrient.
Can you drink smoothies when suffering from heartburn?
If you notice that drinking smoothies gives you heartburn, it might be best to limit your intake of this type of beverage.
This is especially true for commercially made smoothies, which are often caloric, high in fat and sugar, and generally unhealthy.
Studies show that an increased intake of high-fat and high-calorie foods and beverages increases your risk of acid reflux symptoms like heartburn.
So, make sure to avoid doing that if you’re prone to such symptoms.
If you can’t live without smoothies, try making smoothies yourself at home. Then, you’ll be able to control how many calories you’re consuming and what exactly is in your smoothie.
These can help neutralize stomach acid and prevent it from rising up your esophagus, which causes heartburn.
In addition, try choosing high-fiber veggies and fruits for your smoothies, as studies show that these can help you decrease the severity and frequency of acid reflux symptoms.
Drinking such smoothies can also help you load up on other important nutrients, including various important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can worsen your acid reflux, so it’s beneficial to consume a lot of antioxidant-rich foods.
Most smoothies might give you heartburn as a result of the acidity of the fruits they’re made from and their high sugar content.
This relaxed the muscles between your esophagus and stomach, allowing the stomach’s contents to rise up and lead to heartburn.
So, if you’re especially prone to acid reflux symptoms, make sure to avoid consuming such smoothies and opt for milder, alkalizing versions of this delicious and nutrient-rich drink.
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.