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Does Tuna Cause Heartburn? (Read The Facts!)

Eating a diet high in protein can help you fight against heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms. 

This is because this macronutrient helps you stay full after eating, and it also curbs your appetite, preventing overeating.

Some of the best sources of protein are meat and fish. Tuna, for example, contains a lot of protein in a single serving along with some important micronutrients. 

But some types of fish tend to be acidic. So, can eating tuna help with heartburn? Or does it cause heartburn?

Does Tuna Cause Heartburn?

Like all types of fish, tuna is rather acidic. Because of that, eating it can lead to heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms. 

What’s more, fresh tuna might be better for your digestive system than canned tuna. This is because canned tuna tends to contain preservatives and a lot of sodium, which isn’t good for your health.

On the bright side, if eating tuna doesn’t give you heartburn, it might be a good idea to include it in your diet. 

Does Tuna Cause Heartburn?
Does Tuna Cause Heartburn?

It’s high in protein, various micronutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which contribute to good health.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Is tuna acidic?

Canned tuna has a pH level of around 5.90-6.20, while fresh tuna that has been oven-baked has a pH level of 5.20-6.10. While this isn’t a very low pH level, fish is actually an acidic food group.

Because of that, consuming too much fish, including tuna, can worsen your acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn. So, make sure to eat tuna in moderation. 

It’s also important to avoid tuna and other fish types that have been canned in oil or tomato sauce. 

This is because the oil will make your stomach overproduce gastric acid to digest the fish, whereas tomato sauce is very acidic. 

Is tuna acidic?
Is tuna acidic?

As a result, you will be more likely to experience heartburn.

How can tuna cause heartburn?

Tuna shouldn’t give you heartburn if you’re healthy and don’t suffer from acid reflux or GERD. 

But if you have these conditions, eating too much of this fish can give you a lot of unpleasant symptoms.

Tuna, especially the kind canned in oil, is very high in fat. This macronutrient is hard for your body to digest, which forces your stomach to produce more gastric acid. This increases the likelihood of heartburn and acid reflux. 

You can avoid that by choosing tuna canned in water instead. This kind still contains fat but in very small amounts.

What’s more, all types of fish tend to have acid-forming properties, and that includes tuna. Experts believe that it has something to do with the compounds and substances found in fish. 

So, if you’ve noticed that fish is your trigger, try eliminating it from your diet to see how your body responds.

Can tuna help with heartburn?

Can tuna help with heartburn?
Can tuna help with heartburn?

One cup of tuna canned in water provides you with almost 40 g of protein, which corresponds to 80% of your daily need for this macronutrient. 

Protein helps you stay full after eating, which reduces the risk of taking in too many calories.

Studies show that eating high-protein foods prevents weight gain, which has been linked to heartburn. So, consuming foods like tuna can actually lower the risk of acid reflux and GERD symptoms after eating.

Tuna is also a great source of lean protein, which is easy for your digestive system to digest. It also doesn’t lead to inflammation, which protects your stomach and esophagus from excess stomach acid.

Is tuna good for you?

Tuna is very nutrient-dense but still relatively low in calories. It’s also rich in various vitamins and minerals that are important for your health. 

For example, tuna contains a lot of niacin in a single serving.

Also called vitamin B3, niacin improves blood fat levels and may even reduce your blood pressure. 

It’s a crucial vitamin for the health of your skin, which means it’s often found in skincare products. In addition, eating a lot of niacin-rich foods can boost your brain function.

Tuna is also an excellent source of selenium, providing you with almost twice your daily need in a one-cup serving of canned tuna. 

This mineral helps prevent mental decline, reduces the symptoms of asthma, and may even boost your immune system.

Selenium also acts as a powerful antioxidant, which means that eating tuna prevents oxidative stress and damage to your cells. This reduces your risk of various chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Tuna is also a good source of selenium
Tuna is also a good source of selenium

Because of all the nutrients and protein that tuna contains, eating it can contribute to healthy weight loss. This is because high-protein foods increase the feeling of fullness and reduce cravings. 

So, if you’re trying to lose weight, choosing tuna canned in water can be incredibly beneficial.

What’s more, tuna, especially canned tuna, contains a great dose of DHA, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. 

This specific kind is important for brain and eye health and prevents cognitive decline and age-related macular degeneration. 

So, eating tuna – both fresh and canned – can contribute to good health.

Should you eat tuna when experiencing heartburn?

Even though tuna is slightly acidic, you don’t have to completely remove it from your diet. It provides you with a large number of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, which contribute to good health and protect your digestive system from damage.

Is Tuna High in Potassium?

What’s more, the protein found in tuna helps you feel fuller after eating, which prevents weight gain and excessive production of gastric acid. 

So, if you can tolerate fish, and tuna doesn’t worsen your symptoms, try including it in your diet in moderation.


Just like all fish, tuna has acid-forming properties. Because of that, eating too much of this fish can lead to heartburn in people especially prone to this issue.

On the other hand, tuna is rich in protein, which prevents overeating. This, in turn, can protect your digestive system from damage and inflammation, reducing your risk of heartburn. 

Aside from that, tuna is rich in several important minerals and vitamins. So, adding some tuna to your diet can help you stay healthy.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Sources: FDA, ResearchGate, California Courts, Nutrition Data, and PMC