Many of us are familiar with the feeling of heartburn, It’s felt, as the name suggests, like a burning sensation in your chest. Many of us are also avid consumers of peanut butter. But could there be a correlation between peanut butter and heartburn, and if so, why?
Why does peanut butter give me heartburn?
Peanut butter has the potential to cause acid reflux as it’s high in fat, salt, and may also be high in sugar and other inflammatory additives. If you have heartburn after eating peanut butter, you might be eating too much of it and it might be time to put the spoon down.
What is the pH of peanut butter?
Peanut Butter has a PH of 6.3. To give this some context, a PH is a measure of how acidic, or alkaline a food item is. Acid-forming foods that have a PH of more than 7 include things such as meats, eggs, sugary drinks and snacks, wheat, and coffee.
All of these acidic foods share the potential to give you heartburn. By comparison, peanut butter sits just below the PH level. While often not defined as acidic food, it does have the ability to be acid-forming and contribute to heartburn.
The extent to which this is true will vary between people, and will also be influenced by the amount of peanut butter consumed and the brand you choose.
Is peanut butter acidic or alkaline?
Peanut butter is usually defined as acidic but can also be described as borderline alkaline. It’s interesting to note that while some nuts, such as almonds and chestnuts, are considered alkaline, peanuts, cashew, brazil nuts, and pecans are all classed as acidic.
Any other ingredients that are added in the manufacture of peanut butter will contribute to its acidity levels.
Often peanut butter is sweetened with sugar and has vegetable oil and trans fats added to it. These additives will increase the acidity of the product.
Is peanut butter bad for acid reflux?
Peanut butter can be bad for acid reflux, but it’s often not so much the peanut butter itself but rather the way in which it’s consumed.
When the contents of your stomach come up into your esophagus, traveling in the opposite direction to that which they’re supposed to be going, this is known as acid reflux.
Heartburn is one of the common and identifiable symptoms of acid reflux. Another symptom is a sour, bitter, or acidic taste in the back of your throat.
Acid reflux generally occurs after eating and often in the evenings. The symptoms are acerbated by bending over or lying down.
If your heartburn is infrequent or very mild then it’s probably nothing to worry about, but if it occurs often or is disruptive to your lifestyle then it’s probably time to take a look at your digestion function, and what may be causing the disturbance.
Can you make peanut butter less acidic?
Browse your local supermarket shelves and you’re likely to see an impressive array of different peanut butter brands and types.
If you’re keen to limit the chances of your peanut butter giving you heartburn, try and choose the least acidic product you can find.
Firstly, try and choose a peanut butter that’s as natural as possible. In fact, it’s one of those unique food products that can be manufactured almost without any additives.
Take advantage of this by selecting an unsweetened brand that also contains no other added nasties such as vegetable oil, trans fats, or sugar. The main, and hopefully only ingredient, should be peanuts.
Another great suggestion is to choose a smooth rather than a chunky variety as recent research suggests the more granular the peanut butter the more likely it is to give you heartburn.
Making your own peanut butter is an excellent way to avoid any additives. All you need are peanuts and a food processor.
Why does peanut butter bloat me?
If you find that peanut butter bloats you this is an indication that it’s irritating your digestive system. You may need to reduce your intake or choose a more natural brand.
On average aim to eat no more than a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter at a time.
Of course, if you eat a few teaspoons frequently throughout the day this may also pose a problem.
Everybody is unique and learning how to observe your digestive function and any clues as to which foods may not be working for you is central to experiencing good health.
Also, switch to smooth peanut butter over crunchy as a potential way to further minimize your risk of bloating
Is peanut butter inflammatory?
Peanut butter has the potential to be inflammatory to your digestive system as it’s a fatty and sometimes also a sugary and preservative-laden food.
Reduce your chance of experiencing inflammation by eating it in moderation, only combining it with alkaline foods, and selecting a brand that’s made with all-natural ingredients.
Is peanut butter alkaline?
Peanut butter may sometimes be classed as alkaline depending on the individual ingredients. Perhaps of greater significance than its classification as acidic or alkaline, is whether or not it agrees with your system and doesn’t lead to heartburn or other discomforts.
Do peanuts cause heartburn?
Peanuts on their own are less likely to cause heartburn than peanut butter. Heartburn is commonly triggered by consuming large meals, eating late at night, eating certain fried and fatty food, drinking some beverages, and using some medications.
Common food and beverage culprits include fatty and spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee. Peanuts are definitely a high-fat food but they are also a generally healthy food when eaten in moderation.
While they don’t usually top the lists of foods that cause heartburn, they certainly have the potential to do so in some individuals.
Peanuts are higher in fat than even some other types of nuts and it’s their high-fat content that’s the issue when it comes to heartburn.
Consuming this fat in high concentrations can cause the lower esophageal muscles, or LES to relax. When these muscles relax, stomach acid is prone to travel back the wrong way, sometimes leading to pain in your chest.
Consumed in moderation, and providing you don’t have a nut allergy, peanut butter is a tasty and nutritious addition to your diet. If at any time you experience heartburn that you feel may have been triggered by peanut butter, then it’s time to lay off.
Consider your heartburn as a warning sign to take a step back, look at what, how, and when you’re eating, and decide what changes you may need to make.
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.