It’s a commonly-asked question, why do bananas cause heartburn?
I’m sure you typically view a banana as a sweet and nutritious snack.
Plus, more often than not, bananas are known for the variety of health benefits they provide.
However, this doesn’t mean that the tasty treat doesn’t have its downsides.
One such issue that many of us experience when eating bananas is heartburn.
So, why exactly does this happen?
Allow me to reveal all.
Bananas can cause heartburn due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, if a banana is still green and therefore unripe, it has a lower pH value and a higher level of starch. Therefore, the banana is more acidic in nature and harder to digest. Additionally, if you’re eating bananas first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, this can lead to acid reflux. Furthermore, if you find that you experience heartburn whenever you eat bananas, regardless of how ripe they are, this could mean that you are allergic.
1. How Ripe is the Banana?
The stage at which you eat a banana, in terms of its ripeness, may have an impact.
Bananas are typically viewed as a “mildly acidic fruit”.
You’ll generally hear that they have a pH of 5.
However, the pH value can change quite dramatically depending on the stage of ripeness a banana is at.
An unripe green banana can have a pH of between 4.4-5.2.
Whereas a very ripe banana can have a pH of between 6.5-6.6.
So, as you can see, if you were to eat a very green and unripe banana, it is much more acidic in nature.
Furthermore, the greener a banana, the more starch it contains.
Bananas are known to be a high-carb fruit, although the carbs are mainly starch when unripe.
The starch will then convert to sugar as the banana ripens.
However, if you’re eating raw bananas, then you’ll find that they are more acidic, and the starch makes them harder to digest.
And both of these factors can be the cause of heartburn.
2. When Are You Eating Bananas?
When you decide to eat bananas, especially if they’re still pretty raw and green, can have an effect.
Consuming green bananas first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can often cause acid reflux.
And this, in turn, can lead to heartburn.
Eating a lot of bananas is also associated with acid reflux.
Acid reflux is basically when stomach acid enters the esophagus.
And as the esophagus is located right behind the heart, you’ll typically feel a burning sensation, i.e., heartburn.
This is actually quite a strange phenomenon, as bananas are frequently used to reduce acid reflux as well.
The reason for this is that bananas are high in insoluble fibers like pectin.
And pectin can actually help food to move through the intestines.
With that being said, eating bananas on an empty stomach, especially if they’re green and unripe, could also be the cause of acid reflux.
Furthermore, if stomach acid is traveling up the esophagus from eating raw bananas, this may also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
So, if your heartburn is particularly severe, you should contact your Doctor, and they can diagnose whether this is actually acid reflux or GERD.
Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and GERD
3. Are You Allergic to Bananas?
Something else to consider is that you may actually be allergic to bananas.
This is especially true if you get heartburn immediately after you eat a banana.
Heartburn is more commonly associated with various health-related issues.
These include being overweight, pregnant, stressed and anxious, or even being a smoker.
However, heartburn can also be a sign that you are intolerant to a specific food.
So, the best way to determine this would be to keep a note of when you specifically get heartburn.
If you find that it’s immediately after eating a banana then you may be onto something.
Once more, I would advise you to speak to your Doctor, as this could be a sign of an allergy or even something more untoward.
So, as you can see, bananas can be responsible for heartburn.
The most common reason would be if you’re eating unripe, green bananas.
They are higher in acidic pH value, plus they contain a lot more starch.
Additionally, if you’re eating unripe bananas on an empty stomach, this may lead to acid reflux or even be a sign of GERD.
Finally, there is the possibility that you’re allergic to bananas if you experience heartburn immediately after eating one.
I’m pretty sure you know that strong flavors cause heartburn, such as curry or chili, so perhaps you could be suffering because sometimes bananas taste spicy.