Research on the relationship between apples and acid reflux is still evolving. However, red apples may help ease symptoms, while more acidic green apples may worsen them.

Acid reflux refers to stomach acid rising into the esophagus. It can cause irritation, discomfort, and a burning sensation (heartburn).

Diet plays a vital role in managing symptoms of acid reflux. Incorporating sweet varieties of apples into an eating plan may offer potential benefits. Conversely, eating acidic foods can worsen symptoms.

Read on to learn more about apples and acid reflux.

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Scientific research specifically investigating the effects of apples on acid reflux is limited. However, some people find that they help ease symptoms. In general, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits has associations with better overall digestive health.

For instance, a 2017 study found that people with the highest fruit consumption had a 25% lower risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) than those with the lowest consumption. GERD is a chronic form of acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause the lining of the esophagus to become inflamed (esophagitis). Because apples have anti-inflammatory properties, they may help ease this painful inflammation.

While apples may offer potential benefits for acid reflux, individual responses can vary. Some people may find they worsen symptoms, while others may experience the opposite.

While apples are generally safe for individuals with acid reflux, specific varieties may trigger symptoms.

Green apples, in particular, tend to be more acidic than red apples. This acidity may lead to irritation and exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.

Another consideration is the pesticide residue that may stick to apple skins. Although this is not typically harmful, if a person has concerns, they may wish to choose pesticide-free produce or thoroughly wash fruit before consuming it.

When incorporating apples into a diet to help ease acid reflux, people may wish to choose less acidic varieties that are less likely to trigger symptoms. Here are some varieties to consider:

  • Red delicious: This popular apple variety is known for its mildly sweet flavor and crisp texture.
  • Gala: Gala apples have a balanced flavor profile, combining sweetness with a slight tartness.
  • Honeycrisp: Known for its crunch and juicy texture, the Honeycrisp apple is a flavorful choice. It has a sweet-tart taste that many people find appealing.
  • Pink lady: These apples have vibrant pinkish-red skin and a crisp, slightly tangy taste.
  • Fuji: Fuji apples are known for their sweet flavor and firm texture. They have a delicate balance of sweetness and tartness.

Certain foods may worsen acid reflux symptoms, such as spices and alcohol. Following a balanced, nutritious diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats may help ease symptoms.

Research from 2019 linked reflux esophagitis and high intakes of specific foods. This means a person with acid reflux may want to avoid the following foods:

Some people find that certain foods and drinks trigger their symptoms, including:

The 2022 American College of Gastroenterology guidelines for managing GERD suggests avoiding trigger foods to help manage symptoms. However, the guidelines also note the limited evidence supporting this recommendation.

Learn about the best drinks for acid reflux.

In addition to lifestyle modifications and dietary changes, there are several treatment options to help manage acid reflux. They include:

Most people with acid reflux can safely add sweeter varieties of apples to their diet to find out whether they ease symptoms.

In general, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables has advantages for overall health and acid reflux.

However, a person should consult their doctor if they have acid reflux symptoms. A doctor can diagnose the cause of the symptoms, recommend appropriate treatment options, and offer personalized dietary advice based on individual needs.