Why Do Bananas Give Me Heartburn?

While heartburn via banana isn’t a common occurrence, you will have a bigger chance of getting heartburn if you eat a large amount of raw green bananas. This is because raw bananas consist of 25% starch, which is difficult for your body to digest. Other reasons can include GERD, acid reflux, and even a banana allergy. The ideal solution is to make sure you note what you eat before the heartburn occurs and take the necessary action.

Bananas are quite an interesting fruit given that they have a wide range of varieties ranging from red, blue, yellow bananas to plantains with nutrients that improve your digestive health.

You’ve probably heard of banana’s richness in vitamins and minerals. And while there is no doubt that bananas are rich in fiber, potassium, and other nutrients, that does not mean that it doesn’t have its downs.

So can bananas give you heartburn? How would that work? Does it depend on how many bananas you eat? Are there any side effects you should worry about? Does it only happen if you eat them on an empty stomach?

What is heartburn?

You may have noticed a sharp pain in your chest if you eat bananas for breakfast on an empty stomach. This is typical for most of us as we always resort to this easy-to-access healthy fruit for breakfast. But this is not always safe since bananas are moderately acidic.

What’s most interesting is that how a person feels heartburn will depend from person to person.

So, what kind of symptoms can you expect from heartburn?

  1. A slow-burning sensation that may last quite a while.
  2. A burning sensation inside your throat.
  3. An unwelcoming sour taste in your throat.
  4. Difficulty in swallowing.
  5. Recurring pains in your chest whenever you bend or lay.

But these symptoms can also be due to an allergy.

How can a banana cause heartburn?

A man ate a banana recently and is now having heartburn-like feelings on his chest.

Bananas are usually low in acid, so sometimes, they can be recommended as a fruit that can help reduce acid reflux.

But you should know that ripe bananas have a pH value of 5, which does get classified as a “mildly acidic fruit.” Therefore, if eaten on an empty stomach or eaten in large amounts, bananas may cause acid reflux which in turn causes heartburn.

Another way that a banana can cause heartburn is if the banana is not ripe yet when you eat it. This might cause a trigger within your body that causes acid reflux.

This trigger can also be caused by an underlying disease known as GERD. GERD is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Eating raw bananas or eating them on an empty stomach can cause your stomach acid to try and travel up into the esophagus, causing GERD.

The link between acid reflux and heartburn

We have already mentioned that bananas can cause acid reflux and heartburn, but how exactly are the two connected? Are they the same? Or are they unrelated subjects?

Well, the answer simply said is that heartburn is often a symptom of acid reflux.

To put it simply, one leads to the other.

GERD acid reflux disease illustration

Acid reflux happens when your stomach acid enters the esophagus. Since the esophagus’s position is right behind your heart, you would instantly feel a burn, identified as heartburn.

Depending on the intensity of pain that you may feel during heartburn, there is even a chance that you might mistake it for a heart attack. But you can differentiate between the two easily since heartburn is much more likely to happen after eating.

And be careful! Any sort of movement, including bending or laying down, can intensify the pain.

Is heartburn a sign of food intolerance?

While heartburn doesn’t always mean that you have a specific food intolerance, there can be a wide range of reasons why you would get heartburn. For example, sometimes it can be because you ate too much acidic food.

And since bananas are classified as alkaline fruits, getting heartburn after eating one could mean that the heartburns are a sign of food allergy.

Heartburn can also be a sign of a bigger physical issue with your sphincter muscle, which isn’t doing its job of containing the acid in your stomach.

The simplest way to find out if a specific food is causing heartburn is to note down if you get heartburn every time you eat. If this is the case, you should visit your doctor because there might be an issue with your stomach sphincter.

Below are some other common causes of heartburn.

  1. Being overweight
  2. Smoking
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Stress and anxiety

Getting rid of the heartburn

A young woman is having heartburn pain.

If you are experiencing intense pain because of heartburn, the home remedies below can help you ease the discomfort.

  1. Loosen your outfit – This is easy if you are at home. But, if you’re outside or at work, it could be tricky. You can find relief in such situations by unbuttoning your top button on your shirt.
  2. Eat or drink ginger – This is a quick remedy with an ingredient that you can easily find in your kitchen. The positive effects of ginger are well known when consumed in the form of ginger tea, soup, or even as the raw ginger root.
  3. Chewing gum – While most of us might have a bad view about chewing gum, this also can be a quick relief to handle your heartburn. The saliva produced from chewing will help to lower the acidic levels in your stomach. It has been proven that chewing gum for 30 minutes after a meal aids in minimizing heartburn.
  4. Drink a baking soda-water mixture – This is one of the simplest things you can make with some baking soda. Baking soda is a good neutralizer to fight off your excess stomach acid. You can simply dissolve a spoonful of baking soda with a glass of water.

Preventing heartburn via banana

A young woman is eating a banana and smiling.

Prevention is better than cure! However, these dos and don’ts might help make sure you eat bananas without ever getting heartburn again.

DosDon’ts
Do hold on to low-fat foods and proteins.
If you have noticed that bananas constantly cause acid reflux, try to avoid eating them for a couple of months and instead try to lean protein choices and fresh vegetables.
Do not eat bananas or any food immediately before you sleep.
Do be aware of your weight, as being overweight negatively impacts your esophagus.Do not smoke or consume alcohol. If you already have acid reflux, this could make it worse.
Do be aware of when and how you eat and avoid eating bananas on an empty stomach or if they are raw.Do not drink coffee or any kind of carbonated soda products as it can trigger heartburn.
Do sleep on your left side to avoid pressuring your stomach.Do not eat too many citric fruits despite them being healthy.
Even if bananas are alkaline, the smallest amount of acidic quality can trigger acid reflux, especially if consumed in large amounts.
Dos and Don’ts When Eating Bananas

Conclusion

There is a common saying that “too much of anything can be bad.” The same applies to bananas. However, in small quantities, bananas can be the safest and healthiest fruit to eat.

But with high doses, it can cause nausea, vomiting, reach high potassium levels, and a common side effect, heartburn. So why risk it?

Remember to note down when you experience heartburn (maybe a food diary), and you can easily isolate the common factors which caused your heartburn. Then it’s just a matter of taking the correct action to make sure you never have to get it again.