Garlic is a common condiment in the kitchen, majorly used as a spice. It is one of those herbs that can turn even the blandest dish into a savory meal. Garlic can be used in its fresh form, garlic oil, or garlic powder to add flavor to foods and beverages. Apart from being used as a food flavoring, garlic – which is part of the allium family together with leeks, chives, and shallots – is also used as medicine to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions.
Even with its numerous culinary and health benefits, most people still wonder whether garlic is acidic. This article will explain in detail whether garlic is acidic and the health benefits you can get by including garlic in your daily diet.
Is Garlic Acidic?
Garlic has a pH of 5.8. This means that garlic falls on the acidic side, but it’s still not far from being a neutral vegetable. The acidity of garlic majorly depends on how you consume it.
Is Raw Garlic Acidic?
Raw garlic is more acidic compared to cooked garlic or any other form of garlic. Cooked garlic mostly falls under the category of alkaline foods. When you cook garlic, it loses its hard texture and acidic properties. Hence, it becomes neutral.
Is Minced Garlic Acidic?
Since minced garlic is still raw garlic, it is acidic. However, it does not produce as much acid in the stomach as raw cloves of garlic.
Is Garlic Powder Acidic?
Garlic powder is not acidic. Instead, it provides the best way to add flavor to your food without making it acidic.
Is Garlic Good for You?
Despite being acidic, garlic isn’t necessarily bad for the average person. There are plenty of studies floating around on the health benefits of garlic to humans’ diet. So let’s dive into some of the health benefits of garlic and how it can impact your acid reflux.
Health Benefits of Consuming Garlic and Its Side Effects
Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. It is one of the most effective natural antibiotics. It is known to balance the good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract, soothe heartburn and acidity and improve digestion.
Its power rises significantly when consumed raw and on an empty stomach. Having a raw clove of garlic on an empty stomach exposes the harmful bacteria to the tough healing properties of garlic, which helps prevent the bacterial action in the gut. Other health benefits of garlic include:
Boosts your immune system: A stronger immune system means you won’t be getting sick as often. In fact, garlic is used as a treatment for the common cold.
Lowers high blood pressure: The active properties of garlic have been proven to reduce the risk of hypertension in people who took garlic supplements or incor[porated the vegetable into their diet.
Lowers cholesterol: Consuming raw garlic daily helps to lower cholesterol levels in the body due to the anti-oxidant properties found in allicin. This property also greatly helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Prevents Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: The active antioxidant properties in garlic can help support your body against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is what contributes to brain and aging diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Other health benefits of garlic include:
- Garlic contains phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of cancer.
- Garlic improves the health of your digestive system, effectively reducing your risk of constipation.
- Garlic contains antimicrobial properties which help reduce the risk of viral and bacterial infections.
- Garlic is very low in calories and rich in nutrients.
The best way to enjoy the health benefits of garlic is by eating it raw. Just be careful not to consume too much as it may cause acid reflux.
What Are the Side Effects of Eating Too Much Garlic?
Although garlic is hailed for its many health and culinary benefits, it still has some side effects. For instance:
- Eating large amounts of garlic can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Garlic is a blood thinner, and when consumed in large amounts it can stop blood from clotting.
- Garlic can cause bad breath problems because of the sulfur present in it.
- Garlic can trigger an allergic reaction in some people
- Garlic can trigger acid reflux
To avoid these issues, it is important to consult your doctor or nutritionist before adding garlic to your diet.
Garlic and Acid Reflux
While garlic is generally a healthy vegetable and spice to include in your meals, you may want to limit the amount you consume if you suffer from acid reflux. Just like fatty foods and spicy foods, garlic triggers acid reflux.
Acid reflux is a common condition that causes a burning sensation in the lower chest area, also known as heartburn. It occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the food pipe/esophagus. This acid can irritate and inflame the lining of the food pipe. Certain foods like garlic can trigger acid reflux. This is why most doctors do not recommend eating raw garlic, as it may increase the likelihood of heartburn, intestinal inflammation, and skin rashes in people with acid reflux.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
Acid reflux can be uncomfortable, painful, and even dangerous if left untreated. As stomach acid flows back into the food pipe, it can cause irritation and damage over time, and the symptoms may worsen. The most common signs of acid reflux are:
- Heartburn – a burning sensation that runs from the throat to the center of your chest
- Regurgitation of sour liquid
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chronic dry cough
- Hoarse or sore throat
- A sensation of a lump in the throat
If you notice any of these symptoms right after eating garlic, your doctor should evaluate you for GERD (gastrointestinal discomfort ). If your gut doesn’t tolerate garlic well, you can still get a flavor boost from things like garlic-infused olive oil. Otherwise, there is no need to limit your consumption.
The Bottom Line
Garlic is acidic. So if you have severe acid reflux, you may want to avoid eating a lot of garlic, especially in its raw form. Work with your healthcare practitioner to determine whether you can consume small amounts of garlic.
How Much Garlic Do People Consume Per Year?
Garlic is a fantastic herb for your health and is also used to make any dish better. On average, each person consumes two pounds of garlic per year. This is equivalent to about 300 garlic cloves.
Which Country Produces the Most Garlic?
Garlic is native to Asia but is consumed all over the world. China is the leading producer of garlic in the world, supplying over 75% of all garlic produced.
Does Cooking Garlic Alter Its Acidity?
Generally, garlic, even in its cooked form, is acidic. the only things that change after cooking garlic is its taste and texture. Cooked garlic is softer, milder, and creamier, with a more subtle flavor and aroma.
What Happens if You Eat Too Much Garlic?
Garlic is a highly nutritious vegetable that is associated with many health benefits. But when consumed in excess, garlic could irritate the digestive system and cause heartburn. Garlic has a tendency to kill red blood cells. It also has blood-thinning properties, which can heighten your risk of a heart attack.