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A great thing about summer is the arrival of blueberries. But are these blue fruits safe to eat? Are blueberries acidic?
According to the Washington Post, more than 60 million people in America suffer from acid reflux (1). This means that these people should avoid acidic food of any sort.
If you suffer from acid reflux, should you be eating blueberries?
What is pH Level?
The pH level, or power of hydrogen level, is a measure to indicate how acidic or alkaline something is. To identify pH levels, we use the pH scale. The scale goes from zero to fourteen, with seven being neutral. Values below seven are considered acidic. The closer you are to zero, the more acidic it is.
Values above seven are considered alkaline. The closer you are to fourteen, the more alkaline it is.
Why Does pH Level Matter?
According to Dr. Michael Wald, different parts of our bodies have different pH levels at which they function. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that our mouth has a pH of 6.2 to 6.7 (2). The stomach has a pH level of 1.5 to 3.5. The small intestine has a pH level of 7.0 to 8.5. Blood has a pH level of 7.4.
If either of these pH levels increases or decreases, that will compromise the functioning of your body. An imbalance in pH levels might compromise your immune system, cause muscle pain, and lead to heart diseases.
People who suffer from acid reflux and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) are especially sensitive to acidic food. A slightly acidic food could trigger reflux.
So, it is important to know what you’re eating to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy body.
How to Measure the pH Level of Blueberries?
You can find out easily if you have a bowl full of blueberries in front of you and want to know their pH level. The easiest to measure pH is the colorimetric method, which uses a special paper (litmus paper) (3). Just follow these easy steps:
- Crush the blueberries in a bowl.
- Grab a litmus paper (you can get the litmus paper from stationery stores or order online).
- Put the litmus paper onto the crushed blueberries.
- The litmus paper will turn blue if alkaline and red if acidic.
This method will give you a vague idea of the pH level of the blueberries but not their actual pH. But you will still know if they are acidic or alkaline.
Are Blueberries Acidic?
Yes, blueberries are acidic (4). There are different types of blueberries, each with a different pH level. But, they’re all still acidic, with the pH level ranging from 3.11 to 3.35 (5). The acidity of the fruit is based on the sugar content of said fruit. Blueberries are high in sugar, with a hundred grams of blueberries containing ten grams.
The pH of blueberries can change depending on how they are conserved or eaten. Wild blueberries are the least acidic, with a pH of 4.2 to 5.0. Frozen or canned blueberries tend to have a pH of 3.7. Dried or cooked blueberries have a pH of 3.1 to 3.4.
Should You Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries are a great source of nutrients. They are also acidic. That means you must weigh the pros and cons of blueberries before indulging yourself.
Why You Should Eat Blueberries
The amount of nutrient found in a hundred grams of blueberries are listed in the table below:
1. High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants can protect your body from damage by free radicals. This lessens the risk of cancer. Antioxidants attack and destroy the free radicals. According to WebMD, eating blueberries for two weeks can reduce the damage to cells by twenty percent (6).
Additionally, antioxidants can counter cholesterol levels in your blood. Cholesterol, in high amounts, can block arteries and cause heart diseases. It can oxidize (breakdown) cholesterol which further harms the body. Antioxidants can help keep the cholesterol level from building up in the body.
2. Good for Diabetic Patients
Blueberries are good for diabetes. Blueberries can manage blood sugar levels and help regulate insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
3. Good for the Heart
A study showed that blueberries could prevent several cardiovascular diseases as they are rich in polyphenols (7). Blueberries can also help control blood pressure. This is because they can help the body produce more nitric oxide, which helps with smooth muscle relaxation.
4. Wound Healing
Blueberries are rich in vitamin K (24% of recommended daily intake) and calcium. These two nutrients are vital in clotting and repairing platelets in your blood.
Platelets are responsible for closing wounds and cuts in your body.
5. Improves Brain Function
Blueberries are a rich source of potassium which helps transmit nerve impulses along neurons.
6. Improves Digestion
Blueberries have high fiber content, which improves the peristalsis movement of the antagonistic muscles of the gut, improving digestion.
Why You Should Not Eat Blueberries
Blueberries are great for your health if eaten in moderation. However, eating too many blueberries can create some problems. According to Science Daily, the recommended dosage of blueberries would be a hundred and fifty grams a day or half a cup a day (8).
What if you exceeded that amount?
Blueberries are high in fiber; if consumed excessively, they may cause bloating. Fiber can bind to minerals such as calcium and iron and prevent their absorption. According to Duke University, the recommended amount of fiber for men and women is twenty-five grams and thirty-eight grams, respectively (9).
2. Weight Gain
Blueberries have high sugar content, with around ten grams of sugar and sixty grams of calories in every hundred-gram serving. This could lead to hyperglycemia and weight gain.
3. Increased Bleeding
The vitamin K in the blueberry help with blood clotting. However, it can react with warfarin in the blood and other blood thinners. This could increase the risk of bleeding.
People who take blood-thinners are recommended not to exceed the amount of ninety micrograms for women and a hundred and twenty micrograms for men.
4. Acid Reflux
Blueberries can not cause acid reflux. However, they can trigger it. Since blueberries are acidic, people suffering from acid reflux or GERD should avoid eating too many blueberries.
Acid Diet or Alkaline Diet: Which Should You Choose?
It would help if you had a balanced diet. You can not simply choose acidic food or alkaline food. However, it would help if you also considered your diet. According to the Journal of Environment and Public Health, diet nowadays tends to be lower in potassium, fiber, and magnesium, while high in sugar and sodium (10).
A diet such as that may cause metabolic acidosis in which the body produces too much acid or if the kidneys can not remove enough acid from the blood. An acidic pH in the body may result in several diseases, including respiratory, renal, or cardiovascular problems.
A high-acid diet can also lead to decreased bone density. A study showed that adults with bone loss and renal failure should consider a more alkaline diet (11).
An alkaline diet not only reduces the body’s acidity but can provide other benefits. It can reduce the kidney burden, and alkaline food is usually high in potassium. Alkaline food can increase muscle mass and bone density.
An alkaline diet also increases the production of growth hormones. This can improve brain function, improve heart health, and reduce the signs of aging.
Symptoms of High Acidity
How can you tell if your body is more acidic and if you should switch to an alkaline diet? Look out for these signs and symptoms:
- Low energy
- Brain Fog
- Digestive problems
- Muscle pain
- Aches in joints.
What to do to reduce acidity in your body?
You do not need medication to improve the pH levels of your body. Many home remedies are just as effective.
1. Eat More Green Vegetables
Green vegetables have low sugar and fat content and are low in acidity, and can help keep you away from food with extreme acidity. Try new recipes involving vegetables.
Exercise can help restore pH levels by inducing aerobic respiration, preventing the body’s buildup of acids.
3. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can decrease the body’s pH, affect the kidneys, and damage your liver.
4. Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugary food tends to be more acidic, and an intake of sugar in high amounts can negatively affect your body.
5. Eat More Alkaline Food
Alkaline food can neutralize the acidity in the body. Alkaline food includes spinach, kale, celery, kiwi, and carrots.
6. Avoid Coffee
Coffee contains caffeine which contributes to the acidity in the body. It may be difficult, but you will have to quit drinking coffee.
To wrap up, are blueberries acidic? Yes! Although they do not harm when eaten in moderation, consuming a large number of blueberries can have adverse effects, especially if you suffer from acid reflux.
But don’t just throw out blueberries from your diet altogether. They have many beneficial aspects for your health.
Knowing what you are eating and how it affects your body is important. The trick to a healthy life is a healthy and balanced diet.
1. Can I eat blueberries with yogurt?
Yes, yogurt is an alkaline-forming food. It can neutralize the acidity in blueberries.
2. Can I give blueberries to my baby?
No. Blueberries are hard to digest for children three or younger and may cause stomach pain and acidity.
3. Are there any other berries that are acidic?
Yes. Berries are acidic, including blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
4. Can blueberries affect my teeth?
Yes. The acidity in the blueberries can cause the enamel on teeth to erode. It can also give birth to acid-loving bacteria in the mouth.
Further reading: Do blueberies have seeds?