Tomatoes: Do They Give You Heartburn?


Heartburn is a very uncomfortable condition to have. If you frequently experience a burning sensation in your chest or a bitter taste of acid in your mouth, you may be more inclined to find ways to prevent it; which may include looking into your food for possible causes. So, how about those tomatoes? While tomatoes are generally marketed as a nutritious food, they can be a dietary source of agony for those who suffer from heartburn.

Unfortunately, the acid content of tomatoes can cause heartburn in individuals who want them frequently. Tomatoes, in particular, contain both malic and citric acids; both of which known to produce heartburn. Heartburn can be triggered by any tomato-based product, not simply tomatoes. When people overproduce gastric acid as a result of eating tomato products, the acid can back up into the esophagus, generating the dreaded burning sensation in the chest.

Unfortunately, the only method to avoid this is to fully exclude tomatoes and tomato products from one’s diet.

Simple substitutions

Going tomato-free doesn’t have to be difficult, since there are other alternatives to consider.

Take, for example, the all-time favorite marinara sauce. For people who suffer from heartburn, there are a plethora of tomato-free recipes on the internet. Instead of tomatoes, the GERD Chef produced a dish that used carrot, celery, zucchini, beet, and turnip as the vegetable component. Pesto or olive oil mixed with Italian seasonings are other fantastic alternatives for adding an Italian flair without the gastrointestinal flare-up.

Don’t think you’ll be able to give up tomato products just yet? Some heartburn sufferers have discovered that adding a pinch of baking soda to their sauces neutralizes tomato acid and prevents discomfort. Mixing shredded or juiced carrots into your tomato sauce or product is another common trick. Carrots, especially carrot juice, have a naturally alkaline character that neutralizes stomach acid, preventing heartburn (via Livestrong).