At least once a week, about 20 percent of the people in the United States experience acid reflux symptoms, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Acid reflux is a condition that causes stomach contents to rise up, which causes an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest. Some people find that certain foods or juices trigger this condition. While prune juice does not always worsen acid reflux, it may do so for some individuals.
The pH level of a food or beverage can help you predict whether a certain food is likely to trigger reflux. Some juices, such as lemon juice or orange juice, have a low pH level. This indicates these juices are quite acidic and could be more likely to trigger reflux. Prune juice has a pH level of 3.95 to 3.97. This amount is not quite as low as citrus juices but is still considered slightly acidic, which means it may trigger or worsen acid reflux symptoms in some individuals.
A person's reaction to a certain food can vary, depending on a number of biological and lifestyle factors. While prune juice may worsen acid reflux for some people, it may have little to no affect on others. Keeping a food journal may help you determine how prune juice is affect your reflux. To keep a food journal, simply record each food and drink you consume each day and write down any symptoms you experience after consuming each item. After about a week or so of recording, look for patterns. If you always seem to experience acid reflux after consuming prune juice, eliminate it from your diet to see if your condition improves.
Other Common Triggers
If your journal indicates that prune juice is not causing your reflux, a number of other things may be to blame. Acid reflux is often triggered by foods high in fat or by foods that are fried or spicy. Chocolate, tomatoes, onions, garlic, mint and citrus fruits also may trigger or worsen the condition. Certain medications, such as ibuprofen, blood pressure medications, aspirin or sedatives, may also be problematic. You also may want to avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages to avoid triggering reflux symptoms. Wearing clothing that is tight around the abdomen, overeating or failing to remain upright after consuming a food or beverage may also cause or worsen acid reflux.
Some people are unable to manage their acid reflux symptoms through dietary modifications alone and require medical intervention to manage their condition. Over-the-counter antacids or prescription medications may prove beneficial for these people. These medications may reduce or eliminate acid reflux pain as it is occurring or may be able to prevent the pain for occurring at all. If you are having difficulty managing your acid reflux symptoms, talk to a doctor to see if these medications or another treatment option is appropriate.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States; June 2010
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease; May 2007
- University of Georgia; FDA Approximate pH of Foods and Food Products; April 2007
- University of Illinois McKinley Health Center: GERD Diet
- American Academy of Family Physicians; Heartburn; November 1996