If you deal with acid reflux or other gut issues, you may have been told to avoid acidic foods and aim for an alkaline diet — an eating plan based on the idea that maintaining appropriate pH levels in the body is crucial for good health and disease prevention.
While there's not much research to support an alkaline diet, it can be helpful to know if pineapple juice is acidic, as high-acid foods can irritate certain conditions.
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Here, learn about pineapple juice's pH and who may want to avoid it.
Is Pineapple Acidic?
Pineapple juice is also acidic, with a pH value between 3.2 and 4, per Clemson University.
In general, fruits and vegetables with a pH value of 7 are classified as neutral. And those with a pH value above 7 are alkaline.
What Makes Pineapple Acidic?
Pineapple gets its acidity from two different acids — malic and citric acid. These are naturally occurring acids that give pineapple its sour flavor, with citric acid increasing in the fruit until it's ripe, per a September 2020 report by The American Society for Horticultural Science.
Citric acid is a beneficial antioxidant and is used as a preservative in foods, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and malic acid is an important metabolite — or substance that's needed for metabolism, per the NCBI.
High- and Low-Acid Fruits
Other fruits high in acid include the following, per Oklahoma State University:
- Apples: 3.3 to 4
- Apple juice: 3.4 to 4
- Bananas: 4.5 to 5.2
- Grapefruit: 3 to 3.75
- Grapes: 2.8 to 3
- Lemon juice: 2 to 2.6
- Lime juice: 2 to 2.4
- Oranges: 3.7 to 4.3
- Orange juice: 3.3 to 4.2
- Strawberries: 3 to 3.9
Some low-acid fruits include the following, per Oklahoma State University:
- Honeydew melon: 6 to 6.7
- Black olives: 6 to 7
- Papaya: 5.2 to 6
- Mangoes: 5.8 to 6
- Dates: 6.3 to 6.6
- Persian melon: 6 to 6.3
Most fruits have an acidic pH. But health organizations, such as the USDA, emphasize the benefits of eating fruit every day. An alkaline diet, on the other hand, is pretty low in fruit, which may result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Benefits of Pineapple Juice
The good news: Pineapple juice is chock-full of vitamins, antioxidants and bioactive compounds that promote overall health. Here are some of the benefits of eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice:
- Vitamin C: One cup of pineapple juice boasts 63 percent of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C as well as a bit of calcium, potassium and iron, per the USDA.
- Bromelain: Pineapple is also the only dietary source of bromelain, an enzyme that supports protein digestion and is linked to fighting inflammation and reducing bruising. This naturally occurring compound may be just as potent as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to a January 2017 review by Aga Khan University.
- Hydration: Additionally, pineapple juice is high in water content, which can help keep you hydrated and prevent constipation, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Who Should Avoid or Limit Pineapple Juice?
From a nutritional standpoint, there's no reason to eliminate pineapple juice from your diet completely. But there are a few side effects of drinking too much pineapple juice, depending on your body:
1. People With Acid Reflux
If you have acid reflux, eating and drinking acidic foods like pineapple juice may make your symptoms worse. Acid reflux symptoms include a burning sensation in your chest or stomach (which may get worse when lying down), a sour taste in your mouth, burping, nausea and more, per the Mayo Clinic.
Treatment options for acid reflux include:
- Keeping a food diary to track what's causing your symptoms
- Antacids like Alka-Seltzer and TUMS
- H2 Blockers like Pepcid AC and Zantac 360
- Proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec and Nexium
- Lifestyle changes like eating smaller meals, exercising frequently and avoiding bedtime snacking
2. Those With Sensitive Teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, you may want to limit acidic drinks like pineapple juice. In large amounts, they may cause dental erosion and tooth loss, according to the American Dental Association. This can also happen with any drink with pH levels between 3.2 and 5.
3. People With High Blood Sugar
Another downside is that pineapple juice has a lot of sugar. This can be tricky for someone trying to lower their blood sugar levels, or someone dealing with hyperglycemia due to diabetes. Regular pineapple, however, does have lots of fiber, fewer calories and less sugar than pineapple juice, so it may help to stabilize blood sugars, per the USDA.
If you have diabetes or high blood sugar levels and are unsure if you can enjoy pineapple as part of a balanced diet, talk with your doctor or a nutritionist, who can suggest portion sizes and alternative fruits.
- BioMed Research International: "Importance of pH Homeostasis in Metabolic Health and Diseases: Crucial Role of Membrane Proton Transport"
- Clemson University: "pH Values of Common Foods and Ingredients"
- American Dental Association: "The pH of Beverages in the United States"
- USDA: "Why Is It Important to Eat Fruit?"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Pineapple Juice Canned or Bottled Unsweetened Without Added Ascorbic Acid"
- Clinical Nutrition Research: "The Role of Calcium in Human Aging"
- NIH: "Magnesium"
- NCBI: "Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Pineapple"
- U.S. News & World Report: "Alkaline Diet: 2023"
- The American Society for Horticultural Science: "Rapid Field Essay for Pineapple Fruit Acidity"
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: "Citric Acid"
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: "Malic Acid (Compound)"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Many Health Benefits of Pineapple"
- Mayo Clinic: "Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)"
- Oklahoma State University: "The Importance of Food pH in Commercial Canning Operations"