Does cinnamon cause heartburn?

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from heartburn regularly, your diet could be the culprit. You might be surprised to learn that there is a relationship between cinnamon and acid reflux. If you consistently eat foods containing cinnamon, you probably have to cut back on those meals, which should alleviate your heartburn symptoms.

What is heartburn?

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Heartburn, also known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a burning sensation in the chest caused by stomach acid seeping into the esophagus after having a meal. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) normally opens just enough to let food into the stomach while also allowing gas to escape. 

The acid can flow back if the muscle weakens or doesn’t close properly, creating the burning feeling that so many people are familiar with. Increased stomach pressure can aggravate the illness, which is why it’s more common among obese, constipated, or pregnant people.

Some of the symptoms of heartburn include a burning or pain in the chest or throat, a sour or acidic taste at the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or a cough. Though a mild case of heartburn isn’t a cause for alarm, chronic, unyielding symptoms may indicate that treatment is required.

Does cinnamon increase acid reflux?

Cinnamon boosts acid reflux in our stomach, resulting in heartburn and a burning sensation. Cinnamon does not cause acid reflux, but it does enhance the symptoms.

How does cinnamon increase acid reflux?

Cinnamon is a popular spice that has been enjoyed by humankind since ancient times. It’s a medicinal plant that’s also used as a topping and filling for various meals.

Cinnamon is made up of two primary ingredients: Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Although cinnamon is not a prevalent cause of acidity, these ingredients increase stomach acidity symptoms.

How to identify foods with cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice added to bakery products, cereals, and drinks and some types of alcohol and Indian, Moroccan, and Mexican cuisines. Cinnamon is rarely consumed on its own; it is frequently mixed with other spices and foods that increase heartburn symptoms.

Cinnamon may be added to chocolate – a food that relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing food to flow back into the esophagus. It’s crucial to recognize one’s dietary tolerance and decide whether or not cinnamon is triggering symptoms.

Heartburn symptoms – triggers and prevention

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the best way to relieve heartburn symptoms is to avoid fatty foods, spicy foods, and alcohol. Even if any of these foods contain cinnamon, the entire composition of a meal may create heartburn symptoms.

For example, heartburn symptoms may be triggered by an Indian dish containing cinnamon; but, cinnamon may not be the main irritant; it may be black pepper, paprika or the amount of fat in the meal — all of which can be aggravating factors.

To reduce heartburn symptoms, some useful recommendations are, 

  • Weight loss
  • Smoking cessation
  • Avoid lying down within two to three hours of eating

Precautions and warnings

Consult your doctor if your heartburn symptoms are severe or occur more than twice or three times a week, as this could indicate a more severe problem. When contemplating any supplements, including cinnamon, it’s also a good idea to consult your doctor.

Coumarin, which is present in the blood-thinning drug warfarin, is found in Cassia cinnamon. The European Food Safety Authority warns against taking cassia cinnamon supplements regularly because of the coumarin concentration.

According to the June 2015 issue of “Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society,” as covered in the American Journal of Case Reports, cinnamon supplements have been linked to hepatitis when taken with statins.

What are the best things to drink if you have acid reflux?

1. Water

Sometimes the most straightforward solutions are the best. Water has a neutral pH of 7.0, which can help raise the pH of an acidic meal.

Although this is a rare occurrence, drinking too much water might disturb your body’s mineral balance, increasing your chances of acid reflux.

2. Smoothies

Smoothies are an excellent way for almost everyone to get more vitamins and minerals into their diet. They’re a fantastic (and delicious!) solution for GERD sufferers.

When making a smoothie, opt for low-acid fruits like pear or watermelon, which are also good for juices. You can also include green veggies like spinach or kale.

This low-carb smoothie with spinach and avocado is a great way to start your day. 

3. Ginger tea

Ginger has a natural calming effect on the stomach and can help to lower stomach acid production. For a person with reflux, the ideal method to consume ginger tea is caffeine-free ginger tea with a bit of honey added as a sweetener.

Many ginger teas are available for purchase online from a source with thousands of consumer reviews. Get them here.

Because ginger ale is carbonated and may include caffeine, it is unlikely to help. Most commercial ginger ale sodas don’t have enough ginger to be effective.

4. Non-citrus fruits

Acid reflux can be triggered by citrus and other acidic fruits. Bananas and melons, for example, are non-citrus fruits that can help alleviate your symptoms. Bananas coat the inside of your esophagus, reducing discomfort. Melons are rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps to neutralize stomach acid and is contained in several over-the-counter antacids.

5. Yogurt

It’s a refreshing, creamy drink that can help with acid reflux. Not only does dairy help with stomach issues (unless you have a dairy intolerance), but the calcium in it can also cause the upper esophageal sphincter to close, which is what you want to avoid acid reflux.

Choose plain yogurt that isn’t sweetened, and try to stick to low-fat or non-fat options. Higher-fat meals lower pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter and take longer to digest, increasing reflux risk.

6. Coconut water

Acid reflux sufferers may also benefit from unsweetened coconut water. This beverage is high in potassium, which is an important electrolyte. These electrolytes help to maintain pH equilibrium in the body, which is essential for acid reflux control.

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