Most salad dressings sold in stores tend to be quite acidic ranging from a 3 to a 5 pH. That is quite acidic and even someone with more minor acid reflux could still be affected. If you have more severe acid reflux almost all store bought salad dressings are not a good choice.
Below we will go into the best salad dressing options out there and whether it’s best to buy or make your own depending on your acid reflux severity.
Salad Dressing Acidity Levels
Before we talk about the best salad dressing options we should first understand how acidic the salad dressings tend to be and why.
When it comes to salad dressings that you will buy in the store its typical that they will be quite acidic. Usually ranging from around a 3-5 pH. For a lot of people with acid reflux this is simply too acidic and will trigger acid reflux symptoms which is especially likely if you have GERD or LPR.
One of the reasons a lot of salad dressings tend to be more acidic is because of many including vinegar. Vinegar is very acidic and really should be avoided by all people with acid reflux.
A lot of salad dressings use vinegar and ideally we want to avoid dressings that use vinegar and if they do only go for ones with minimal vinegar included. The reason we want to avoid vinegar is because it’s very acidic with a pH of around 2-3. Which makes it as acidic as stomach acid!
If you aren’t sure almost all store bought salad dressings should be avoided if you have acid reflux. Of course, there are exceptions that are more plain and less acidic which might be suitable for you if you only have more minor acid reflux symptoms, which we will cover below along with making your own salad dressings. Also, for a complete acid reflux diet advice check our Wipeout Diet Plan.
Best Salad Dressings for Acid Reflux
Below are the best salad dressing options that are great and tasty choices that are safe for people with acid reflux.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a simple salad dressing option that is also very tasty. It’s completely safe for anyone with acid reflux and is also the best oil for anyone with acid reflux.
While olive oil on the salad might seem plain there are a selection of different olive oils out there which have many different elements and tastes to them. This offers you variety to find one that suits your taste.
Olive oil can also be mixed with something like avocado to make a sort of ‘green goddess’ dressing that is also super tasty and safe for all with acid reflux. Olive oil can also be cooked with certain spices to make your own kind of salad dressing. We will cover that more later in the article.
If you didn’t know tahini is sesame seeds that have been blended up. They make a nice puree that is safe for most people with acid reflux.
You can expect a kind of nutty taste with this. It also goes quite well with a little soy sauce, which we will talk about more below.
Soy sauce is one of them options that can go great with salad depending on your own taste preferences. Soy sauce tends to be around a 5 pH. While this is acidic it’s not very acidic and tends to be less acidic than a lot of store-bought salad dressings.
It’s best to opt for a soy sauce that has minimal ingredients and preservatives because they are not as acidic. Keep in mind soy sauce might be too acidic for certain people especially those with GERD or silent reflux.
Premade Salad Dressings (including ranch and mayonnaise)
If you want to buy a more typical salad dressing a yogurt-based dressing like ranch is one of the better options.
Ranch tends not to be as acidic as other dressings sold at the stores. Though I’d recommend you avoid it if you have GERD or LPR – that’s because of the many ingredients included that can make it quite acidic and irritable for someone with more severe acid reflux. If you have more minimal acid reflux you can try it a little and see how it goes and can continue use if it doesn’t affect your acid reflux.
Out of the other store-bought dressings mayonnaise is another okay choice. It follows the same kind of path as ranch dressing in the sense that it’s not perfect and might irritate symptoms but as far as store bought salad dressings it’s one of the least acidic options in comparison. For more information on mayonnaise check our article – Is Mayonnaise Bad for Acid Reflux?
Making Your Own Salad Dressing
If you prefer you can also make your own salad dressing. This is a good option if you’d like extra flavor or to adjust to your own taste.
When you make your own dressing it’s a good idea to make it with extra virgin olive oil and a little water and add safe ingredients to the mixture and cook it for a little before serving.
You can add some of the things like we mentioned above like soy sauce and salt for example and certain spices like ginger, cumin, and fennel to name a few.
Also, most herbs can be added to the mixture except lemongrass and mint. If you like a bit of a sweeter dressing you can add either honey or maple syrup to the mixture – usually 1 teaspoon will be enough. For more recipes ideas check our in-depth acid reflux diet plan – Wipeout Diet Plan. Also if you want even more tailored acid reflux advice consider a private consultation with David.
The great thing about making your own salad dressing is you can adjust it to suit yourself and make your perfect GERD friendly salad dressing. If some ingredients bother you can remove them. If you prefer it saltier you can add more salt etc.
Also try not to be intimated by making it. You should be able to make it in about 5 minutes once you know what you are doing.
Interesting Related Questions
Is Balsamic Vinegar OK for Acid Reflux?
No Balsamic vinegar is not okay for acid reflux. That is mainly because it like most vinegars are very acidic and are quite likely to cause or worsen acid reflux problems.
Is Caesar Dressing OK for GERD?
Caesar dressing is not good for GERD. This is because they typically include things like vinegar and many other ingredients like lemon and preservatives that make the dressing very acidic. Therefore, Caesar dressing should be avoided if you have GERD.