Is Kimchi Good for Acid Reflux or the Gut?


If you have acid reflux you might be wondering if kimchi is a good choice.

Kimchi is more likely to be bad for acid reflux. There are some cases where kimchi may be helpful for acid reflux though it’s much more common that kimchi will worsen acid reflux too. If you have more severe acid reflux like GERD or LPR taking kimchi is not recommended and could easily worsen or trigger acid reflux problems.

Below we will get into if you should eat kimchi in more detail and what you must know before.

Is Kimchi Good or Bad for Acid Reflux?

If you didn’t already know kimchi is made from a selection of vegetables and spices that have been fermented over a period of weeks or even longer in some cases. Some common ingredients that are used in kimchi include cabbage, radish, onions, garlic, ginger, and chili to name a few.

Just when you look through these common ingredients quite a few of them can be big triggers for acid reflux. For instance, onions, garlic, and chili are all foods that will trigger acid reflux. Therefore, eating kimchi especially for people with more sensitive digestive systems is usually a bad idea.

Not only can it trigger acid reflux, but it’s also quite acidic and can cause irritation to the whole digestive tract. Of course, not every kimchi is alike, and some may be worse for acid reflux than others. As an example, ones with chili are more likely to be troublesome for acid reflux than those without chili.

The main benefit that could be drawn from taking kimchi is the natural probiotics that are present in the mixture. Thanks to the vegetables and spices being fermented over time. What this basically means is that there are more good bacteria in the kimchi.

For some people this good bacteria can actually work to help promote good gut health and balance which can make a world of difference to improving their acid reflux. That’s because of how the gut and the stomach are interconnected – if there is any imbalance with the gut this often correlates with stomach issues too.

Keep in mind though that for some people taking too much of even the good kinds of bacteria can be problematic. This can sometimes overload the small intestines and gut which sometimes leads to issues and acid reflux problems too. It’s not a one answer fits all here.

Kimchi itself in terms of acidity is usually around a 4-4.5 pH. This makes it acidic on the pH scale and is slightly edging towards an acidity that can be problematic for some people. It’s not extremely acidic but could easily be acidic enough to be troublesome for people with acid reflux.

There are some cases where people have reported that kimchi has helped their acid reflux. While this has happened, it is not usually the normal or more common response to having kimchi.

The couple of most likely reasons why kimchi may have helped was because of the bacteria that in turn helped the gut health and therefore also helped the acid reflux too.

The second factor is the acidity. For some people who have low acidity in their stomach supplementing the stomach with a more acidic food like kimchi can sometimes help aid digestion in the stomach. That’s because the kimchi makes the stomach more acidic which will often improve digestion in people with too low acidity in the stomach. Though this is not usually recommended as low stomach acidity is not a common cause of acid reflux so often eating kimchi will actually make acid reflux worse instead of better.

Important Related Questions

Does Kimchi Increase Stomach Acid?

Eating kimchi will increase the acidity of the stomach especially if your stomach acid is not too acidic. This can worsen acid reflux for some people and therefore makes kimchi not the ideal choice if you have acid reflux problems.

Can Fermented Food Cause Acidity?

Yes sometimes fermented food may increase acidity and the chances of acid reflux. While this is not always the case it does happen.

Is Kimchi Low in Acid?

No, kimchi is acidic and is considered to be a more acidic food combination. While it is not extremely acidic people those who have digestion problems will notice how it may negatively affect them rather quickly.

Who Should Not Eat Kimchi?

Generally, kimchi is not a good choice if you have acid reflux or other digestion issues like SIBO or gastritis to name a couple. That’s often because of its excess acidity and excess bacteria than may be problematic for some.

Is Kimchi OK for Gastritis?

No kimchi can be irritating for gastritis at least for some people and depending on the ingredients and how the kimchi was prepared and how long it was fermented.

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