Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is irritation and inflammation of your esophagus caused by acid that seeps up from your stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s why GERD causes heartburn. Cherries might be good for the inflammation caused by GERD, but could cherries cause heartburn?
“When it comes to foods and GERD symptoms, it is not so much about what you eat as when you eat and how much,” says Abdul Haseeb, MD, assistant professor of gastroenterology at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois. “Different foods trigger GERD symptoms for different people. Acidic foods are worse on an empty stomach, and any food that you eat just before lying down can make GERD worse.”
Cherry Juice for GERD?
The Nutrients review of 29 studies found cherries may help with:
- Muscle soreness.
- Blood pressure.
- Cholesterol numbers.
- Blood sugar.
There was also some support for benefits in arthritis and diabetes. These benefits are due to the anti-inflammatory effects of antioxidants in all types of cherries.
The review did not find any studies that looked at cherries for GERD, and you should know that the amount of cherries used in these studies ranged from 45 to 270 cherries per day. “Although there is no strong evidence that cherries help GERD, antioxidants from fresh fruits make sense, as long as they don’t trigger your GERD symptoms,” Dr. Haseeb says.
The acidity of cherries is about the same as apples, according to Clemson University: firmly in the middle range of fruit acidity. Acidity is measured as pH — a lower pH means more acidic. For example, here are the approximate pH ranges of some common fruits:
- Lemons or limes: 2 to 3.
- Cherries: 3 to under 5.
- Melons or ripe mango: 5 to 7.
“Cherries or cherry juice does not show up on the list of foods that most commonly trigger heartburn in people with GERD. Because different people have different heartburn triggers, the best thing to do is keep a food diary to isolate your food triggers,” Dr. Haseeb says. He cites these foods as the most common heartburn triggers:
- Coffee and orange juice, especially on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Carbonated beverages, because they increase pressure in the stomach.
- Citrus fruits.
- Fatty foods, because they slow down digestion.
- Garlic and onions, for some people.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) adds mint and spicy foods to the list, and the Mayo Clinic warns about fried foods and tomato sauce.
“You can treat GERD with over-the-counter antacids. The most effective medicines are usually proton-pump inhibitors like Prilosec and Nexium. If you have tried these medications and they have not helped in about one month, or if you have any trouble swallowing, you should talk to your doctor,” Dr. Haseeb says.
Certain lifestyle changes can also help you manage GERD, Dr. Haseeb points out. They include:
- Reducing stress.
- Losing weight.
- Putting 6-inch blocks under the legs of your bed at the head of your bed (which works much better than a pillow wedge to keep stomach contents from seeping up).
- Keeping a food log to avoid foods that cause heartburn.
- Not smoking.
- Only drinking alcohol in moderation (if you drink).
- Not going to bed on a full stomach.
Finally, NIDDK says there are several effective surgeries that can tighten the valve between your stomach and esophagus. “This valve, called the lower esophageal sphincter, is the gateway for stomach acid into your esophagus,” Dr. Haseeb says.
The bottom line on cherry juice, according to Dr. Haseeb, is that you can give it a try as long as it doesn’t trigger heartburn. NIDDK says antacids and lifestyle changes are really the key to managing GERD. A final warning: “If you have any blood in your stool or throw up blood, let your doctor know right away. Sometimes GERD symptoms can be an ulcer,” Dr. Haseeb says.
- Nutrients: “A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries”
- Mayo Clinic: “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)”
- Abdul Haseeb, MD, assistant professor, gastroenterology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for GER & GERD”
- Clemson University: “pH Values of Common Foods and Ingredients”
The watching, interacting, and participation of any kind with anything on this page does not constitute or initiate a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Farrah™. None of the statements here have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The products of Dr. Farrah™ are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information being provided should only be considered for education and entertainment purposes only. If you feel that anything you see or hear may be of value to you on this page or on any other medium of any kind associated with, showing, or quoting anything relating to Dr. Farrah™ in any way at any time, you are encouraged to and agree to consult with a licensed healthcare professional in your area to discuss it. If you feel that you’re having a healthcare emergency, seek medical attention immediately. The views expressed here are simply either the views and opinions of Dr. Farrah™ or others appearing and are protected under the first amendment.
Dr. Farrah™ is a highly experienced Licensed Medical Doctor certified in evidence-based clinical nutrition, not some enthusiast, formulator, or medium promoting the wild and unrestrained use of nutrition products for health issues without clinical experience and scientific evidence of therapeutic benefit. Dr. Farrah™ has personally and keenly studied everything she recommends, and more importantly, she’s closely observed the reactions and results in a clinical setting countless times over the course of her career involving the treatment of over 150,000 patients.
Dr. Farrah™ promotes evidence-based natural approaches to health, which means integrating her individual scientific and clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise, I refer to the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.
Dr. Farrah™ does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of any multimedia content provided. Dr. Farrah™ does not warrant the performance, effectiveness, or applicability of any sites listed, linked, or referenced to, in, or by any multimedia content.
To be clear, the multimedia content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any website, video, image, or media of any kind. Dr. Farrah™ hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.