Is Sauerkraut Acidic or Alkaline? (pH & GERD)

Sauerkraut is a famous dish in Germany. It’s a raw form of cabbage fermented using lactic acid and bacteria. It has a tangy flavor, or you can say sour flavor and a crunchy texture.

As you know, fermented foods have more shelflife than raw from; that’s why it is also more acidic, but it’s a healthy probiotic.

In short, sauerkraut is acidic, but it’s a source of beneficial bacteria! Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt are full of healthy probiotics.

However, the entire article covers sauerkraut acidic or alkaline and its effect on acid reflux.

Is sauerkraut acidic or alkaline?

The pH of sauerkraut is variable but typically falls in the range of below 3.5 to about 4.2. 

Is fermented sauerkraut alkaline or acidic?

Fermented sauerkraut is an acidic product because the lactic acid bacteria that turn cabbage into sauerkraut thrive in a highly acidic environment. 

The pH level can range from below 3.0 to as high as 4.6 (in fully-fermented sauerkrauts), depending on the length of fermentation. When the sauerkraut is refrigerated, the pH rises to about 4.1-4.3 (slightly less acidic than grapefruit juice or vinegar).

Sauerkraut’s low pH does not make it an alkaline food. Adding lemon juice or other acids to water will not make it an alkaline drink.

Is raw sauerkraut acidic or alkaline according to the pH scale?

The only way to know if sauerkraut is too acidic or alkaline for you to eat is by testing it with a pH meter.

However, as a general guideline: Sauerkraut is more likely to be beneficial than harmful for slightly acidic people (with a pH of 6.9 to 7.5) and more likely to be harmful than beneficial for people who are significantly more alkaline (with a pH of 7.6 or higher).

It would be best to test the pH of your sauerkraut, but if you don’t have a pH meter at hand: Refer to this list below, which gives you an idea of the pH value for many other vegetables.

For a mild acidity, sauerkraut has a pH range from 4.6 to 5.3 and is thus slightly acidic.

To give you a reference: A pH level lower than 7 is acidic, whereas a pH higher than 7 is considered alkaline or basic.

So, if you are looking for an acidic environment in your stomach after a meal to improve the absorption of certain minerals, eat more sour foods such as Raw Sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables.

Read More- Carrot Acidic or Alkaline & Mango effect on acid reflux

Is fermented sauerkraut good for acid reflux?

Yes, sauerkraut is very good for acid reflux. It’s a good source of probiotics that help improve the digestive system. There are even some claims it helps to reduce your stomach acid altogether.

Fermented sauerkraut is definitely good for acid reflux. 

However, fermented sauerkraut itself does not cure or heal your acid reflux disease. It provides the right environment in our gut for other foods to help us digest properly and decrease the attacks we get from acid reflux. 

An enormous percentage of our immune system is in our gut (70% only in the ileum). Food digestion and absorption improve dramatically when we provide good healthy bacteria in these 3 areas.

The key to dealing with any health issue is drastically reducing inflammation. The foods you eat can be a great source of undoing the damage done by acid reflux disease and all diseases.

The probiotics and healthy enzymes in sauerkraut provide your body with food to heal itself.

What is The pH of sauerkraut juice?

Sauerkraut juice has a pH between 3.5 and 4, depending on how long fermentation is. This makes it unsafe for canning. 

When the pH drops to 4.6 or lower, this is an indication that your sauerkraut is ready to be eaten; at least a month after you started fermenting it.

How do you make sauerkraut less acidic?

I’ve received this query a few times, and I first thought it was about making an already acidic (sour) ferment less sour. 

Now I realize that some people really want to know how to make cabbage less acidic so they can eat it fresh without having the tissues of their mouth burn with every bite.

Basically, you can’t make cabbage less acidic. You can, however, change the pH of sauerkraut by adding calcium carbonate, which does not affect the flavor of your ferment.

Adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to sauerkraut or any ferment is not recommended because it’s likely to make your ferment soft, mushy and it may taste funny. 

In the case of sauerkraut, sodium bicarbonate will make your cabbage less acidic. Still, it can alter its flavor by changing the amount of organic acids created during fermentation.

You can also modify the texture of sauerkraut by removing some liquid before you jar it. This will make your ferment dryer which often helps to reduce the acidity.

Another way is, of course, cooking cabbage before making sauerkraut. You can roast or boil your cabbage first, and only a small part of the sugars in it will be converted to lactic acid by lactobacilli. 

This will produce sweet and less acidic kraut. Any of these methods can reduce the acid levels so that you won’t have any problems eating it fresh.

However, it’s important to note that fermenting cabbage at a lower pH is likely to slow down the process, and you might not be happy with the outcome. 

After all, if you want to make sauerkraut less acidic and ferment it for a longer time to compensate for the change in pH, that’s not going to happen. You just can’t speed up or slow down fermentation by making changes at the start of the process.

Know more Acid and Alkaline Foods on Acid Reflux- Salt , Your Favorite Peanut Butter

How much sauerkraut to eat per day?

One to three tablespoons, or enough to cover half a dinner plate. 

Ingest it in divided doses, the first 30 minutes before eating, and then at one-hour intervals throughout your meal. 

If you come from a high-sensitivity family (most of us), a dose twice a day should do, but take more if you have a high-level job or are under severe physical stress.

Sauerkraut effects on acidity levels in the body

One of the oldest known fermented foods, sauerkraut, is a staple food that has been passed on from generation to generation. 

The use of cabbage in fermented dishes is not unique to the European countries, as it was also prominently used by natives of the North American continent. 

This cabbage dish is made by fermenting the chopped leaves of green cabbages in a brine solution. The natural lactic acid produced during the fermentation process preserves the sauerkraut and provides it with beneficial probiotics.

During this process, various strains of healthy bacteria are produced, which can help improve your digestion system and offer you various health benefits.

Sauerkraut and GERD

Many studies have shown that diet can help or aggravate GERD. Although the research is inconclusive, some findings suggest certain foods may worsen symptoms. Studies reporting this include:

1) Animal-based broths and soups cause more reflux than plant-based broths 2) red wine can increase acid levels in the esophagus 3) tomatoes can increase acid levels 4) chocolate can increase reflux symptoms. Also, because it can cause heartburn, doctors recommend that people with GERD avoid carbonated beverages.

sauerkraut is acidic, not alkaline and it may cause gas.

Therefore, according to anecdotal reports and studies mentioned above, sauerkraut may not be advisable for GERD patients.  

However, I found a couple of studies that reported that fermented foods improve GERD. One study found that eating 2 ounces of sauerkraut helped reduce heartburn in people with GERD compared to eating white bread. 

Another small study reported that a pickled cabbage leaf placed on the esophagus for 15 minutes relieved reflux in 96% of participants. 

These positive results may be because fermented cabbage and other vegetables contain probiotics (healthy bacteria) that can help prevent and relieve GERD.

However, it is essential to note that the amount of sauerkraut eaten in these studies was relatively small compared to the average American’s diet.

Therefore, although probiotics in sauerkraut may improve GERD for some people, the quantity of sauerkraut usually consumed by Americans is likely too small to make any significant difference.

However, that doesn’t mean that larger quantities wouldn’t help or would even be advisable. It just means that more research needs to be done before any firm conclusions can be drawn.

However, much larger quantities of sauerkraut could cause GERD symptoms to worsen because nitrites found in fermented vegetables are associated with poor digestive tract motility and increased sphincter pressure.

Increased sphincter pressure is an indirect way of saying it may increase the frequency with which people experience acid reflux.

Although there is not enough proof to suggest that sauerkraut is either beneficial or harmful for those with GERD, it may be best to avoid one of those foods if you are experiencing digestive problems.

In the future, research will hopefully provide a more definitive answer as to whether fermented vegetables help or hurt GERD.

When is sauerkraut bad for you?

One of the most repeatedly asked questions about sauerkraut is whether it can trigger acid reflux. The answer to this question can confuse because several studies concluded that fermented cabbage, including sauerkraut, was associated with an increased risk for GERD / acid reflux in some people. 

Other studies showed no association, while others reported that lactic acid bacteria in the fermented cabbage reduced GERD / acid reflux risk.

These conflicting outcomes may be attributed to differences in study design and interpretation of data both by medical professionals and researchers.

For example, one small-scale study concluded that sauerkraut had no harmful effects on the esophagus. In fact, it reduced stomach acidity. 

Another study reported that pickled cabbage (and sauerkraut) consumption was associated with an increased risk for GERD / acid reflux. 

These studies suggest that fermented foods such as sauerkraut may be helpful or harmful depending on specific factors related to each individual.

Does sauerkraut cause gas?

In many cases, the extra gas is not caused by lactose intolerance but instead fermenting cabbage and other ingredients that can lead to an overabundance of intestinal bacteria and the resulting bloating and gassiness that can come with that.

Health benefits of sauerkraut?

The health benefits of sauerkraut are pretty numerous. 

The holy grail of fermented vegetables is an enzyme known as lactobacillus acidophilus. This beneficial bacterium helps aid digestion and boost your immune system. 

It also produces vitamin k2, which can slow down or even reverse arteriosclerosis.

However, the benefits of sauerkraut are not limited to just acidophilus. Many other important vitamins and enzymes are also contained within each serving of the brined cabbage including.

The health benefits of sauerkraut are astounding for its anti-cancer properties, life extension, enhanced cognition, and overall brain function. 

The reason sauerkraut is good for you is that it contains lactic acid bacteria, which are beneficial for the digestive tract and improve the gut flora balance.

Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage. The fermenting process adds lactic acid to the cabbage. 

This creates an environment where other organisms cannot survive. Sauerkraut does not contain any dairy products, so it generally does not cause milk intolerance or lactose intolerance problems. However, some people may experience gas from eating sauerkraut.

Wrap up on Sauerkraut and its effect on Gerd

Sauerkraut is acidic, and it’s a fermented product. Sauerkraut and kimchi are fermented products, and both naturally increase stomach acid levels.

The food also contains fiber that improves your digestion.

Sauerkraut can improve health if adequately prepared using fresh cabbage, salt, and the right bacteria. 

In fact, the Lacto-fermented sauerkraut became a staple of the vegetarian diet of specific religious communities in Europe. 

Consuming fermented vegetables regularly has been associated with several health benefits, including improved digestion and absorption of some nutrients, reduced risk for yeast infections, and other complications.

If you want to change your diet, then always consult with your dietician, that helps you a lot to decide how much is perfect for your body.

Q1. What is the best time to eat sauerkraut for gut health?

You should consume roughly a spoonful of sauerkraut per day to reap the digestive benefits. This is readily accomplished by adding a small quantity to your dinner dish.

Q2. Can I eat too much sauerkraut?

When you eat too much sauerkraut, it leaves a lot of raffinose in your faeces, which can cause diarrhoea.

Leave a Comment