Are you a fan of soy sauce? This is one of the world’s most popular condiments, the USA has the world’s largest soybean production (108 million metric tons). Soy sauce has a strong flavor from fermented soybeans and wheat and sodium content. There are possible side-effects like soy or wheat allergies. But have you heard the link about soy sauce and heartburn? Know the facts, including possible ingredients that could cause acid reflux in this article.
Interestingly, soy sauce is often considered unhealthy. What’s the big deal? Besides the possible soy/wheat allergy, there’s also the sodium. Some products have 100mg in one tablespoon, which is already two-thirds of the recommended daily value (DV). The high sodium content could cause a lot of possible health issues, including high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease.
How about soy sauce and heartburn? There’s the chance soy sauce might cause acid reflux. If you have heartburn 2+ times per week, then you’ll want to avoid foods that trigger this condition. It can cause many symptoms that are tough to deal with.
What Exactly Is Soy Sauce?
It is the first question to take up before talking about possible side-effects. Soy sauce is easily one of the most well-known seasonings in Asian cuisine. The main ingredients usually include:
- Soybeans (fermented)
- Wheat (fermented)
There are sometimes other ingredients, but the above-mentioned ones are the main ones added to the sauce. The sauce is famous for its savory “umami” flavor. That’s mostly due to the soy/wheat being fermented.
Another factor is the salt content, which can be quite high. How high can it go? The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people consume a maximum of 1500mg of sodium per day. Some soy sauces have 100mg per TBSP, which is already two-thirds of the recommended daily value.
That is certainly one of the main issues with the sauce. There are low-sodium versions available. Make sure to research the term low since it can vary greatly. A good option would be a sauce that has less than 300mg of sodium/serving.
The other main ingredients could cause some possible health issues also. For example, soybeans are one of the top food allergies that people have. If you’re allergic to soy, you’ll have to avoid soy sauce and go with alternatives like coconut aminos.
Then there’s the wheat. This is another common food allergy that people have. It’s not always added to soy sauces, but it often is. Make sure to read the ingredient label to determine whether or not a particular brand has wheat. If you have a wheat/gluten allergy, you should look for a gluten-free variety.
Then, there’s the issue of the type of soy sauce you pick. For example, there’s a Japanese tamari sauce. It contains less wheat and salt than normal, which gives it a milder taste. There are other varieties you can pick from that include other different features.
Soy Sauce and Heartburn: What’s The Link?
If you have heartburn, then it’s important to know which foods will trigger symptoms and which ones are safe. The main issue to consider is whether a particular food is highly acidic.
Here are some particular foods you should avoid:
- Citrus fruits
- Coffee/Tea (regular)
- Fizzy drinks
- Fried food
- Spicy food
These foods increase stomach acid, which can cause heartburn or acid reflux. If you’re going to consume them, you should take steps to neutralize the acid. You could add real milk to coffee/tea or add cheese/cream to a tomato dish to make it less acidic.
Keep in mind that you’ll need a “base” to offset the acidity of certain foods. Dairy is one of the best ones. When it’s not a good option, go with other options like non-greasy snack foods to pair with alcohol. The key is to avoid dishes that will be more acidic than alkaline.
When pairing soy sauce with foods, make sure to avoid other condiments and ingredients that could trigger heartburn. For example, let’s say that you’re ordering sushi. There shouldn’t be any problem with pairing it with soy sauce.
However, you should avoid the traditional wasabi paste, since the horseradish could be likely to trigger heartburn symptoms. It’s all about considering all the ingredients in a particular dish.
Even though soy sauce doesn’t cause GERD you might experience it from other ingredients. So just take note of all ingredients in a dish.
There are other ways you can help to prevent heartburn when consuming meals. One is to simply go with small portion sizes. This can help to reduce the chance of heartburn and weight gain. One of the biggest problems with today’s meals isn’t just the types of food but also the Super-Size portion sizes that are often served.
Tips for Preventing Heartburn
1. Eat small portion sizes
Not only should you watch what you eat but also how much you eat. This will help to put less pressure on the stomach. That, in turn, will help to make GERD less likely. On the other hand, the opposite happens when you consume a big meal. The situation gets worse when the meal includes GERD-unfriendly foods.
2. Sit up after a meal
This can help to prevent heartburn from happening. You’ll have gravity on your side. On the other hand, if you lie down after a big meal, it’s more likely to trigger heartburn. Health experts recommend not lying down until three hours after eating. This is especially true if you’ve consumed a huge meal.
3. Avoid reflux-causing food
It’s important to avoid foods that often trigger acid reflux. They include:
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits
These foods are tougher to digest so they’re also more likely to cause heartburn/acid reflux.
4. Sleep with your head elevated
This can help to prevent GERD since you’ll have gravity working in your favor. A good option is to sleep on two pillows instead of one. It might take a while to get used to this sleeping style, but it’s an effective method for reducing acid reflux.
5. Eat less and hit the gym more
Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to avoid acid reflux. Studies show there’s a connection between obesity and heartburn. It is due to the fat that puts pressure on your stomach.