GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common problem that many people experience. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from GERD, you may be wondering if it is safe to eat sushi.
Can you eat sushi with Gerd? The answer is yes! However, there are certain types of sushi that are better for people with GERD than others. And some ingredients used in sushi may cause flare-ups. But sushi is totally safe to eat with GERD if those ingredients are removed.
This article will cover and explore if sushi can be eaten with GERD and some necessary information on how to have sushi with GERD and stay healthy.
What Is GERD?
If you want to know whether you can eat sushi if you have GERD, you must first fully understand this diagnosis.
The abbreviation for GERD is gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is a medical condition that causes the contents of your stomach to come back up into your esophagus.
This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not function properly. The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle at the end of your esophagus that opens and closes.
When this muscle is not working correctly, the contents of your stomach can come back up into your esophagus and throat, causing heartburn and other symptoms.
GERD symptoms include heartburn, acid reflux, regurgitation, nausea, and vomiting.
People with GERD often find that their symptoms are worse at night. This is because lying down makes it easier for the contents of your stomach to come back up into your esophagus.
There are many treatments for GERD, including lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medications, and prescription medications.
LEARN MORE: Can You Eat Sushi on Paleo Diet?
Does Sushi Cause GERD Flare-ups?
Sushi itself is not bad for GERD flare-ups. The ingredients used in sushi may cause a flare-up when eaten. The regular contents of sushi are vinegared rice, seaweed sheets, raw fish, and vegetables.
Along with the basic ingredients, condiments such as sauces and pastes are used. Among them, the most common are soy sauce and wasabi. Again, some people also eat pickled ginger in between having different types of sushi.
Not all, but some ingredients cause flare-ups. The ingredients in basic sushi that can trigger flare-ups are:
It is usually safe to eat sushi if you can avoid soy sauce and wasabi. Though vinegar is hazardous, vinegared rice is not because the rice dilutes the vinegar.
LEARN MORE: Do You Eat Ginger With Sushi?
Sushi Ingredients and GERD
When ingredients that are generally bad for GERD patients are used in sushi, it may cause a flare-up. So it is important to know which ingredients or what type of food usually cause flare-ups.
The following sections explain how various ingredients in sushi of any kind can cause GERD flare-ups:
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is one of the most common ingredients used in sushi. It is also one of the main ingredients that can trigger a GERD flare-up. Soy sauce is high in sodium and acid content. The high acidity level in soy sauce relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, causing stomach contents to come back up into the esophagus.
- Vinegar: Vinegar is another ingredient used in sushi that can trigger a GERD flare-up. It is used to soak the sushi rice in it.
- Wasabi Paste: Wasabi paste is another common ingredient used in sushi. It is made from horseradish and mustard. Like soy sauce, wasabi paste is also high in acid content and is spicy.
- Fried Stuffing: Deep-fried battered fish or vegetables used as stuffing can be hard to digest and can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, causing reflux.
- High-Fat Fish: Sushi made with high-fat fish can trigger a GERD flare-up. The fat in the fish takes a long time to digest. This can cause the contents of your stomach to sit in your stomach for longer, increasing the chance of reflux.
- Spicy Sauces: Spicy sauces such as spicy mayo, sriracha, etc., used in sushi can trigger a GERD flare-up.
- Spicy Stuffing: Spicy fillings such as jalapeño, habanero, spicy fish or meat etc., used in sushi can trigger a GERD flare-up.
- Ginger Pickle: Ginger pickle is acidic with a pH level of around five. This can trigger a GERD flare-up.
LEARN MORE: What Is in a Yum Yum Sushi Roll?
How to Eat Sushi with GERD?
If you have GERD, you can still eat sushi by following these tips:
- Avoid soy sauce and wasabi paste, and use alternatives.
- Choose sushi made with brown rice instead of white rice, or white sushi rice is also fine.
- Avoid sushi made with deep-fried fish or meat and vegetables.
- Choose sushi made with lean fish instead of high-fat fish, and try using baked, boiled, or smoked fish for an easier breakdown of it in the stomach.
- Avoid sushi made with spicy sauces or fillings.
- If you are going to eat ginger pickle, have it in small amounts.
- Make your own sushi at home.
- Drink plenty of water with your sushi meal to help with digestion.
- Avoid drinking alcohol with your sushi meal.
LEARN MORE: What Does Salmon Sushi Taste Like?
Different Types of Sushi to Eat With GERD
Some types of sushi are easier to digest and less likely to trigger a GERD flare-up. The ones having no such ingredient that may cause a flare-up are:
- Unagi Sushi (freshwater eel)
- Kappa Maki (cucumber sushi)
- Shinko Sushi (Pickled Daikon sushi)
- Tomago Sushi (egg sushi)
- Alaska Roll
- Dragon Roll
- Boston Roll
- California Roll
These sushi types do not have any content that will ruin your sushi meal.
LEARN MORE: What Goes Good With Sushi?
Worst Sushi Rolls to Eat With GERD
In order to keep yourself away from acid reflux, the following types of sushis need to be avoided:
- Philadelphia Sushi Roll
- Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll
- Spicy Salmon Sushi Roll
- Dynamite Sushi Roll
- Crazy Crab Sushi Roll
- Tiger Sushi Roll
- Tekka Maki ( Tuna sushi)
- Saba Sushi (Mackerel sushi)
- Ikura Sushi ( Salmon roe sushi)
- Uni Sushi (Sea urchin sushi)
- Shrimp Tempura Sushi Roll
LEARN MORE: What Is Tekka Sushi?
Why Don’t Most Sushi Cause GERD?
The main reason why sushi doesn’t trigger acid reflux is that the vinegar used to soak the rice neutralizes stomach acid. The vinegar also helps to break down the fish and other ingredients used in sushi, making it easier to digest.
Another reason why sushi is less likely to trigger acid reflux is that sushi rice is usually well-cooked. This makes it easier to digest and less likely to cause reflux.
Most antacids have alginates, which neutralize the acid in the stomach. Alginates are found in brown seaweed, which is used to make sushi nori.
Nori also contains high levels of minerals and vitamins, which can help to reduce the symptoms of GERD.
The final reason why sushi is less likely to trigger acid reflux is that sushi is usually eaten with chopsticks.
This means that you are likely to eat smaller bites and chew your food more thoroughly, which aids in digestion and reduces the risk of reflux.
The best sushi for people with GERD is sushi that is made with brown rice, lean fish, and no spicy sauces or fillings.
Conclusion: Can You Eat Sushi With GERD?
If you have GERD, you can still enjoy sushi by following the tips and choosing the right types of sushi.
With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy your favorite sushi without having to worry about a GERD flare-up.
Explore as many options as you can so you never have to miss out on this delicacy.