Is Garlic Bad for Acid Reflux?

Garlic is known to have many health benefits and is used to relieve discomfort and pain caused by common ailments, including acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). How you use garlic, however, determines whether it will prove to be good or bad for the acid reflux you suffer.


Acid reflux is caused when acids, foods or liquids from the stomach re-enter the esophagus either by vomiting or regurgitation. The primary symptom of this condition is heartburn.


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Garlic has been used successfully to relieve acid reflux because it causes the growth and build up of healthy bacteria in the stomach that destroy Helicobacter pylori, a microorganism that causes inflammation of the stomach lining which can lead to reflux.

How Garlic Works

Garlic contains the enzyme allinase and alliin, an amino acid. When a garlic clove is attacked by bacteria or crushed, the enzyme reacts with the amino acid to produce allicin. The new compound is known to fight off bacterial infections, such as those which cause acid reflux symptoms.

Using Garlic

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In order for allicin to be produced, a garlic clove must be damaged, either through biting, chewing or crushing. To relieve acid reflux, you should chew garlic thoroughly before swallowing, or blend a clove with fruits or vegetables in a juicer and consume immediately.


Whether garlic will be good or bad for acid reflux relief depends on how it is consumed. Despite the known health benefits, in some instances, garlic remains listed as a food to avoid to prevent acid reflux, as are other foods used to create spicy, highly seasoned dishes. These types of foods aggravate the condition rather than help it.