Can Bananas Cause Heartburn?

Sliced bananas in bowl.
Sliced bananas in bowl. (Image: Taiftin/iStock/Getty Images)

People who suffer from heartburn are often encouraged to limit their intake of chocolate, coffee, alcohol and other "trigger" foods. Unfortunately, green bananas -- which are high in resistant starch -- may also exacerbate symptoms of heartburn. Yellow bananas do not contain significant amounts of resistant starch and generally do not trigger heartburn.

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Heartburn Basics

According to the American Gastroenterological Association, heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus. While heartburn may be caused by various factors, a weak lower esophageal sphincter is often to blame. Those who suffer from heartburn are often encouraged to make dietary changes -- including restricting the intake of certain foods and limiting portion sizes.

Bananas and Heartburn

Resistant starch -- a type of indigestible carbohydrate that promotes gut fermentation -- is found in high amounts in unripe, green bananas. The Digestive Health Institute notes that foods rich in resistant starch, such as green bananas, may contribute to acid reflux, which in turn causes heartburn. It is important to note, however, that there have been no peer-reviewed studies linking resistant starch to increases in heartburn.


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