Know Your Edible Acids:
Which Are Good
And Which Aren't

What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'acid' with respect to food items? You automatically think of foods that lead to ‘acidity’. But that co-relation doesn’t always hold true! Read on to know more.

Science reveals that there is 'hydrochloric acid'1 in gastric juice and so our physiological systems do have the ability to digest acid-containing foods including fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, apples, and peaches.

There are two types of acids found in food items.

Wholesome food acids

Unwholesome food acids

Here is what you need to know about these edible acids and their contribution to acidity:

Wholesome Food Acids

These naturally occurring wholesome food acids are beneficial for your health in moderate quantities and are the reason behind the tangy flavour that you can taste in many food items. These do not cause acidity when consumed in moderate quantity. The acids that fall in this category are:

Citric Acid

Sources: Lemon, Lime, Oranges, Grapefruits

Citric acid is naturally concentrated in citrus fruits with lemons being the richest source of this acid containing 1.44 g/oz of extracted juice.3 It helps to increase metabolism and is also known to be beneficial for kidney and bone health. However, foods containing high concentration of citric acid may hamper your acidity cure if you are already suffering from acid reflux or heartburn.4

Tartaric Acid

Sources: Grapes, Pineapples, Potatoes, Carrots and Chives

Tartaric acid is extremely useful in improvement of intestinal absorption in the body. It is also known to have antibacterial and antitumor effects on the body and should be included as a part of a healthy diet.7

Unwholesome Food Acids

Consumption of unwholesome food acids through natural food sources may cause acidity. The process of elimination of these unwholesome food acids may cause acidity and irritation in the organs involved.2 The acids falling in this category are:

Oxalic Acid

Sources: Rhubarb, Spinach, Tea, Cocoa, Sorrel, Pepper

Oxalic acid puts a burden on your kidneys for its neutralisation. The body requires small amounts of oxalic acid for its metabolic function, which it can derive from ascorbic acid or Vitamin C too. However, too much of oxalic acid can lead to an increased risk of kidney stones.8

Tannic Acid

Sources: Tea, Coffee, Cocoa

Tea or coffee can evoke high gastric response due to its local chemical action on the gastric mucosa (membrane layer of the stomach). The addition of milk and sugar reduces the gastric acid stimulation to some extent but does not stop it altogether. Higher quantities of tannic acid are one of the acidity causes.9

Benzoic Acid

Sources: Cranberries, prunes, plums

The use of benzoic acid has been linked to conditions such as urticaria and asthma and hence moderation is advised when consuming canned foods where benzoic acid is often used as a preservative.10

If you suffer from acidity on a regular basis then it is advisable to keep track of what you are eating and the kind of impact they have on your body, to keep acidity at bay.



1 The Influence of Food, Beverages and NSAIDs on Gastric Acid Secretion and Mucosal Integrity
Read More »

2,3 Quantitative Assessment of Citric Acid in Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Commercially-Available Fruit Juice ProductsRead More »

4 Dietary guideline adherence for gastroesophageal reflux diseaseRead More »

5 Influence of Apple Cultivars on Inactivation of Different Strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Apple Cider by UV Irradiation
Read More »

6 Maleic Acid in FoodRead More »

7 Improvement of intestinal absorption of P-glycoprotein substrate by D-tartaric acid.Read More »

8 Internal medicineRead More »

Effect of tea on gastric acid secretion.Read More »

10 An Optical Test Strip for the Detection of Benzoic Acid in Food
Read More »

Author: Ruchi Rajan

How To Shift Acidity
Into Neutral

Powders are easy to carry and administer, so long
as water is accessible, and they start acting
quickly to relieve acidity symptoms.

Liquids tend to act more quickly on an acidity
problem than tablets and are often the preferred
form for children, but can be difficult to
carry around when you’re on the go.

Tablets are easy to carry, but tend to act more
slowly than either liquids or powders to relieve
acidity symptoms.