Tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They can be found in many dishes, from pasta and pizza to burgers, salads, and even drinks. In fact, they were even classified as a vegetable by the US Supreme Court, thanks to their many culinary applications.
While their classification is somewhat controversial (botanists insist they are a fruit), their acidity is not. Whether we eat them raw in sandwiches and salads or cooked in sauces and soups, they stay on the acidic side of the pH scale.
On the flip side, they are rich in fiber, a nutrient that soaks up excess acid in the stomach, so consuming them in moderation can be beneficial for digestion.
Let’s see the pH values for different tomato varieties and products and discuss some ways you can make them less acidic.
Tomatoes have a pH value of 4.3 — 4.9, so they fall on the acidic side on the pH scale. This scale ranges from 0 to 14 and classifies foods into three categories: acidic, neutral, and alkaline.
Acidic foods are foods with a pH value from 0 to 6. Mangoes, for instance, have a pH of 5.8 to 6, so they are considered acidic, like tomatoes. Seven is considered neutral, like popcorn and water. Anything above seven is alkaline, like most meat, seafood, and green veggies.
There are more than 19,000 varieties worldwide. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, from small cherry ones to giant beefsteak varieties.
The most common varieties have a similar pH range, so it doesn’t make a huge difference which one you choose.
|Tomatoes Type||pH Value|
Tomatoes are acidic in nature due to the presence of four weak organic acids: folic, citric, ascorbic, and malic acids.
The acidity of these fruits is inversely related to their maturity. A ripe specimen has a greater pH value, whereas an unripe one has a lower pH value.
When they are unripe, malic acid makes up the majority of the acids present, and as they ripen, citric acid becomes more prevalent. Because unripe ones contain greater quantities of acids, they should be avoided, especially when you’re experiencing heartburn symptoms.
While the pH of these fruits is not as low as, say, strawberries (pH of 3 — 3.5), they can still increase stomach acid production, resulting in acid reflux and potentially GERD.
Acid reflux happens when the stomach contents rise and enter the esophagus. It is described as a burning sensation in the chest, also known as heartburn, followed by regurgitation and an acidic taste in the back of the mouth. If it occurs frequently, it develops into a chronic condition called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
The malic and citric acid found in tomatoes may trigger GERD, especially in patients more sensitive to acids. Even if you don’t often experience heartburn, it’s best to eat them in moderate amounts.
Yes, tomato products may cause symptoms of acid reflux and GERD due to additives.
The four most prevalent tomato products are canned tomatoes, puree, juice, and soup.
The acidity of these products changes depending on the additives they contain and the cooking methods employed. The pH level of tomato soup is the least acidic, ranging from 4.62 to 5.50.
Puree and tomato juice have similar pH levels ranging from 4.1 to 4.6. Canned tomatoes are the most acidic, with a pH of around 3.5.
There are a couple of ways to make them less acidic, such as removing their seeds or consuming them with alkaline foods.
If you don’t want to eliminate these delicious fruits from your diet, here are a few hacks to lower their acidity:
- Baking soda — the best method for reducing acidity is to balance it out with an alkaline substance like baking soda. This trick works well if you want to make tomato-based sauces and soups. If you’re using six tomatoes to make a sauce, add around ¼ tbsp of baking soda to balance the acidity levels;
- Remove the seeds — their seeds contain the highest amount of acids, so removing them reduces the overall acidity of the fruit;
- Don’t overcook them — the longer you cook them, the lower the pH value;
- Pair them with alkaline foods — you can pair them with alkaline foods like spinach, onions, and carrots to make delicious salads.
Tomatoes have a pH range of 4.3 to 4.9. Their acidity can change depending on how ripe they are and how they’re cooked.
Tomato products such as soups and purees are more acidic due to additives that prolong their shelf lives.
You can reduce the acidity of these fruits by pairing them with alkaline foods, reducing the cooking time, or removing the seeds.