Low Acid Green Salsa

When you’re struggling with acid reflux (a.k.a. heart burn), it can be frustrating to figure out what you can eat. Your body will quickly inform you what you cannot eat, but avoiding common trigger foods, like tomatoes and tomato products, can feel a bit isolating. Escaping these ingredients may feel challenging when attempting to navigate a menu for Mexican or Italian food. With cinco de mayo just around the corner, you might be wondering if you’ll ever be able to eat chips & salsa again. This low acid green salsa recipe was created with you in mind so you can still enjoy some Mexican food without the burn!

The pH scale (0-14) is a measurement of the acidic or alkaline levels in various substances. A pH level of 7 is neutral. Anything less than 7 is considered acidic, with 0 being the most acidic. A pH level greater than 7 is more basic or alkaline, with level 14 being the most alkaline. In regards to foods & drinks, water is considered neutral, while vinegar or citrus juice is incredibly acidic with levels on the pH scale close to 2.

Most foods are technically considered acidic on the pH scale (<7 pH), but foods with a pH level greater than 4.6-5 are considered less acidic and are better tolerated to reduce heart burn. While this recipe includes some acidic ingredients, the pH level balances out when combined with the less acidic foods.

Foods in Green SalsapH Level
Avocado6.27-6.58
Black Beans5.78-6.02
Celery5.70-6.00
Corn5.90-7.50
Cucumber5.12-5.78
Lime Juice2.00-2.35
Pineapple Juice3.20-4.00
pH level of ingredients from Clemson.edu

You might notice that garlic and onions are missing from the ingredient list. These highly fermentable foods often worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)*, and onions have been found to cause heartburn and belching in individuals who already suffer from acid reflux. I recommend using an onion and/or shallot infused oil instead. You can make your own oil at home, or purchase an infused oil to use instead.

*(It should be noted that if your acid reflux is caused by IBS, this recipe might still aggravate your symptoms. Avocados are high in sorbitol and black beans have high amounts of fructans and galactans. Check out this Low FODMAP red salsa instead!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 can of low-sodium black beans (= 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 can of low-sodium corn or 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp garlic & shallot infused olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste

Makes about 7 1/2 cups total

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry all produce.
  2. Peel the cucumber, then dice into small pieces, removing the seeds.
  3. Dice the celery and avocado into small pieces.
    • Check out this video of how to cut and dice an avocado.
  4. Rinse the canned beans and corn. If using the frozen corn, heat in the microwave according to instructions, then chill in the fridge.
  5. Finely chop the cilantro. (Demonstration here).
  6. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Add pineapple juice.
  7. Cut the limes in halves or quarters, and juice the limes into the bowl. Start by juicing only 1 lime into the bowl. Taste and determine if this level of acid is enough for you, or add the second lime if you can tolerate more. (You can always add more, but taking away what you’ve already added to a dish might not work!).
  8. Season with cumin, then salt to taste. Stir everything together until well combined. Serve & enjoy!
NutrientAmount per 1/2 cup serving
Calories60
Total Fat3 grams
Protein2 grams
Carbohdyrates7 grams (net carbs = 5 grams)
Fiber2 grams

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