Coffee is the most loved drink all over the world. The drink is attached to a social aspect of being productive and lively. No matter what the occasion is, people tend to indulge in a rich cup of joe to enjoy the moment.
Many people tend to skip their breakfast in a rush and opt for a cup of tea or coffee for going throughout the day. Along with a natural boost, coffee is believed to offer amazing health benefits for people regularly consuming it.
As acid reflux is one of the most unpleasing side effects of the beverage, have you wondered whether the drink is exaggerating your heartburn or not?
Short answer: Coffee may give you heartburn as a symptom of GERD. This is a common side effect of large doses of caffeine.
To get a detailed review, continue your reading through the following sections.
Why Would Coffee Give You Heartburn?
Coffee may give you heartburn when you’re consuming caffeine beyond healthy doses.
Remember that this is the limit that one shouldn’t cross but since tolerance among individuals differs, many might experience side effects beyond 100-200 milligrams.
Heartburn is a commonly reported after-effect of gastrointestinal symptoms after drinking coffee. Many studies have considered the acidity of coffee beans to be the main factor behind the condition. However, other researches have shown that something else in the coffee contributes to the factor.
Coffee is made of complex molecules including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, N-alkanoyl, hydroxytryptamine, etc. None of these irritate your stomach individually. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the compounds may prevent inflammation and acid production.
It’s the unique blend of the chemical constituents that trigger a signal for stomach cells to start producing acid, leading to gastric acid section.
Thus drinking coffee in large doses, the muscles that connect the stomach to the esophagus get relaxed and creates an opening for the stomach to release acid. This causes acid reflux and heartburn for the consumer.
What Are The Symptoms Of Coffee Heartburn?
Coffee Heartburn itself is the symptom of Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
GERD is a condition in which the stomach acids or acid-containing substances go up to the esophagus, giving you a sour taste.
Some of the major triggers for GERD are alcohol, caffeinated products such as coffee or tea, fatty foods, peppermint, spicy foods, chocolates, etc.
To what extent caffeine can cause heartburn due to GERD will depend on the person’s tolerance, the roasting style of the beans, the brewing method, and underlying health conditions.
As similar to GERD, the common signs of coffee heartburn includes an uneasy feeling inside the chest, a formation of a lump in the throat, and an unpleasing gas-like sensation inside the throat.
Does Decaf Coffee Cause Heartburn?
For people suffering from the symptoms of GERD, decaf coffee can be a healthier option as it doesn’t cause heartburn.
Decaf coffee generally contains a significantly lower amount of caffeine compared to regular ones. The one that goes through a mountain water process is best for low acidity.
Caffeine work as the main stimulant to trigger the acid reflux in your body so the diminished quantity of caffeine may not be able to aggravate the symptoms in the decaf coffee.
Moreover, this study on the Effect of decaffeination of coffee or tea on gastro-oesophageal reflux showed that the increase in GERD reflux is less pronounced in the case of decaffeinated coffee. However, caffeine may not be the sole reason behind the reflux. Other components of coffee contribute to the condition as well.
Is There A Coffee That Doesn’t Cause Heartburn?
Simply put, coffee with low caffeine content doesn’t cause heartburn or trigger any related symptoms.
While choosing your coffee, go for:
- Low acidic coffee
- Use acid reducers in the drink
- Dark roast beans
- Cold-brewed coffee
- Double fermented coffee
- Put a bit of salt in your coffee
Some people may well metabolize normal varieties of coffee without showing any discomfort. But the same coffee may not work well for others. So it might be important for people to choose their regular cup of joe after a trial.
Moreover, the caffeine content may not be the main issue always. There’re several bioactive compounds present in coffee. The unique blend of all the components makes the functionality of coffee. Along with caffeine, the other compounds may also alter the digestive juices in the stomach and cause heartburn.
Is Cofee Good or Bad For Acid Reflux?
For large doses of caffeine, coffee is a common trigger for heartburn and acid reflux.
Usually, any intake beyond the recommended 400 milligrams of caffeine may lead to acid reflux. People who are hypersensitive to caffeine react to even a small dose. For such people, a quantity less than 400 mg can cause acid reflux or other caffeine-related symptoms.
Acid reflux is a common condition that occurs when the muscle connecting the stomach and esophagus is relaxed. While ingesting caffeine, the stimulants relax the lining between the stomach and esophagus and the stomach acid comes up to your esophagus giving the unpleasing burning sensation.
Moderate consumption generally doesn’t lead to such conditions. When you stimulate your nervous system by caffeine overdose, then the burning sensation in your chest may hit you along with other effects such as chest pain, regurgitation of food, or even chronic cough.
What Should I Do To Relieve Coffee Heartburn?
People with sensitive stomachs should choose their diet wisely to prevent any unwanted sensation like heartburn or acid reflux.
I’d like to suggest here some ways in which you can avoid the discomfort caused by drinking your favorite cup of joe:
- First, of all, avoid brewing methods like espresso that don’t require the use of cellulose filters. You may know that these cellulose filters are useful in catching oil droplets that lead to stomach irritation or inflammation. Skipping cellulose filters may add irritants to your drink.
- Have cold-brewed coffee varieties since these are reportedly considered to reduce stomach irritation.
- Consume coffee beans that have undergone a steam treatment prior to roasting. This becomes stomach-friendly as the wax layer is eliminated. Steam Treatment also helps in maintaining a good texture and quality of the beans.
To avoid gastroesophageal reflux and heartburn, doctors generally recommend avoiding caffeine. The above steps may help you in minimizing the effect of the GERD but still, the caffeine can irritate your respiratory and digestive symptoms along with heartburn.
What Drink Is Good For Coffee Heartburn?
If you think you’re suffering from acid reflux or heartburn from coffee consumption, the following beverages may help you with the condition:
- Cold milk
- Pineapple juice
- Herbal tea
- Coconut water
- Plant-based milk
These beverages help in providing instant relief from the burning sensation during heartburn and prevent further build-up of the acids.
Also, the nutrients in these drinks help in soothing the stomach by coating the stomach lining and reducing the inflammation and acid reflux symptoms.
Does Coffee Cause Heartburn During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the female body is bestowed with a whole slew of hormones that are facilitating the growth of the new baby.
In this situation, the valve between the stomach and esophagus is often relaxed by progesterone that helps the stomach acid to escape up into the esophagus.
As a result, a burning sensation is often felt by pregnant women. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee or green or black tea exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn in pregnant women. Moreover, coffee is a well-known trigger for heartburn so drinking coffee during pregnancy will cause heartburn to be more severe.
However, the main reason for curbing coffee is that it may disrupt the growing physiological development of the mother and the child. So it’s better to avoid coffee for the pregnancy period.
The body is already sensitive during this phase and the extra boost will not only give unwanted heartburn and reflux but also cause unrelaxing fatigue afterward.
Is Tea A Better Option?
Tea similarly contributes to GERD or heartburn as coffee. Caffeine is present in tea as well so the overall functionality depends on how the caffeine binds with other components in tea and the final product that is obtained for consumption.
Let’s have a look at the caffeine quantity of some popular tea:
|Type||Serving||Caffeine content (on average)|
|Black Tea||8 ounce||25-50 mg|
|Green Tea||8 ounce||25-29 mg|
|Decaffeinated Black Tea||8 ounce||2-5 mg|
|Jasmine Tea||8 ounce||15-60 mg|
|Bottled Store-Bought Tea||8 ounce||5-40 mg|
Generally, the more processed the tea is, the more caffeine it contains. The longer the tea is steeped, the more will be caffeine content as well.
Similarly to coffee, it can be difficult to determine whether the acid reflux or heartburn is due to caffeine in the tea. While black caffeinated tea may show less association to the condition, there’re certain varieties of tea such as herbal teas which may contribute to GERD symptoms.
Even if the herbal tea is noncaffeinated, certain herbs such as peppermint and spearmint have the potential to aggravate heartburn symptoms. So, tea isn’t the direct healthier alternative to coffee in this regard.
Both the drinks have a fair share of health benefits and side effects considering their nutritional content.
The important thing here to follow is a moderate quantity of drinks to consume.
Before choosing a drink try to check out the labels for ingredients and nutritional breakdown. If any of the content goes beyond recommended quantity and can worsen your symptoms, kindly skip it.
I made an article with an in-depth comparison between coffee and tea, you can read it if you’re interested.
In short, coffee does give you heartburn. This happens when you’re consuming caffeine too much on regular basis and not getting proper nutrients from the other meals.
Without more detailed evidence, it is tough to jury whether you should completely cut your coffee consumption or not. The effects of coffee or other caffeinated drinks on GERD or heartburn depend on the persons’ tolerance to some extent. It’s best to talk to a gastroenterologist for better suggestions.
Some of the important tips for avoiding the displeasing effects of coffee heartburn would be:
- Choosing a drink with low caffeine content
- Weight Loss
- Having balanced and proper meals
If you are having heartburn quite often due to coffee, you may also need over-the-counter supplements to maintain your condition.