Does Coffee Cause Acid Reflux? (Answered)

Caffeine is found in many beverages, it has been identified as a cause of heartburn in some people and it can also trigger GERD because caffeine can relax the LES.

Caffeinated foods and beverages have the potential to increase the acidity of gastric secretion. Caffeine can decrease the pressure of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) which will cause its malfunction. Damaged LES is the main cause of GERD and caffeine can lower the LES which can trigger GERD.

LES opens to allow the foods and liquids to pass in the stomach and then closes to block the esophagus and stomach acid. If LES is damaged or becomes weak, it will not close properly; thereby allowing the stomach acids to wash back to the esophagus, which will cause injury to its lining resulting in heartburns, a sore throat, and/or chest pain.

To know more, keep reading.

Can I drink coffee if I have acid reflux?

Caffeinated beverages have been identified as a cause of acid reflux. It occurs because caffeine decreases the pressure of LES, which causes it to perform badly, and that results in acid reflux.

Nonetheless, it completely depends on the person’s sensitivity to caffeine. There are people who consume caffeine throughout the day but never experience any acid reflux, and there are people who get acid reflux by even the smallest consumption of caffeine, so it depends on the sensitivity to caffeine.

A glass of coconut water

If you are experiencing acid reflux, the best thing to do is reduce the consumption of your caffeine intake, never abruptly stop consuming as it can cause caffeine withdrawal syndrome. By reducing the caffeine intake, LES will gain back its strength, although gradually.

If you need quick relief from acid reflux, there are foods you can ingest.

  • Coconut water.

Coconut water is nature’s purest drink. It is high in carbohydrates and nutrients like potassium and magnesium which can help in balancing out acid reflux. Coconut water has a cooling effect, so it sure will give you quick relief from acid reflux.

  • Fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables and fruits are packed with fiber and fibers are very much needed in the human body. Eating less can cause acid reflux, so make sure to eat your vegetables and fruits.

  • Probiotics.

Bacteria that are gut-friendly improve digestion and avoid the risk of acid reflux, thus eating probiotics can give you relief from the reflux. However, drinking coffee with probiotics might mess things up. Read more about that here.

  • Low fat cold milk.

Low-fat milk is believed to have an instant relief effect from heartburns. Low fat has less fat than full-fat milk, which can trigger acid reflux.

  • Lemon ginger juice.

Many people drink lemon with ginger juice after a meal because it is considered to help in better digestion.

  • Apple cider vineger.

Apple cider vinegar is acidic, but if consumed with warm water, it can help in digestion; thus preventing acid reflux.

Does instant coffee cause acid reflux?

Yin and yang coffee

If it comes to what types of coffee cause the most amount of acid reflux, it would be instant coffee. It contains a high level of acidity which causes acid reflux.

High-quality coffees are much less acidic; therefore stick to the higher grade of coffee. The longer the beans are roasted, the less acidity they contain.

Caffeine is the cause of acid reflux because it messes up the LES. People suffer from acid reflux from time to time, it can’t be completely avoided if there is the consumption of caffeine, nonetheless, it can be treated immediately by ingesting the foods I have listed above.

Why is coffee giving me reflux?

Most coffees are acidic, for some people coffee can cause reflux. Caffeine sensitivity is an individual thing, but high caffeine can be bad for Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), caffeine messes up its pressure which leads to acid reflux.

The acidity level varies with the brand and the type of coffee. Most lower grade coffees are high in acidity, it depends on how much time the beans were roasted for. The longer the beans are roasted, the less acidity. Instant coffee is quite high in acidity and espresso contains much less acidity.

If you are suffering from acid reflux and have a hard time quitting caffeine, you can switch to espresso or a nicer and quality coffee.

Coffee is not the only food that can cause acid reflux, foods with high pH can have an effect too. Here are some foods to avoid if you have an unusual amount of acid reflux.

FoodspH Level
Cabbage5.20-6.80
Beets5.30-6.60
Corn5.90-7.50
Mushrooms6.00-6.70
Broccoli6.30-6.85
Collard Greens6.50-7.50
Foods with high pH

How can I drink coffee and avoid acid reflux?

To avoid getting acid reflux when you’re having your coffee, try adding a pinch of salt into your drink. It has been said that salt reduces the chances of getting acid reflux from coffee. You can also opt for a darker roast of coffee beans if you don’t want to add salt.

Coffee contains organic acid which gives the tangy taste that most coffee consumers love. Although it gives a nice taste, it can cause acid reflux, not to all people, but to some who are sensitive to high caffeine.

All ages drink coffee now and have developed a dependency to the point that when their daily caffeine quantity is unmet, the body starts to act up which can lead to headaches or migraines.

Coffee, coffee grounds, and coffee beans

If you want to keep drinking coffee and at the same time want to avoid acid reflux, here are some things you can do.

  • Dark roasted beans – Dark roasted beans are less acidic because these beans are roasted for a longer time which lessens the acidity levels.
  • Low elevation coffee – Coffee cherries that are grown at low elevations tend to have less acid. Consuming such coffees can help in preventing acid reflux.
  • Cold brew – For cold brew, cold water is used to extract flavors from the beans which neutralize the acid. So switch to cold brew at least for some time, so that your Lower Esophageal Sphincter can gain back its pressure.
  • A pinch of salt – Salt is mostly used to decrease the bitterness in the coffee, but it can neutralize the acidic level which will cause less acid reflux.

Watch this video, this is a great way of decreasing acid reflux.

To conclude

Coffee carries a huge amount of caffeine and caffeine in many cases has been considered to have negative effects on the human body. One of them is that it can cause acid reflux, caffeine reduces the pressure of LES which is supposed to block the acids from entering into the stomach. As caffeine decreases the pressure of LES, it gets weaker and can’t close completely, which leads to acid reflux.

Many people are sensitive to high caffeine; thus it causes them to have acid reflux. If you are experiencing this, you should reduce your intake of caffeine.

If you are getting acid reflux more than usual and it is becoming uncomfortable, you can consume coconut water, low-fat cold milk, smoothies, probiotics, lemon with ginger juice, and/or apple cider vinegar with warm water.

Instant and many other coffees which are not roasted for a long period of time have much more acidity than the ones which are roasted for a long time. The acidity also depends on the coffee brand and type, espresso and cold brew are much less acidic.

Coffee is a huge part of our lives and honestly, we need it to perform better. I understand, if you want to keep drinking coffee and don’t want acid reflux, you can drink dark roasted coffee, low elevation grown coffee, cold brew, or just add a pinch of salt.

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Marty Spargo

Caffeine aficionado and coffee student (if there's such a thing!). I've come to love coffee in recent years and share what I learn along the way on this website.

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