Coffee – some just can’t live without it, but some avid coffee drinkers also experience heartburn. Coffee has many positive side effects that help coffee drinkers make it throughout the day. It provides the stamina that many of us need. But there are also some downfalls of drinking coffee, especially too much… is heartburn one of these?
Caffeine, the major component of many varieties of coffee and tea, is a possible trigger for heartburn. Caffeine can cause GERD symptoms because it relaxes your LES.
It’s hard to pinpoint whether or not your coffee is causing heartburn or if it’s something else- maybe the bagel you ate along with your coffee? Or maybe it’s a lingering effect from last night’s lasagna? But if your instincts are telling you that it’s the coffee, you’re probably right. Read on for everything you need to know about how coffee causes heartburn and how to avoid it.
Can Coffee Cause Heartburn Hours Later?
Coffee can cause heartburn, even hours after drinking it. This can last up to a few hours, but usually no longer than that. If you are feeling heartburn at the end of the day after drinking the coffee earlier that morning, then you may need to contact your care provider.
If you took medicine after getting heartburn with your coffee, it should go away. If the heartburn remains, then you may have to remove coffee from your diet, switch your coffee, or get decaffeinated.
If you have anxiety, drinking coffee can increase that anxiety. Anxiety can also increase your production of stomach acid and enhance the symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.
Can Coffee Cause Acid Reflux?
Some people believe that heartburn and acid reflux are the same things, but they aren’t. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn is some discomfort or burning, while acid reflux will have heartburn as well as acid in your mouth and throat combined with burping and/or nausea.
Just like coffee can cause heartburn, it can cause acid reflux. The caffeine causes the flap in your throat to relax, which allows acid to come up. That’s why you may have the taste of acid after drinking coffee.
Plus, caffeine can increase the production of stomach acid. This may cause an upset stomach, nausea, and other symptoms that come with acid reflux.
Can Coffee Cause Indigestion?
Some people use indigestion and heartburn interchangeably, but they are different. Indigestion can have a symptom of heartburn, but it often refers to an upset stomach or stomach ache. It deals mainly with digestive problems.
Because caffeine causes increased production of acid in your stomach, it can cause your stomach to hurt. This is especially so if you don’t have anything in your belly.
Drinking your coffee too fast or taking in too much air can cause your indigestion to flare up as well. Caffeine isn’t the only reason coffee may cause indigestion.
How to Prevent Heartburn From Coffee?
There are many ways you can prevent heartburn from your coffee so you can still have your favorite drink and not worry about the negative effects. These preventive methods are as follows:
- Moderate your caffeine intake
- Consume shade-grown coffee
- Drink decaffeinated coffee
- Drink Arabica coffee
- Consume steam-treated coffee
- Choose cold-brewed coffee
- Choose dark roasted coffee
- Avoid other causes of heartburn
These can all help you with managing your heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux.
Moderate Your Caffeine Intake
Make sure you are not drinking too much caffeine in one sitting. This means you may have to spread your coffee intake throughout the day instead of drinking several cups in the morning before your workday.
It is more beneficial too to spread your coffee intake throughout the day. This is especially the case if you want to use coffee to keep you up. Drinking more caffeine in one sitting doesn’t mean it will make you feel “awake” longer. Spacing out those cups of coffee throughout the day will give you the results you want.
Consume Shade-Grown Coffee
If you have never heard of “shade-grown” coffee, you aren’t the first. Not many people realize that sun-grown coffee is different from shade-grown coffee. This means that the coffee is grown in the shade rather than the sun.
Shade-grown coffee is more difficult to grow and is more expensive. But it is also softer on the stomach and reduces the amount of stomach acid production. The sun-grown coffee is more bitter and harder on your stomach.
Drink Decaffeinated Coffee
If you find that caffeine often causes heartburn, acid reflux, or indigestion, then you may need to switch to decaf coffee. This will reduce the likelihood of you having these negative side effects, but it is not always a sure thing.
Some studies have shown that even decaf coffee may not help with these negative side effects. It depends on the person, but it is worth a try. Other chemicals in coffee have been known to cause heartburn as well.
Drink Arabica Coffee
Arabica coffee has less caffeine than other coffees. Caffeine is one of the main triggers of acid production and so drinking this type of coffee can help reduce the risk of heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion. You can also still get your caffeine fix without having to completely switch to decaf coffee.
Consume Steam Treated Coffee
Roasted coffee beans that have been treated with steam will less likely have irritants that will bother your stomach. The steam removes the wax on the beans that hold irritants that can increase the risk of heartburn.
There is a downfall to steamed treated coffee. The quality and the taste of the coffee aren’t as great as those that aren’t steamed treated. But this may be different to you depending on how specific your taste buds are when it comes to coffee.
Choose Cold-Brewed Coffee
Many coffee drinkers have said that they find cold-brewed coffee less disruptive on their stomach than warm drinks. There haven’t been any studies to confirm this to be true just yet, but quite a few people have agreed with this.
There has been research that suggests hot drinks can cause heartburn. This may be the reason cold-brewed coffee is less likely to cause heartburn than regular hot coffee.
Choose Dark Roasted Coffee
Dark roasted coffees are less acidic than lighter roasts. So choosing a dark roast may be the better choice for anyone whose stomach gets upset with regular coffee. It also contains less caffeine which may contribute to the risk of heartburn.
Avoid Other Causes of Heartburn
If you aren’t sure if coffee is causing heartburn, you can always see other reasons. Coffee may not be the only contributing factor. There are other dietary causes as well as physical causes.
Some many foods and drinks can cause heartburn besides coffee. Alcohol, tobacco, and acidic foods can increase acid production in your stomach. Acidic foods include citrus foods, tomato-based foods, and fatty or greasy foods. All of these can cause heartburn.
There are also many causes physically that can cause acid to leak out of your esophagus and cause heartburn. Here are some of those:
- Tight clothing
- Working out right after a meal
- Eating too fast
- Eating too large of a meal
- Bending over or lying down after a meal.
Tight clothes may be a surprise to you, but wearing something that is too snug can crowd your organs and cause acid to regurgitate up your esophagus.
Working out or moving around too much after a meal can disturb the contents in your stomach, which causes the acid to come back up. This also occurs if you bend over too much or lie down right after a meal as well.
If you are constantly snacking, this can allow acid to escape through the flap in your esophagus. If this happens to you, you can pause or put more time between your snacks to reduce heartburn.
Eating too fast or eating too large of a meal also can cause heartburn. If you ate too fast, the sphincter in your esophagus wouldn’t have time to shut, which allows acid through. Eating too much can cause acid to be pushed up the esophagus as well.
If you don’t think coffee is the reason for your heartburn, see if any of these could be the reason. But if you have tried removing coffee and any of these possible causes, then you may want to talk to your primary care provider to see if you have GERD or another issue that may be the problem.
Ways to Getting Rid Of Heartburn
The best way to fight heartburn is to prevent it, but there are some ways to help you if you already chugged down that cup of joe and enjoyed its wonderful taste. Here are your options:
- Position yourself
- Chew gum
- Change your clothes
- Try baking soda
- Eat ginger
Medication is a quick way to get rid of heartburn. If you are trying to get rid of these negative side effects quickly, try tums or an Alka seltzer. For longer-acting medication, you can use Pepcid. Sometimes taking allergy medication like Zyrtec or Benadryl can help with acid reflux as well.
There are other medications, but these are mainly used for long-term use and can have some severe side effects in the long run. These should only be discussed with your doctor.
Sometimes positioning yourself differently can help you with heartburn. If you have been lying down or hunched over your desk after your morning coffee, elevate your upper body. If the sitting position isn’t working for you, try to stand up. Gravity can help with acid reflux.
Chewing gum helps dilute the acid in your stomach. If you only have coffee in your stomach, that content can have an acidic pH. Chewing gum will allow your saliva to dilute the acidity in your stomach.
Change Your Clothes
This goes along with the preventive method, but you may have worn tighter clothing, not thinking you would be getting heartburn. If you are wearing pants that are too tight, change into some looser-fitted clothing.
Try Baking Soda
Baking soda has the opposite pH of acid. It is considered a base. Because of this, it can counteract stomach acid and reduce the effects of heartburn. This is a great natural means of reducing your heartburn, and it usually works quickly.
Ginger is a natural way to reduce heartburn. Many women use ginger while pregnant, and with its popularity increasing as a natural way to help with indigestion and acid reflux, it is more readily available.
You can find ginger paste or ginger root in the produce aisle of your local grocery store, or you can buy ginger candies, tea, sprite, or ginger ale. These are all great ways to help with this. Just be careful when drinking sprite or ginger ale that if there is too much sugar, it can be counterintuitive.
Coffee can cause heartburn, but there are many ways to prevent this. You can try alternative forms of coffees, see if there are other causes, or use palliative methods to counteract heartburn. With all the options today, you have many choices so that you don’t have to give up your cup of coffee in the morning.