Is It OK to Have Caffeine If You Have GERD?

Posted by on 1/10/18 10:45 AM

Hands holding a cup of cappuccino

For some people, it’s hard to imagine getting through the day without their morning cup of coffee.

At the same time, it’s hard to deny the downside of caffeine: it can make us jittery and restless, and downright sick if we drink too much of it.

And that’s for everyone, not just people with digestive issues. Throw a condition such as GERD into the mix, and there are new issues to contend with.

That’s why we’re using this blog post to ask…

Is it OK to have caffeine when you have GERD?

As we’ve discussed before, GERD – an acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease – is a chronic form of heartburn that, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems.

This condition can be aggravated by what you eat and drink. Some triggers include:

  • iStock-621899426_RT.jpgAlcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Garlic
  • Fatty or spicy foods
  • Onions
  • Peppermint or spearmint
  • Caffeinated beverages

Keep in mind that not every food affects everyone the same way. If you’re asking yourself “Is It Ok to Have Caffeine When You Have GERD?” we’d suggest limiting your coffee and tea consumption to see if your symptoms get better.

What does caffeine do to people with GERD?

Caffeine could trigger GERD symptoms because it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. That doesn’t mean the answer to the question we posed above (“Is It Ok to Have Caffeine When You Have GERD?”) is a flat-out “No.”

According to findings published in the journal Gastroenterology and Hepatology in 2009, there are no large, well-designed studies showing that cutting coffee from your diet alleviates GERD symptoms.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be careful when it comes to caffeine.

Coffee and GERD

people toasting with four cups of coffeeThe amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can depend on the type of roast you choose. Typically, the lighter the roast, the more caffeine you’re consuming:

  • Regular black coffee – 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine
  • Instant coffee – 63 milligrams
  • Lattes – 63 to 126 milligrams
  • Decaf – No more than five milligrams

If caffeine is exacerbating your GERD symptoms, you may want to go with a darker roast, although some people find darker roasts have more acidity and make their symptoms worse.

If you still crave coffee but worry about how it will affect your GERD symptoms, consider switching to cold brew, which has less caffeine.

Tea and GERD

Cup of Green TeaJust as with coffee, the amount of caffeine found in a cup of tea can depend on the type of tea you choose to drink. The more processed the tea, the more caffeine:

  • Black tea – 25 to 48 milligrams of caffeine
  • Decaffeinated black tea – No more than five milligrams
  • Green tea – 25 to 29 milligrams
  • Bottled, store bought tea – Five to 40 milligrams

Preparation can also be a factor. The longer you let tea steep, the more caffeine you’ll be drinking. And while you may want to drink herbal teas instead of black tea, remember what we said earlier: Herbs like spearmint and peppermint can trigger heartburn symptoms in some people.

If you’re worried this leaves you without options, don’t fret. We’ve put together this list of teas known to help people with digestive issues. Yes, peppermint is on the list, but you should find some other teas that can help soothe your stomach.

And if you’re looking for other ways to combat GERD, Proper Nutrition can help. Our dietary supplements include bioactive peptides that have been shown to improve your gut integrity. Visit our website to find a product that works for you.

Find a Supplement for Better Digestive Health

Topics: Is it OK to have caffeine if you have GERD

Written by Proper Nutrition

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