5 Delicious Coffee Alternatives for GERD Sufferers
Most of us love kickstarting our days with a cup of coffee. But if you have GERD, you know what trouble it can bring you! Even if you take the tiniest sip of coffee, be prepared for the uncomfortable heartburn that will ruin your entire day! But don’t worry; you can just simply skip the coffee and try these delicious coffee Alternatives for GERD sufferers to start your day with equal energy and enthusiasm.
Instead of coffee, you can try gut-friendly alternatives like Rooibos tea, Yerba mate, Almond milk latte, or the other two options I have mentioned below.
These drinks will not only improve your GERD but will also give you the energy boost you need to get going! So without wasting more time, let’s check out the GERD-friendly coffee alternatives.
Why Does Coffee Cause Heartburn?
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Studies show that consuming too much caffeine can affect your esophageal function and result in decreased basal LES pressure. Now that your esophageal muscles have relaxed, it becomes easier for your stomach acids to flow back into your esophageal tube.
This acid reflux irritates the inner lining of the tube, giving you the uncomfortable burning sensation that we call heartburn.
Five Delicious Alternatives For GERD Sufferers
#1 Matcha Tea:
Matcha tea is a powdered form of high-quality green tea that is rich with antioxidants and has quite a high amount of caffeine. It is made from the tea plant Camellia sinensis, which is cultivated differently than usual green tea.
Matcha tea is good for reducing inflammation and can help maintain healthy arteries. In short, it has a lot of other health benefits, along with being a good source of caffeine.
But in spite of being a good source of caffeine, matcha tea has really low acidity compared to other green or black teas. This is why it is not very problematic for GERD sufferers and usually does not cause heartburn.
Matcha can be used for making both hot and cold beverages. The traditional Japanese way of drinking matcha is by mixing it with hot water, but there are a lot of other variations now that you can try out.
You can make a matcha latte, matcha smoothies, shakes, and even cocktails. The options are endless. But I would recommend not using full-fat milk since it can be triggering for GERD sufferers.
#2 Rooibos Tea:
Rooibos tea, aka red tea or red bush tea, is a great alternative if you suffer from GERD. It is completely caffeine free, so it’s an even better option if you are trying to cut down on caffeine!
Made from the shrubs of Aspalathus linearis, this tea of South African origin has a naturally sweet and nutty taste, which is perfect for making delicious morning drinks. Traditionally it is made like black tea. But you can add your own touch and make iced tea, espressos, lattes, or cappuccinos.
Rooibos is full of antioxidants, so experts believe it works wonders for preventing cancer, heart disease, and strokes.
Besides low caffeine content, it also has very low oxalic acid content, which means lower chances of getting acid reflux!
Apart from saving you from those nasty heartburns, switching from coffee to rooibos can also help you stay healthy.
#3 Yerba Mate:
Now, if you’re like me and you CAN NOT do without caffeine, here’s another caffeinated alternative for you! Yerba mate or mate tea is a famous herbal tea that originated in South America.
It is made from the leaves and twigs of the plant named Ilex paraguariensis and is a good source of caffeine that is gut-friendly too!
The traditional way of making it is by pouring boiling hot water over roughly grounded leaves, and it has a slightly astringent bitter taste. So if you are an espresso lover, you would probably like it.
Not only caffeine, but it’s also packed with antioxidants and several other nutrients. So it works great at boosting energy levels. It was initially used as a weight loss drink, but as it got popular, researchers gradually found its other benefits.
Consuming yerba mate gives you the same amount of alertness that you get from coffee but minus the jittery side effects and acid flux!
#4 Almond Milk Latte:
It might happen that the acid reflux that you are feeling is happening due to dairy intake and not because of coffee. So, in that case, you can switch the dairy part and make an almond milk latte instead.
Almond milk is easier on the stomach, so it is really good, especially for those who are lactose intolerant or have a sensitive stomach.
It has a naturally sweet and creamy texture with a slightly nutty taste. So it will add ample flavor compared to regular milk. You can also pair it with match or rooibos if you firmly believe coffee is the source of your heartburn.
Compared to a regular latte, an almond milk latte has way less sugar and fat which means the calorie count is also lower. Therefore, it will also be helpful if you are planning to lose weight.
#5 Herbal Tea:
Herbal tea is a beverage that is a blend of different herbs and spices. A herbal tea is technically not tea since it is not derived from tree plants. Instead, it is a concoction of various herbs, fruits, barks, roots, and flowers.
Herbal tea has been around the corner for quite a long time with the name of Tisanes. But it is only recently that it has been gaining popularity because of its vibrant taste and loads of emotional and physical benefits.
There are different types of herbal tea that you can try out, such as Chamomile tea, Hibiscus tea, Peppermint tea, Ginger tea, etc.
All of these are traditionally served with hot water. But you can tweak it here and there and make your chilled or iced version.
How To Still Enjoy Coffee With GERD?
If you are still not willing to part ways with your cup of java, here are some tricks you can try. These methods will help you enjoy coffee even if you have GERD.
1. Try Low Acidic Coffee:
Next time when you buy coffee beans, look for the low-acidic ones. These coffee beans are either brewed or treated so that little-to-no acid is left in them. They have a very neutral pH of about 6. So they won’t exaggerate your acid reflux!
Disclaimer! Low-acidic coffee might not have the same level of aroma, so you might not get a similar sensory pleasure.
2. Go For A Darker Roast
Darker roast coffee beans are roasted slowly for a longer duration of time. It also acts as a treatment for reducing the acidity of the beans.
So if you already love a darker roast, you are already in luck! But if you like light to medium roast, try using a smaller amount of dark roast to get the light flavor.
3. Make Coffee Tamer Your Bestie
There is a powder that you can put in your brewed coffee named coffee tamer. It has components like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that are great with the acidity of your coffee and neutralize it.
Don’t worry; it won’t mess with the flavor of your coffee and has zero calories.
A weird and natural alternative to this would be eggshells. You can crush a couple of well-cleaned egg shells and make a powder of it. Mix them with the coffee grounds before brewing, and enjoy your acid-free coffee!
4. Cold Brew Will Do Less Damage
If you have the time and like having your coffee cold or iced, then you can go for the cold brew. The process of cold brewing helps a lot in neutralizing the acidity since the oils inside the beans never release.
Cold brew coffee can be 70% less acidic than traditional hot coffee.
5. Add A Pinch Of Salt
Many add a pinch of salt with the grounds to reduce the bitterness or make the flavor smoother, but not many know that it also helps in reducing the acidity of the brew.
To avoid salty flavor in your coffee, limit your salt from 1/16th to 1/8th of a teaspoon.
If you are diagnosed with GERD, it is better to avoid daily consumption of coffee. Apart from the acidity, the addictive caffeine content can also do more harm than good if you don’t know the right time to take it.
Besides, now you have five amazing other options, so go and try them out! But if you still crave coffee, try the tricks I mentioned here and see which one works best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can Decaf Coffee Cause Acidity?
Yes, it can. While there is a huge difference in caffeine content between regular and decaf coffee, the acidity level remains quite similar. In fact, based on the quality of the beans, decaf coffee can be more acidic than regular ones.
The acidity level of decaf coffee is anywhere between 5.0 to 5.1 on the pH scale. So, they definitely can worsen your acid reflux.
Q2: Can Tea Also Give Me Heartburn?
Like coffee, many believe that tea can also cause heartburn. However, there is no strong medical research to back this fact. But theoretically, one of tea’s components, named theophylline, can relax your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), leading to esophageal acid reflux.
So if you have GERD, it’s better to avoid tea or drink it in moderation.
Q3. What Are Some Ways To Avoid Heartburn From Coffee?
Some of the best ways to avoid coffee-related heartburn include drinking coffee that is less acidic, avoiding putting sugar and creamer in your coffee, drinking coffee in moderation, and switching to high-quality arabica coffee so that you can consume less and get the same caffeine kick.
Lastly, don’t pair coffee with spicy food, alcohol, fatty foods, or carbonated drinks. Since all of them alone can be big triggers to GERD.