Is Decaf Coffee Bad for Acid Reflux?

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If you want to have decaf coffee but you have acid reflux you might be wondering if decaffeinated (decaf) coffee is still bad for acid reflux.

Decaf coffee usually is less problematic when it comes to acid reflux when compared with normal coffee. Though decaf coffee can still be problematic for certain people with acid reflux.

Below we will go into this in more detail, so you have all the information.

Is Decaf Coffee Good or Bad for Acid Reflux?

Decaf coffee can be bad for acid reflux depending on the person. Though in comparison with regular coffee, decaf coffee is much less likely to irritate or cause acid reflux symptoms.

Of course, the important difference between the two is caffeine. Caffeine can cause or worsen acid reflux in a couple of important ways. Firstly, caffeine can increase production of acid in the stomach, when there is more acid this of course increases the chances of acid reflux.

The second important thing to note about caffeine is how it interacts with the valve above the stomach. This valve is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When you take caffeine this can make the LES relax or open when it shouldn’t. When that happens, it means more chance of acid reflux. This valve is meant to stay closed aside from when you are eating or drinking to keep any food, liquid and acid down and inside the stomach. So, when it opens when it shouldn’t this is an ideal time for acid to reflux up into the esophagus and throat where it causes acid reflux symptoms.

Studies have backed up this too. For example, this study compared decaf coffee on patients with GERD with regular coffee when eating a typical breakfast. Decaf coffee had significantly reduced acid reflux occurrence when compared with regular coffee. This study also showed that decaffeination of coffee significantly reduced GERD or acid reflux when compared with normal coffee.

If you have acid reflux whether it’s minor or severe it’s almost always best to opt for decaf coffee instead of regular coffee. Of course, if you notice it worsens symptoms when drinking even when it’s decaf then you may want to consider avoiding or moderating how much you drink. This is more likely the case for people with more severe acid reflux like GERD and LPR. Generally, it’s a good idea if you have acid reflux to limit its intake to 1-2 cups per day.

It’s also worth mentioning about the acidity of decaf coffee. You can expect decaf coffee to be around a 5 to 5.5 pH. While this is acidic it is not very acidic. Only people with more severe acid reflux like silent reflux or GERD may need to be aware of this but even for them it shouldn’t be a major issue.

Tips To Lower Chances of Acid Reflux When Drinking Coffee

If you have tried decaf coffee and noticed your acid reflux was worse there still are some things you can try to make the coffee easier on your stomach and less likely to cause acid reflux too. We will cover them below.

Use Alkaline Water to Make the Coffee

If you make your coffee with alkaline water instead of regular water it will make the coffee less acidic and therefore will decrease the chances of acid reflux thanks to it being more alkaline. Alkaline water with a pH of 8 or above would be the ideal choice here.

Brew with Ground Coffee Instead of Instant

It’s best to have decaf coffee that is made with ground coffee instead of instant coffee. The reason for this is because it’s more natural and less processed which usually makes it less acidic and easier on your stomach and digestive tract.

Minimize Milk/Cream/Sugar

When you add things like milk, cream, and sugar to coffee this makes it harder on the stomach and increases the chance of acid reflux. Therefore, limiting them or removing them would be easier on your digestive system.

Use Alternative Milk Instead of Dairy

Instead of using regular dairy milk it may be better to use an alternative milk such as almond milk. The reason dairy is worse is because dairy tends to be harder to break down in the stomach and some people don’t not tolerate dairy or lactose as well. Also, dairy tends to be more fatty which also makes it more likely to cause acid reflux symptoms too.

Choose a Brand That’s Minimally Processed

When choosing a coffee brand opt for one that has been processed less because these tend to be more natural and less acidic. For example, we like Tyler’s Decaf Coffee because it’s been processed minimally while keeping acidity to a minimum.

Try Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee tends to be easier on the stomach than hot coffee. Therefore, it may be easier on your stomach and digestive system which should lessen any chance of acid reflux when drinking it. It’s worth trying if you are still noticing problems when drinking hot decaf coffee.

Important Related Questions

Which Coffee is Best for Acid Reflux?

Typically, decaf coffee is best for acid reflux and is less likely to irritate acid reflux symptoms. Also opting for brewing coffee with ground coffee is better than using instant coffee because it’s more natural and less likely to cause acid reflux issues.

Is Decaf Coffee Less Acidic Than Regular Coffee?

Decaf coffee tends to be a little less acidic than regular coffee depending on the coffee itself. Though the difference is usually minimal.

Is Decaf Coffee Better for the Stomach?

Decaf coffee is much less likely to cause problems with acid reflux. Therefore, it is typically a better choice if you have acid reflux or a sensitive stomach or digestive system.

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