Does Decaf Coffee Cause Heartburn?

Decaf coffee is an excellent choice for people who want to enjoy a cup of coffee without the side effects of caffeine consumption. It is similar to regular coffee, but most of its caffeine content gets removed in the roasting process. It makes decaffeinated coffee a beverage you can take if you have a late-night conversation or on a day you choose to rest. 

Many coffee drinkers love decaf coffee, but you may be among those who suffer heartburn or other acid reflux symptoms and wonder if coffee contributes to these symptoms. Read on to learn if coffee triggers heartburn symptoms in acid reflux sufferers.

Does Decaf Coffee Cause Heartburn?

a hot cup of coffee with coffee beans on the side

The pH level of what we consume determines how acidic they are. The value of foods or drinks on the pH scale determines the amount of acid content, and values lower than seven mean it is acidic. 

Decaf coffee has a pH level of around 5 to 5.1 and has a high amount of acidity that acid reflux patients should avoid. It means your cup of Joe is a potential trigger of acid reflux symptoms, though it contains less caffeine than caffeinated beverages. 

The acidity level of decaffeinated coffee means that it causes the production of stomach acid that flows up the food pipe to irritate the esophagus lining. The lower esophageal sphincter is a set of muscles located at the bottom of the esophagus, which closes after you swallow food to prevent the backward flow of stomach contents. However, It could become weak if exposed to acids for long periods and give free access for these acids to the esophagus. 

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Is Decaf Coffee Less Acidic Than Regular Coffee?

Coffee beans and a take-away mug of coffee

Decaf coffee has slightly lower acid levels when compared to regular coffee because it loses some phenolic acids during its decaffeination process. 

Decaf coffee may have lesser caffeine but is acidic because of chlorogenic and quinic acids. Chlorogenic acid is an antioxidant that helps in weight loss, improves mood, and reduces blood pressure, while quinic acid is responsible for the flavor of your coffee.

However, there are cases where decaf coffee could be more acidic than regular coffee. Coffee acidity depends on the type of coffee you drink, as low-acid coffee may be less acidic than decaf coffee though it is caffeinated. It is because regular low-acid coffee may not contain additives that could trigger heartburn in people who suffer from acid reflux disease. You should avoid additives like sugar that are difficult for the digestive tract to digest. 

Since Decaf coffee is a better option for acid reflux than regular coffee, you can switch and notice if the symptoms reduce. Switching to decaf coffee is a good idea because it has the health benefits of coffee despite the removal of most of its caffeine content. Scientific evidence has also shown that decaffeinated coffee can help to reduce the effects of aging. 

Read also: Are Plums Good For Acid Reflux? The Unexpected Answer!

How To Drink Decaf Coffee With Acid Reflux

Decaf coffee may not have as much acid content as regular coffee but may trigger heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms. The good news is that coffee lovers can take the beverage without experiencing heartburn if it is drunk in moderation. You can drink small amounts of decaf coffee and notice how your body reacts to it.

You can add a little bit next time you drink to find out the amount of decaf coffee you can handle. However, you should consult medical professionals before increasing the amount of decaf coffee you drink.

Cold brew coffee may be your best bet because it tends to be less acidic than hot coffee.

What To Do If You Experience Heartburn Symptoms

a woman having heartburn due to coffee

Acid reflux is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and its symptoms occur when acids from the stomach irritate the esophagus. Some GERD symptoms include sore throat, a bitter taste in the mouth, a burning sensation in the chest, and belching. 

The best way to avoid GERD symptoms is to take acidic foods off your diet. Spicy foods are some of the most eaten acidic foods and common GERD triggers. Citrus fruits like orange juice contain citric acid and should not be part of your acid reflux diet.

You should also make lifestyle changes that can help reduce heartburn and other symptoms of GERD. One lifestyle change is the timing of your dinner, as you should ensure you eat at least three hours before sleeping. You should also adopt a weight loss plan if you are overweight because the digestive system may find it hard to break down acids if you have excess weight in your body.

Read also: Is Acid Reflux Worse When Sitting? Find Out The Surprising Facts

Does Decaf Coffee Cause Heartburn Summary

There is a significant difference in the acidity of decaf coffee compared to regular coffee. Though it is less acidic, decaf coffee may still trigger acid reflux symptoms if consumed in large quantities. Symptoms occur differently in people, and you should seek the advice of healthcare professionals if acid reflux symptoms persist despite moderate consumption of decaf coffee.