For some people, coffee can be a trigger for acid indigestion. If you’re afraid that’s you, but you love coffee, there may be ways to enjoy coffee without suffering for it every time. Here are some tips about managing heartburn and some ideas for reducing the likelihood of experiencing acid reflux when you drink coffee.
Unique Trigger Management
There’s no single cure for acid indigestion. It’s likely that a combination of factors are contributing to each case of heartburn a patient experiences. There are also dangers of having chronic acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Be sure to talk to a doctor if you’re experiencing heartburn multiple times every week.
GERD, like acid reflux disease, is a symptom of damage caused when stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophagus. Certain foods and lifestyle choices are considered to contribute to GERD, however changing the diet to manage this does not have a lot of supporting evidence. Foods that may contribute include coffee, alcohol, chocolate, acidic foods, fatty foods, and spicy foods. Weight loss, moderate (but not strenuous) excercise and elevating the head of the bed may all help manage or alleviate GERD symptoms.
Learning to identify your triggers will help to reduce acid reflux. Try to experiment with one potential trigger at a time. If you suspect that coffee is a trigger, you may need to take a break from coffee, reduce the coffee you consume, or change the kind of coffee or brew system that you enjoy.
A Complex Cause
No two cases of acid reflux are the same. It turns out that the acidity in the stomach is determined by a variety of factors over a period of time.
For some people, the problem is too much acid. For example, if you eat a lot of sugars, unhealthy fats, and heavy foods, more acid is needed to break them down in the stomach. If you add coffee on top, you’re adding more acidity and risk acid indigestion or heartburn. Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products are often considered triggers, especially when consumed in excess.
But high acidity can also be caused if you don’t have enough healthy acids in your diet. For some people, eating an apple, or even using apple cider vinegar in their salad dressing, can reduce their heartburn or help them to avoid it. This is because these are acids the body can recognize. If you have some healthy acids in your diet, your stomach won’t release as much acid when you eat meals. Some people even find that drinking a small coffee reduces the likelihood of heartburn along with a healthy diet.
There are also many physical causes of heartburn.
- Tight clothing, especially around the waist, can cause the pressure system of the intestines and stomach to be out of balance.
- Bending over repeatedly after a meal can cause acid to leak back up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux.
- Lying down too soon after a meal can have the same effect.
- Eating too fast doesn’t allow the esophageal sphincter to open and close at a healthy rate.
- Exercising too soon after a meal can cause heartburn.
- And eating or snacking often can also allow stomach acid into the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Coffee Varieties and Brewing Processes That Reduce Acidity
Coffee lovers who need to manage acid reflux have discovered that there are factors that make a difference when they make their morning cup.
First, find a coffee bean with low acidity.
- The darker the roast, the better.
- Mexico and Sumatra coffees are known to be lower in acidity.
- Decaf, when processed with the Mountain water method, is lower in acid due to the water process caffeine extraction.
The ideal method for people with acid reflux is the Toddy coffee brew method. Toddy makers reduce the oils in the coffee. Toddy makes a cold water extract coffee that is easy to make and is convenient and economical. And when preparing your normal brew coffee, make a single cup at a time and drink it fresh. The fresher, the better.
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There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to kick acid reflux by never drinking coffee or by using these ideas. But it’s always worth a try and if you love coffee, you’ll be glad that you did.
(image courtesy Flickr / epSos.de CC2.0)