In order to reduce the symptoms of GERD, most people are advised to reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diet.
There are varying views within the medical community about the effect tea has on GERD symptoms.
Green Tea and GERD
Both black and green tea are produced from the same leaf, Camellia sinensis. This leaf contains multiple methylxanthines, which are the stimulants that give you the jolt of energy. While caffeine is one of the methylxanthines present, green tea contains two additional ones – theobromine and theophylline. These components are not only responsible one’s increased energy but also for relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.
There is no question that any over consumption of caffeine does aggravate GERD symptoms and can cause it to occur more frequently. Even though consuming most teas would not be recommended if one suffers from GERD, green tea may be the exception.
While green tea does contain a small amount of caffeine, it is less than what is in black tea and drastically less than coffee. Green tea is also a much less acidic tea option compared with black tea due to the faster processing time.
There is also a difference between freshly brewed green tea and bottled green tea that one should be aware of if they suffer from GERD. While fresh brewed green tea is typically less acidic than its black tea counterparts, the same is not true for bottled green teas.
In order to keep in a bottle, most green tea products are fortified with an acidic preservative. Therefore, GERD may become worse when consuming bottled green tea even if a freshly brewed cup does not normally affect them.
When purchasing a green tea, be aware that many are sold as blends containing other herbal components. Depending on which components are included, it may help or hurt one’s GERD symptoms. For instance, peppermint is a known GERD trigger and should be avoided entirely.
Not everyone thinks green tea should be avoided to reduce the symptoms of GERD. Some believe that the catechins that are found within green tea have strong antioxidant properties that can promote healing and overall health.
The reaction one has to green tea in relation to GERD will likely vary by individual. For those who do not typically drink a tea beverage, adding green tea into one’s diet may cause GERD to occur more frequently. However, for those who suffer from GERD and are looking to reduce but not eliminate their caffeine consumption, green tea can be an ideal solution.
It is possible to drink green tea and not suffer from GERD.
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive ailment that occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not work.
The lower esophageal sphincter is located between the top of the stomach and bottom of the esophagus and is supposed to open to allow food to pass into the stomach.
Other than that, it is supposed to remain tightly closed but if it is relaxed or opens too frequently, it can allow the stomach contents including acid to move back into the esophagus.
When this happens, the acid in the esophagus causes a burning sensation in the chest area behind the breastbone. The burning sensation can also travel up into the back of one’s throat depending on how far up the stomach acid travels.
Other symptoms of GERD include:
- An acidic or bitter taste in one’s mouth
- The feeling that food is stuck in one’s throat
Besides caffeine, there are a number of other triggers for GERD. The most common ones include:
- Spicy foods
- Overly fatty foods
- Hiatal hernia
For all GERD sufferers, the most recommended treatment options for GERD are lifestyle and dietary changes. The most effective changes include:
- Avoid trigger foods and beverages
- Lose weight if overweight or obese
- Quit smoking
- Eat smaller meals
- Wait 3 hours after eating before going to bed
- Raise the head of the bed 6 inches
If those changes do not bring enough relieve of GERD symptoms, a doctor may recommend either an over the counter or prescription medication option.
If you are experiencing symptoms of GERD or have any discomfort in the chest area, it is advisable to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should never begin a treatment course without first discussing it with their physician or midwife. The information provided here is meant to be informative and does not constitute medical advice in any way.