Does Iced Tea Cause Heartburn? What’s The Truth?
For some of us, a day is not complete without a glass of iced tea in the evening. But with all the buzz today about bad foods and “safe” foods, you have to wonder: is iced tea good for you?
And more specifically, for this article, can it give you heartburn?
First, Let Us Learn About Heartburns
The medical term for heartburn is acid reflex. It manifests in the form of burning pain in the chest and is sometimes accompanied by a chronic cough.
Acid reflux has many triggers: certain foods, some drugs, stress, or obesity. So before you blame your daily cup of iced tea, determine if something else is triggering the condition.
The Science Behind Acid Reflux
If you remember your grade school science lessons, food is conveyed from your mouth to your stomach by a tube known as the esophagus.
At the bottom end of the tube, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes immediately after the food leaves the tube and enters the stomach. With the door now shut behind it, the food and the rest of the stomach’s contents cannot re-enter the esophagus.
When and if the sphincter weakens or relaxes, stomach acid can go up the esophagus, causing that sensation of burning pain in your chest.
Some people are more prone to acid reflux than others. When it becomes chronic, we call it gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you have this condition, iced tea may trigger instances of heartburn.
Ingredients in Iced Tea That Might Cause Heartburn:
While tea does not have as much caffeine as coffee, it does have some. And for a person suffering from GERD, that small cup of tea in the evening might be the tip of the iceberg, triggering a sudden heartburn.
You see, high caffeine intake relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, enabling stomach acid to shoot up the esophagus.
Experts advise keeping daily caffeine levels below 400 mg. But pregnant women are more vulnerable to acid reflux, and should not exceed 200 mg of caffeine.
Fortunately, tea has much less caffeine content than coffee. Eight-ounce servings of black tea contain between 14mg and 70mg. For decaffeinated black tea, its 2mg to 12mg. So to avoid acid reflux, drink decaffeinated iced tea instead of regular iced tea. But if you have GERD, take it easy – drink less tea.
If you love citrus iced tea, you might have to cut down on your intake. Lemon iced tea is included here too because lemon is a citrus fruit.
Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits contain a high level of citric acid which can trigger the relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter muscles.
Peppermint is a popular remedy for stomach ailments. But don’t drink peppermint iced tea to soothe your heartburn. It will only make it worse!
The soothing effect is created by the menthol found in peppermint. Unfortunately, it can also soothe and relax the lower esophageal sphincter, causing stomach acids to flow up the esophagus.
Types of tea you should take:
The following types of tea will help by preventing or reducing acid reflux:
- Licorice tea
- Chamomile tea
- Ginger tea
- Pu-Erh tea
Yes, iced tea can cause heartburn. But not all types of iced tea, and not in everyone.