If you are someone who enjoys throwing a caffeinated drink after a caffeinated drink, you may be starting to notice an uncomfortable side effect.
We’ll start off by saying that most drinks are good to drink in moderation, but, If you drink cup upon cup of coffee, tea, and soda throughout the day, medical experts say, you could dramatically increase your risk of acid reflux and heartburn. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods To Eat Right Now.)
New guidelines suggested in research letter published by JAMA recommend lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The main symptoms of GERD include acid reflux and heartburn, so hardcore coffee drinkers might want to cut back. The letter also suggests consuming no more than two cups of coffee, tea, or soda per day.
As the lead author of the research letter, Raaj S. Mehta, MD, a gastroenterology researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School, explains to Eat this, not that!, “We decided not to recommend more than two cups of coffee, tea, or soda per day, because in our previous study … we found that substituting two cups per day for coffee, tea, or soda soda per two cups of water was associated with a modest reduction in the risk of GERD symptoms. ”
But don’t worry, you don’t have to completely eliminate your morning cup of coffee. Mehta adds, “Coffee, in particular, has many other health benefits, so these recommendations don’t suggest that people should give up completely!” Just cutting down to a few cups should be enough to lower your risk of heartburn.
“The mechanism by which coffee, tea, or soft drinks can contribute to reflux symptoms may be related to caffeine, which can weaken the valve in the esophagus, which prevents acid reflux from the stomach.” , lead author of the study, Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH of MGH, explains. “However, this is probably not the only option because even people who drink decaffeinated coffee seem to have a higher risk of reflux.”
The letter’s other recommendations for lifestyle changes to reduce GERD include doing at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, maintaining a “cautious” diet, and doing so. avoid smoking. By making these behavior changes, you can avoid the risks associated with using potentially dangerous drugs to deal with the problem, Chan explains.
For more information on what foods to eat (and avoid) to prevent heartburn, check out these 28 Best and Worst Foods For Acid Reflux.