What drink can I drink with acid reflux?


Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common condition where stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can cause symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. Many people with acid reflux find that certain drinks can trigger their symptoms. However, there are also some drinks that may help improve acid reflux. In this article, we’ll discuss which beverages are best to drink and avoid if you have acid reflux.

Beverages to Avoid with Acid Reflux

Certain drinks are more likely to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the muscular valve that closes to prevent food and stomach acid from coming back up into the esophagus. When the LES relaxes inappropriately, acid reflux occurs. Here are some types of drinks to limit or avoid if you have frequent acid reflux:

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol can directly irritate the esophagus and stomach. It can also relax the LES, leading to increased reflux. It’s best to avoid or limit alcoholic drinks like:

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Liquor
  • Mixed cocktails

Coffee and Tea

Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and energy drinks can relax the LES and stimulate acid production in the stomach. It’s best to switch to decaffeinated or herbal tea and coffee.

Carbonated Beverages

The carbonation and acids in sodas can all aggravate reflux symptoms. Some specific acidic and carbonated drinks to avoid include:

  • Soda like cola, lemon-lime, and orange
  • Flavored seltzer water
  • Tonic water

Fruit Juices

Though fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals, it can also be acidic and may contain fructose, which can worsen reflux. It’s best to limit intake of orange, grapefruit, cranberry, pineapple, tomato, and other acidic juices.

Iced Tea

Though lower in acidity than traditional hot teas, iced tea still contains tannins that can stimulate acid production. It may also be brewed from black tea, which contains caffeine.

Beverages That May Help with Acid Reflux

While some drinks can trigger or worsen acid reflux, others may help improve symptoms. Here are some beverages that are generally well-tolerated and may even ease reflux:


Plain water is pH neutral and does not stimulate acid production. Sipping small amounts of water between meals can help dilute stomach acid and wash away irritating gastric juices from the esophagus. Drink water at room temperature, as very cold water may encourage reflux in some people.

Low-Fat Milk

Cold, low-fat milk can help coat the esophagus and temporarily neutralize excess stomach acid. It’s also a source of protein and calcium, which can help strengthen the LES. Limit intake to 8 ounces at a time.

Herbal Tea

Non-caffeinated herbal teas, especially chamomile, ginger, licorice, and marshmallow root may help reduce reflux symptoms. They can soothe inflammation and gastric distress. Avoid mint tea, which may relax the LES.

Plant-Based Milks

Non-dairy milks like almond, coconut, soy, oat, and rice milk tend to be lower in fat than dairy milk, so they are less likely to cause discomfort. Look for unsweetened varieties as added sugar may worsen reflux.

Vegetable Juice

Low-acid vegetable juices like carrot, celery, fennel, cabbage, and beet may help reduce stomach acidity and reflux symptoms. They provide antioxidants and phytonutrients that can support gut health.

Aloe Vera Juice

Pure aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in healing the esophagus. Look for brands with minimal added sugars or flavors. Drink no more than 1-2 ounces diluted in water at a time.


Blending non-acidic fruits like bananas, mangoes, melons, and berries into a low-fat smoothie can provide nutrients. Add yogurt or milk for extra protein. Avoid citrus fruits and tomatoes, which are more acidic.

Tips for Preventing Acid Reflux from Beverages

Making some simple modifications to your beverage habits can help minimize acid reflux, even when drinking potentially trigger drinks:

  • Avoid drinking large amounts of any liquid at once. Take small sips and finish a drink slowly.
  • Do not lie down immediately after drinking. Remain fully upright for at least 3 hours after mealtime beverages.
  • Drink most beverages between meals rather than with meals.
  • Use a straw when drinking carbonated or acidic beverages to minimize contact with the throat.
  • Dilute concentrated fruit juices with water. Mix half juice, half water.
  • Always drink alcoholic beverages along with a full glass of water.
  • Avoid drinking 2-3 hours before bedtime.

The Best and Worst Drinks for Acid Reflux

To summarize, here is an easy-to-follow guide to the best and worst beverages for acid reflux:

Beverages to Avoid Beverages That May Help
Alcoholic drinks Water
Coffee, tea (caffeinated) Low-fat milk
Sodas and carbonated drinks Herbal tea (non-caffeinated)
Fruit juices (citrus, tomato) Plant-based milks
Iced tea Vegetable juices
N/A Aloe vera juice
N/A Smoothies (without citrus)

When to See a Doctor

While avoiding trigger drinks and picking better beverage alternatives may help control mild reflux symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor if symptoms persist. Signs that acid reflux requires further evaluation and treatment include:

  • Frequent heartburn more than twice a week
  • Difficulty swallowing or pain with swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Worsening reflux despite dietary and lifestyle changes
  • Frequent cough, hoarseness, or sore throat
  • Chest pain
  • Reflux at night that disturbs sleep

A doctor can evaluate your symptoms, diagnose acid reflux, and check for complications like GERD or Barrett’s esophagus. They may recommend further testing via endoscopy, pH monitoring, or manometry. Treatment options for persistent acid reflux include medications, surgery, dietary changes, and natural remedies. Following an acid reflux diet and making lifestyle modifications can also help minimize symptoms alongside medical treatment.

The Bottom Line

While many beverages can worsen acid reflux, there are plenty of delicious drink options that are unlikely to cause symptoms in most people with reflux. Sticking to water, plant-based milks, herbal teas, vegetable juices, low-acid smoothies, and limiting alcohol, coffee, and carbonated sodas may help reduce acid reflux flare-ups. Being mindful of your beverage habits, drinking smaller portions, staying upright after meals, and avoiding eating and drinking before bedtime can also prevent reflux triggered by drinks. Speak to your doctor if lifestyle measures don’t improve your symptoms, and follow their recommendations for long-term management. With some care in choosing the right beverages and making dietary modifications, you can manage acid reflux and still stay hydrated.

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