Why Does Tea Give Me Heartburn But Not Coffee?
Heartburn is a common and unpleasant experience that occurs when the lining of the stomach is irritated by various foods and beverages, one of the most common of which is tea. However, coffee does not appear to have the same effect for some people. What, then, are the scientific explanations for why tea can give you heartburn but coffee might not?
The scientific explanation for the difference between tea and coffee with regards to heartburn has to do with the acidity of the beverage. The acidity – measured by the pH scale – of tea is typically around 4, whereas coffee tends to range from around 4.85 to 5.10 on the pH scale. The lower the acidity, the more our stomach must work harder to counteract it, potentially leading to irritation or heartburn.
In addition to its acidity, the amount of caffeine in different beverages can also contribute to the occurrence of heartburn. The caffeine levels in coffee are known to be higher than tea, which could lead to an added heartburn effect. Caffeine has been linked to relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, which can allow stomach acid to creep up the esophagus and cause discomfort.
Other factors that may also come into play include:
- Tannin levels:Tannins are known to be present in both tea and coffee, but the levels in tea are typically much higher than those found in coffee. Tannins have been linked to gastrointestinal issues like heartburn and indigestion.
- Individual sensitivity: Individuals may have different sensitivities to certain food and drink that can cause heartburn or other gastrointestinal symptoms, even if they have the same pH or caffeine levels.
- Other ingredients:Depending on how it is prepared, tea can contain milk whereas coffee is usually just the beans on their own. The use of milk in tea can lead to extra problems for those more sensitive to other ingredients.
In conclusion, tea has the potential to cause more severe heartburn than coffee for some people due to its lower pH, higher levels of tannin, and the possibility of other ingredients being added. Coffee, on the other hand, tends to have higher levels of caffeine which might also cause heartburn in more sensitive people. It is important to be aware of the different types of food and drink that might affect you, and to try to pay attention to the way your body is responding.