Chai tea is probably bad for your acid reflux if milk or black tea leaves trigger your symptoms. But if they don’t, then chai tea is perfect for digestive problems. There are many ways you can modify a chai tea recipe to make it suitable for you, and these were explained in this article.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux happens when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus or food pipe. If acid reflux occurs regularly, the lining of your food pipe becomes inflamed, and you might feel a burning sensation in your chest. This is called heartburn.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
Depending on whether you have occasional or frequent acid reflux, your symptoms may vary:
- burning sensation in your chest
- bad tastes in your mouth
- sore throat
- stomach pain
- coughing or hoarseness
- upset stomach
- digestive problems
Common Acid Reflux Triggers
Many things can cause your trigger heartburn. Common triggers include:
- eating too much
- acidic foods and citrus fruits
- acidic drinks, most fruit juices
- spicy foods
- fatty foods
- a lot of sugar
- too much caffeine
- lying down too soon after eating
- some medications
If acid reflux is left untreated and occurs at least twice a week on a regular basis, you should seek medical advice as you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What Is Chai Tea?
You can make chai tea by boiling milk and water with a mixture of black tea and a harmonious blend of spices.
Chai tea originated in India and is now a popular drink worldwide. Traditionally, each family would have its own recipe of spices they would use to make chai tea, based on what was available.
Main Ingredients In Chai Tea
The most common ingredients in chai tea are:
- cow’s milk
- black tea
- black pepper
- sweetenter, usually sugar or honey
Chai Tea vs Chai Latte
Chai tea is made from black tea leaves boiled in hot milk, with spices, and sometimes with honey or sugar to sweeten it. On the other hand, a chai latte is made using a powder or syrup that imitates the flavor of chai tea. Chai latte is sweeter than traditional chai tea and is usually what you get at coffee shops.
If you want the health benefits of chai tea spices, it’s a good idea to make your own or buy loose tea leaf blends or tea bags from reputable suppliers.
Is Chai Tea Bad For Acid Reflux?
Asking, “Is chai tea bad for acid reflux?” is difficult to answer because it depends on the severity of your acid reflux symptoms and your personal acid reflux trigger foods.
If you get acid reflux from drinking milk or milk tea, chai tea will likely give you acid reflux. However, there are a few changes you can try before dismissing it altogether.
Most of the spices in chai tea are great for digestive issues, but others can worsen your acid reflux symptoms. Experimenting with the flavors and amount of each ingredient is a great way to make a version of chai tea that works for you.
How to avoid acid reflux symptoms from chai tea or chai latte
Let’s look at the main ingredients in a little more detail and how you can modify your chai tea recipe to make a delicious tea that doesn’t give you digestive issues. Try making one change at a time to tell which are the problem ingredients for you.
Cow’s milk is the main ingredient of chai tea. Milk can be a problem for acid reflux sufferers as it can aggravate symptoms.
The fat in cow’s milk forms a temporary buffer to protect your digestive tract from stomach acid, providing instant relief for your acid reflux symptoms.
Cow’s milk also neutralizes stomach acid, but the effects don’t last, and milk eventually turns acidic in your stomach.
Whole milk or full-fat cow’s milk is more likely to give you heartburn symptoms than skim milk or no-fat milk.
ALTERNATIVES: Your best option might be skim milk or no-fat milk, almond milk, or low-fat soy milk, as these kinds of milk are less likely to give you symptoms of acid reflux. You can also add less milk and more water to your chai tea.
Here’s one ingredient that shouldn’t give you problems.
ALTERNATIVES: You could try adding alkaline water to your chai tea to combat the acidic effects of milk.
Black Tea Leaves
The acidity or pH level of black tea is relatively neutral. However, the caffeine content and tannins in black lea leaves can set off your acid reflux symptoms.
Caffeine and tannins both increase stomach acid. And caffeine will also loosen your lower esophageal sphincter muscle, allowing stomach acid to reflux into your food pipe and give you a nasty burning sensation in your chest.
ALTERNATIVES: You can try decaffeinated black tea, but you’ll lose many of the health benefits found in the caffeinated version. Another option would be to try white tea leaves, which will give you a lighter, sweeter flavor with less caffeine and tannins.
Black pepper contains piperine that helps digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe your digestive system. Piperine can also enhance your body’s absorption of certain nutrients.
However, its peppery qualities may aggravate your acid reflux symptoms if spicy foods are one of your triggers. However, there isn’t a lot of black pepper in chai tea, so it might be OK to leave it in.
ALTERNATIVES: Try reducing the amount of black pepper or omitting it entirely if spicy foods aggravate your symptoms.
Ginger root is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive problems due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also speeds up your digestive system, reducing stomach acid, gas, and bloating (1, 2, 3).
In large quantities, ginger can set off your symptoms of acid reflux, but the amount of ginger in chai tea is unlikely to do so.
ALTERNATIVES: Because of ginger’s many health benefits, consider adding more.
Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates digestion by relieving stomach spasms that cause gas.
Cinnamon has many qualities that can benefit acid reflux sufferers, including anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that help indigestion, stomach cramps, gas, nausea, diarrhea, and acid reflux.
Small amounts of cinnamon are usually OK for heartburn symptoms, but large quantities can cause problems.
Cloves have anti-inflammatory properties to calm your upset stomach and reduce gas. They also increase saliva production, which aids digestion. Cloves contain a wide range of nutrients that have health benefits, and black pepper can help your body absorb these.
In small amounts, cloves should not upset your acid reflux symptoms.
Consuming sugar in small amounts won’t affect your acid reflux; however, artificial sweeteners increase stomach acid and should be avoided.
ALTERNATIVES: Instead of white sugar, try raw honey or manuka honey, which has additional health benefits, including soothing your sore throat and stomach lining. Limit sugar or honey to one teaspoon per cup or eliminate sugar altogether.
Health Benefits Of Chai Tea
There is no scientific evidence to prove or disprove whether chai tea is bad for acid reflux. However, there are anecdotal reports that drinking chai tea on a daily basis does have health benefits.
Make it from scratch to get the most health benefits from drinking chai tea.
Although the amounts of spices are small in a single cup of chai tea, it’s thought that the combination of spices and their health benefits compound over time. Therefore, if chai tea doesn’t aggravate your acid reflux symptoms, it may be beneficial to drink this particular type of tea on a daily basis.
Health benefits of chai tea may include:
- rich in anti-inflammatories
- antioxidants may redice risk of cancer
- anti-viral and anti-microbial properties combat bad bacteria in your gut that causes digestive problems and stomach ulcers
- reduces the risk of heart disease
- lowers blood pressure
- stabilizing blood sugar levels
- enhances brain functions
- reduces tooth decay
FAQS About “Is Chai Tea Bad For Acid Reflux?“
Is Chai Tea Latte Bad For Acid Reflux?
Chai latte is probably bad for acid reflux because it contains milk or black tea, common triggers for acid reflux symptoms. The spices used in chai latte are small quantities that are unlikely to aggravate an upset stomach unless you have severe acid reflux and drink chai latte daily.
Is Iced Chai Tea Bad For Acid Reflux?
Iced chai tea may be bad for acid reflux if milk or black tea triggers your symptoms of acid reflux. The chilled liquid will temporarily soothe your sore throat and digestive system. The spices in chai tea are in such small amounts that they will probably not trigger digestive problems.
6 Best Herbal Teas For Acid Reflux
1. Ginger Tea
Ginger root is a popular traditional Chinese medicine herbal medicine. This herbal tea provides many health benefits that can relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
It has a calming effect on your digestive system due to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve irritation caused by stomach acid. Ginger tea can speed up digestion to reduce gas and bloating (1, 2, 3).
LEARN MORE: Is Ginger Tea Good For Acid Reflux?
2. Chamomile Tea
A cup of chamomile tea is a soothing, popular drink well known for its mild sedative and muscle-relaxing effects that can relieve stress and significantly impact acid reflux symptoms.
Chamomile tea also has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural antacid, which combats the effects of stomach acid. A cup of chamomile tea can also soothe your sore throat and stomach ulcers.
LEARN MORE: Chamomile Tea For Acid Reflux? Is There Any Better?
3. Holy Basil Tea
Also called tulsi tea, holy basil tea reduces stomach acid production, increases mucus secretion, and improves the longevity of mucus cells which creates a barrier to protect your stomach lining from stomach acidity.
Holy basil also has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. This tea also helps reduce stress which can worsen GERD symptoms.
4. Fennel Tea
Fennel tea is made by crushing fennel seeds. It contains antibacterial properties that eliminate bacteria that give you gas. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe your digestive system (7).
5. Slippery Elm Tea
Slippery Elm tea creates a barrier to protect your stomach lining from stomach acid. This herbal tea is arguably the best option if you also suffer from stomach ulcers. You can drink as many cups of slippery elm tea as you like throughout the day.
6. Lemon Tea
While lemon is acidic, small amounts of lemon turn alkaline in your stomach, countering the effects of stomach acid and neutralizing acidity. To make a cup of lemon tea, add one tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of warm or hot water.
LEARN MORE: Lemon Tea For Acid Reflux (How To Get Best Results)
What drinks are bad for acid reflux?
Too Much Caffeine
Drinks with high caffeine content increase stomach acid and loosen your lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid reflux to occur. Coffee consumption often triggers heartburn symptoms.
If you’re a tea drinker, you’ll be pleased to know black tea has about half the caffeine as coffee, and if you have mild acid reflux symptoms, your stomach might tolerate a cup most days.
Green tea and oolong tea contain less caffeine, so these types of tea are less likely to upset your stomach but cause digestive issues for some people.
Citrus fruit juices, pineapple juice, some apple juices, and carbonated drinks are acidic and worsen acid reflux symptoms. Commercially made drinks are more acidic due to the need for acidic preservatives than freshly prepared.
Cow’s milk and other dairy milk are common acid reflux triggers.
Milk gives your digestive tract a temporary buffer against stomach acid and provides instant soothing relief for your acid reflux symptoms. Cow’s milk also neutralizes stomach acid.
However, these effects don’t last for some people, and milk will become acidic in your stomach. Whole milk or full-fat milk is more likely to give you heartburn symptoms than skim milk or no-fat milk. Your best option might be almond milk or low-fat soy milk.
Creamy hot chocolate from your local coffee shop can also give you symptoms of acid reflux. You don’t just have the effects of milk to contend with. The cocoa will loosen your lower esophageal reflux sphincter, and the added sugar will increase stomach acid, making hot chocolate highly likely to cause digestive issues.
The gas in fizzy drinks increases pressure in your stomach and puts pressure on your lower esophageal reflux sphincter. And if there are any artificial sweeteners in the beverage, these increase stomach acidity and cause digestive problems as well.
Summary: Is Chai Tea Bad For Acid Reflux?
Chai tea is bad for acid reflux if milk or black tea leaves are among your acid reflux trigger foods. The spices in chai tea are in such small quantities that they are unlikely to cause digestive problems unless you have severe acid reflux or are particularly sensitive to the spices.
There are many ways you can modify a chai tea recipe to make it suitable for you; these alternatives are suggested in this article.