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3 Morning Coffee Alternatives if You Suffer from Heartburn or Stomach Upset

If you suffer from chronic heartburn, deciding what goes in your stomach in the morning will set the tone for the day. Chances are you already know the foods that soothe your stomach and prevent reflux, such as yogurt, melon, or oatmeal, and the foods that exacerbate symptoms. But where does coffee lie in the mix? 

It’s true that several studies have already tested whether coffee exacerbates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and shown inconclusive results. Some members of the scientific community also believe that not enough research has been done with a large-enough base of participants. Still, many people with heartburn report that coffee does exacerbate their symptoms. The theory is that a high dose of caffeine can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Others believe that the acids in coffee increase stomach acid production and cause not just heartburn, but an upset stomach. 

Ultimately, only you can know which foods trigger your symptoms. If coffee simply isn’t the best choice for you in the morning, it’s time to check out some alternatives. Giving up that hot cup of joe in the early hours might be difficult. However, you don’t necessarily have to give up the pleasure of a warm morning mug to help you start your day on the right foot. For some tasty coffee alternatives, check out our suggestions below.

Note: The foods and beverages that reduce one person’s heartburn may trigger symptoms in another. If you are going to try any sort of new morning drink, be sure to test it in small amounts at first to make sure it doesn’t cause you any issues. 


MUD\WTR isn’t some sort of code word. It’s actually the name of a product designed for people who are trying to give up coffee. And don’t worry, it doesn’t actually contain mud! 

It does include cacao, masala chai, turmeric, sea salt, cinnamon, chaga, cordyceps, reishi, and lion’s main. Wondering about those unfamiliar ingredients? The last four are all forms of mushroom. Chaga is a mushroom popular in Eastern medicine because it is packed with antioxidants that can boost immunity, reduce inflammation, reduce fatigue, and improve mental sharpness. Cordyceps is a form of fungus that grows on caterpillar larvae. While it might sound impossibly gross, this nutrient also contains antioxidant properties that may aid the immune system. Reishi is yet another fungus harvested for its high antoixidant content and immune-boosting properties. Lastly, lion’s mane may improve memory loss and relieve mild forms of anxiety and depression

So, with just 1/7th of the caffeine in one cup of coffee, will this drink really be the morning pick-me-up that you need? The company claims that the powerful ingredients in the formula will still give you an energy boost, just without the jitters. 

It’s worth mentioning that the price may be a little outside of your budget at $40 for a container of 30 servings. That’s about a monthly supply if you drink one cup every day. The flavor may take some getting used to as well, with one reviewer noting that it had a chai-cocoa taste and an earthy aftertaste. Still, many reviewers agree that the health benefits are worth the price. 

Herbal tea

In your search for the ideal coffee alternative, you may have breezed over tea simply because it is so commonplace. However, teas are underrated when it comes to soothing acid reflux. Herbal teas in particular are known to help calm an upset stomach and soothe your overall digestive tract. Just remember to avoid spearmint and peppermint teas, which may trigger a reflux episode by relaxing the LES. 

If you believe that your heartburn is often caused by stress, consider starting your day with a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile may help soothe the digestive tract, though Harvard Health notes that you should avoid this herb if you have a ragweed allergy. Ginger tea may also improve the state of your digestion by working similarly to ginger chews, a tried-and-true remedy for reflux. 

Licorice tea is another good tea to try. In several studies, licorice has demonstrated an ability to increase the mucous coating on the esophageal lining, which helps protect the lining from acid coming up from the stomach. This is the same reason that deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, works to soothe digestion in the form of a pill or chewable tablet. 


If you are still craving a dose of caffeine in the morning but want to wean yourself off coffee regardless, you may consider trying mate. Mate is a brew made from the dried leaves of evergreen shrubs or trees, and is quite popular in Argentina, Paraguay, Uraguay, southern Brazil, and several other countries. It is a strong drink, well-known for its caffeine boost and distinct green color.

So, why might you drink mate in place of coffee? According to the Journal of Food Science, this herbal beverage may benefit the cardiovascular system and aid in obesity management. Its impressive nutrients include B vitamins, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, zinc, and polyphenols such as quercetin, theobromine and theophylline

However, some studies have shown that drinking mate regularly over the course of a lifetime is linked to a higher risk for certain cancers. If you do choose to try mate, just remember to drink it in moderation, as with any other caffeinated beverage. 

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