Does Milk Help Acid Reflux?

It is known that milk has its advantages and disadvantages when relieving heartburn. While cow’s milk is a natural home remedy for heartburn for some people as it neutralizes stomach acid, others say it worsens their condition.

Also, certain types of non-dairy milk can help provide relief to acid reflux because of their nutritional properties. But does milk help acid reflux and relieve heartburn symptoms? This article will analyze whether dairy and non-dairy milk help acid reflux.

What are GERD (Acid Reflux) Symptoms?

Does milk help acid reflux in people with GERD? Let’s talk about the GERD and its symptoms first. Also called acid reflux, heartburn is the most common gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Heartburn happens when your stomach’s contents, including gastric acid, move back up to your gullet, giving you a burning feeling in your chest. The most common signs and symptoms of GERD and acid reflux include:

  • A burning sensation in your chest, usually after eating.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Experiencing a sour or bitter taste after eating.
  • A feeling of something in your throat
  • Frequent cough or hiccups.
  • A hoarse voice.
  • Bad breath.
  • Bloating and feeling sick.

Milk and Acid Reflux: The Facts

Some foods and drinks can trigger heartburn symptoms. But does milk help acid reflux? It is known that some people experience heartburn after eating chilli and fatty foods or citrus fruits, especially dairy products and dairy milk.

The stomach produces a lot of acids when it digests certain foods, which triggers acid reflux. We will analyze if does milk help acid reflux. Let’s start with dairy milk.

Does Milk Help Acid Reflux

Does Dairy Milk Help Acid Reflux?

People who suffer from acid reflux often have a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES). But nonfat milk can act as a temporary barrier between your stomach lining and the acidic contents of your stomach. This way, non-fat milk may provide immediate relief of acid reflux symptoms.

Milk is an excellent dietary source of calcium, with an average of 300 millilitres per eight ounces. Calcium carbonate, the active ingredient, works as an antacid, helping neutralize stomach acid. It helps neutralize excess acid in the digestive tract and reduces the discomfort associated with heartburn, indigestion, flatulence and GERD.

Milk is an excellent protein source, too! Researchers believe that protein helps treat heartburn and acid reflux because it stimulates the production of gastrin. Gastrin is also involved in controlling the production of stomach acid. Therefore, it’s not clear whether the protein in milk helps prevent or worsens heartburn symptoms.

plant based milk

Does Non-Dairy (Plant-Based) Milk Help Acid Reflux?

It is known that a plant-based (Mediterranean) diet is more effective than using over the counter medications to relieve symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Likewise, plant-based milk is more effective to reduce heartburn and GERD symptoms.

Plant-based milk has high protective properties, no lactose and high nutritional content, like fiber, that support the digestive system. There are healthy vegan milk alternatives that people with GERD or who experience acid reflux can use for drinking and cooking.

1. Almond Milk May Help with Acid Reflux

Almond milk has strong alkaline properties. Thus almond milk can help reduce acidity in the stomach and help relieve heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. If prepared at home with enough almonds, it can be a rich source of calcium that works as an antacid, helping neutralize stomach acid. 

2. Coconut Milk May Help with Acid Reflux

There are several saturated fatty acids in coconut oil, called lauric acid. According to some researchers, lauric acid has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut milk can decrease inflammation in the body and helps prevent more severe symptoms of acid reflux by soothing your esophagus and protecting your stomach lining. The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut milk make it a good drink choice for acid reflux or GERD people.

3. Soy Milk May Help with Acid Reflux

Soy is an excellent alternative to meat for people with GERD. Because while all kinds of meat are acidic and most legumes are acid-forming foods, soybeans are alkaline. The alkaline nature of soya makes it a safer alternative and one of the best milk for acid reflux compared to dairy milk. Because soy milk contains less fat than most dairy products, it can reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.

hazelnut milk may trigger heartburn

4. Hazelnut Milk May Trigger Acid Reflux

Although antioxidants in hazelnuts have been proven to reduce inflammation in the body, drinking hazelnut milk can cause heartburn. Hazelnuts have a pH of 6.8 and can be slight to moderately acid-forming. When consuming too much, fatty nuts naturally slow stomach emptying. When gastric emptying is slowed, the acidic stomach contents can pass back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

5. Cashew Milk May Trigger Acid Reflux

Cashew milk is acid-forming and high-fat milk. That’s why cashew milk can trigger acid reflux and heartburn in some individuals. Although the fat in cashew is unsaturated mainly, the high-fat content of cashews can slow down the emptying stomach and exert pressure on the esophageal sphincter.

Does Milk Help Acid Reflux: Conclusion

Eating a balanced diet is the best way to prevent, reduce and treat acid reflux. If your pH levels are more acidic, you can have an alkaline diet with more alkaline-forming foods under the control of your dietitian or nutritionist. Also, try to choose healthy acid-forming foods such as low-fat dairy, plant-based meats, whole grains and plant-based milk such as almond milk and soy milk. 

People with diabetes are more likely to have GERD and heartburn. If you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you can join Green Detox Program; an alkaline juice detox program.

To have additional information on green detox diet, you can download our Beginner’s Guide to Green Detox Program

Learn about Alkaline Detox Programs programs at TheLifeCo

Cengiz Babacan

MD, General & Abdominal Surgery Specialist

Cengiz Babacan

Dr Babacan, who has been focusing on healthy living and digestive system health since 2011, provides training and consultancy services on healthy digestion, abdominal examination and evaluation, and applied kinesiology and abdominal restoration applications TheLifeCo. He has also worked on check-up, preventive medicine, and health management at the INDOMED Health Control Center throughout his professional life. He continued his studies periodically at the Cleveland Clinic and M.D. Anderson hospitals in the United States. Following the Intermed Medical Center in Turkey. Dr Cengiz Babacan has completed his medical education at Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty at Istanbul University, where he also received his general surgery and abdominal surgery specialization in 1983.

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