The acid in your daily cup of Joe could cause some scary side effects — here's why you should consider drinking low-acid coffee.
Coffee is one of the most widely-consumed beverages in the world, and there are more benefits to drinking a cup of Joe than the caffeine kick you get on a groggy Monday morning. Research suggests that drinking coffee is beneficial to your health — it can lower your risk of heart disease and dementia, and is packed with antioxidants that may ward off cancer.
But on the opposite end of the spectrum, coffee can also be harmful to those with digestive issues. Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, says, "Coffee’s acidity and caffeine can irritate the stomach and exacerbate symptoms associated with GERD." Vespa suggests choosing dark-roasted coffees over lighter roasts, because as beans are roasted for longer periods of time they lose some of their natural acidity and caffeine.
Coffee snobs need not roll their eyes — you can cut back on acid and still drink your favorite roast. A new category of low-acid coffees have recently hit the market, and they're far from the burnt, chemically-treated coffees of the past. Producers like trücup use a water and steam process to naturally lower the acidity of their coffee without sacrificing bright flavor — their light roast coffee sits comfortably at a 5.74 pH, compared to most light roast coffees that have a pH level around 5.
This brings us to the other, often overlooked problem with coffee's acidity: Your enamel can take a beating. Carolyn Cochran, DMD, says, "Coffee is around 5 on the pH scale, and teeth begin to soften or lose minerals around 5.5 pH." Translation? Your daily brew is gradually stripping away at your teeth like paint thinner. The average java drinker probably doesn't have to worry, but excessive coffee consumers or those with dental sensitivities may want to speak with their dentist about other options.
Another option to reduce acid is to try cold brew coffee. During the cold brew process, coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for 12-24 hours and some of the acidity is naturally removed.
While we definitely can't tell you what kind of coffee you should drink — or if you should be drinking it at all — we can suggest that you consult with your doctor to decide what's best for you.