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7 Best Chasers For Acid Reflux (And 6 to Avoid)

Let’s face it. If you suffer from acid reflux, it will be tough to find a way to drink alcoholic beverages that do not bring on an attack of acid reflux. Healthcare professionals advise those who frequently have indigestion, heartburn, and other digestive issues that the best way to avoid an attack is to refrain from drinking alcohol or limit your drinks to one a day. 

But all is not lost. Just as some types of alcohol are less likely to cause the symptoms of acid reflux, there are also a few chasers you can try that can have a more calming effect on the stomach and digestive tract. Keep reading for a list of the best chasers for those with acid reflux and those that should be avoided.

Man with digestive system showing in x-ray

Best Chasers For Acid Reflux

1. Water

Water makes an excellent chaser for your cocktail. It will not mask the taste of the alcohol, but it will dilute its strength and potency and soften the “kick” when it hits your stomach. It should help avoid the symptoms of acid reflux and help you stay hydrated at the same time. Using water as a chaser can improve your chances of having that drink with no ill effects from acid reflux.

Water is necessary for our overall health and well-being. It has a neutral pH and naturally aids in the digestive process. Because of its neutral pH, it can reduce the effects of acid reflux. This neutral pH makes using water as a chaser for an alcoholic beverage one of the best options for those with acid reflux.

2. Apple Juice

Apple juice is a fruit juice that is easier on the stomach. Apples are considered moderately acidic and fall on a pH scale of 3.35 to 4.0. The pH of orange juice ranges from 3.3 to 4.2. While the two fruits fall within similar ranges, apple juice is the wiser choice for someone with acid reflux than citrus fruit juices. 

According to Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, “apples are less meddlesome in the esophagus” and help to reduce the effects of “gastroesophageal reflux disease.”

Although some brands of apple juice contain sugar, which contributes to acid reflux, we can avoid this by using an all-natural brand of apple juice with no added sugar or by diluting the juice with water to reduce the effects of the sugar.

3. Grape Juice

Grape juice is another fruit juice often included on lists of fruits and fruit juices considered safe for persons with acid reflux. But, in reality, grape juice falls on the pH scale of 3.2 to 4, making it one of the higher-acid fruit juices. However, there is some debate about its effect on acid reflux because grape juice, once digested, becomes alkaline with a pH level of 8.5.

If grape juice is one of your favorite fruit juices, it might be worth trying to see how your body reacts to it before taking it completely off your list of possible chasers.

4. Pear Juice

Pears are even lower on the pH scale than apples. They range between 3.5 and 4.6, depending on the variety. This lower pH makes pear juice an even better choice as a chaser for a shot of alcohol for anyone who has acid reflux.

Pears are high in potassium and natural pectin, a fiber that promotes healthy digestion. This makes pear juice a healthy choice as a chaser, aiding in reducing the effects of acid reflux.

5. Coconut Water

Unsweetened coconut water is an excellent choice as a chaser for someone with acid reflux. It helps balance the pH levels in the digestive tract and is an excellent source of potassium and other electrolytes.

In addition to helping balance pH levels, coconut water is a low-calorie and low-sugar drink that promotes healthy skin and may help with weight management through proper hydration. 

A word of caution, however, to anyone with kidney issues is that coconut water is high in potassium, and coconut water intake should be monitored closely by those who must watch their potassium levels. 

6. Low-calorie Beer

Because some types of beer are lower in calories and carbohydrates, the low-calorie versions are a better choice as chasers than regular beer for those trying to ward off an acid reflux attack.

The least acidic low-calorie beer is made with barley malt. Malted barley contains phosphates known as acidic buffers with a natural pH of between 5.2 and 5.4. 

The least acidic and an excellent example of a low-calorie beer that would be less likely to cause acid reflux is a pale lager like Samuel Adams Boston Lager

7. Red Wine

There are many health benefits associated with drinking wine. All wine contains antioxidants believed to support a healthy heart and promote longevity.

While some wines are high in acid content and are known to cause symptoms of acid reflux, lower-acid red wines do not cause those symptoms in some people. Wines known for their low acidity and may be good to add to your list of chasers include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

When looking for a red wine to try as a chaser, keep these attributes in mind:

  • It should be a deeper, more full-bodied red.
  • It should not taste sharp or sour.
  • It should not taste citrusy.

Chasers Acid Reflux Sufferers Should Avoid 

1. Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks are one of the triggers of acid reflux for many people. Any drinks with carbonation cause “gastric distension,” leading to “pressure on the esophageal sphincter, ” promoting acid reflux.

According to WebMD, anyone with heartburn or other gastric issues would be better off avoiding carbonated drinks altogether.

2. Citrus Juice

All citrus juices, orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime, etc., contain high levels of citric acid, which causes the stomach to produce more stomach acid. So, people with digestive issues like heartburn and acid reflux should avoid fruits containing citric acid. 

Since citric acid is known to be one of the primary triggers of acid reflux, people with acid reflux should not use fruit juice containing citric acid as a chaser for a shot of alcohol.

3. Beer

Any alcoholic beverage is a trigger for acid reflux. But, some types of alcohol are less likely to bring on an attack than others. While beer is a principal offender, some light beers mentioned above are less likely to cause a significant flare-up.

4. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is another fruit juice you will often see on lists of fruits and fruit juices considered safe for persons with acid reflux. In reality, it is one of the higher-acid fruit juices falling on the pH scale at 2.3 to 2.5. 

In addition to irritating the lining of the digestive tract, cranberry juice can interact with certain drugs, particularly blood thinners, and aspirin. But, despite these negative aspects of drinking cranberry juice, it is believed to be beneficial in treating and preventing UTIs and vaginal infections. According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, this belief is not definitive and requires additional research.

Cranberry juice should be avoided altogether as a chaser.

5. High-acid & Sparkling Wine

Wine, like most other types of alcoholic beverages, is one of the triggers of acid reflux. White and sparkling wines are especially offensive to the lining of the digestive tract. 

White wines are made from more acidic grapes with a higher pH and are more likely to cause symptoms of acid reflux than red wines. Some of the red wines would be worth trying as a chaser.

Sparkling Wines are more likely to lead to an acid reflux attack because it is more acidic and contains carbonation, a known acid reflux trigger. These two properties make sparkling wines double trouble for chasing a shot of alcohol.

6. Tomato Juice

Tomatoes and tomato juice are among the worst offenders for causing acid reflux. Because tomatoes are loaded with citric and malic acids, they cause the stomach to produce large amounts of gastric acid, which leads to severe and painful digestive issues.

Anyone with acid reflux should avoid tomatoes in any shape, form, or fashion.

Tips On Alcoholic Beverages For Acid Reflux Sufferers 

Here are a few things you can try that may help you to have the occasional drink without suffering a full-fledged attack. 

  • Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Avoid cocktails with citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and grapefruit juice.
  • Stick with mixed drinks made with lower-acid fruit juices like apple and pear.
  • Avoid drinks made with peppermint, chocolate, and coffee, known irritants to the stomach lining and esophagus.
  • Limit your alcoholic intake to drinks that do not increase stomach acidity, such as red wine.
  • Stick with drinks made with distilled spirits, including gin, tequila, mezcal, non-grain vodkas, cognac, and whiskey, that are lower in acidity than the other types of alcohol.
  • Refrain from drinking any alcohol within two to three hours of bedtime.

Final Thoughts

To have the occasional drink without suffering an acid reflux attack, you should have better success by sticking with one of the distilled spirits and chasing the shot with one of the chasers suggested in this article. Some will work, some will not. Each individual will have different results.

I recommend trying a few combinations and keeping a journal of what works and what doesn’t so you can be more confident in ordering a drink that will not bring on the pain.

For more, check out 6 Least Acidic Alcoholic Drinks (And 6 to Avoid).