If you are struggling with a burning sensation in your upper stomach area or chest, feel nauseous, have a lot of gas, are bloated, or find that you are regurgitating your food, you may have acid reflux. This is a very uncomfortable and even painful condition that if not treated can cause more severe health problems.
Gastritis is another health condition that affects the digestive system (1). Along with acid reflux symptoms you may experience vomiting, stomach cramps (dyspepsia), have a low appetite, and feel full after eating even just a small amount (2).
Causes of Acid Reflux
There are many reasons for acid reflux such as too much stomach acid, and usually, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) not working correctly which allows stomach acid to be pushed up into your esophagus.
Poor digestion and eating acidic, spicy, and fatty foods like tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, hot curries, peppermint, and deep-fried foods can trigger acid reflux in many people.
The LES is meant to stay closed during digestion to prevent the stomach acid from going into your esophagus, but things like obesity, constantly overeating, smoking, pregnancy, stress, or even the h.pylori bacteria causing an infection in your digestive system can cause heartburn (3, 4). Gastritis can be caused by many of the same things as acid reflux.
Along with adopting a healthy lifestyle, managing stress or other underlying causes, drinking coconut water for acid reflux is a safe natural alternative to common acid reflux medications.
Is Coconut Water Good for Heartburn?
At this time, there are no studies on coconut water for acid reflux but with the need for safe natural remedies for many health ailments, it’s only a matter of time. On many forums and blogs, there are people who attest to the fact that coconut water has helped them to find relief and even get rid of acid reflux permanently. Here’s how coconut water can help (5):
- Is coconut water acidic or alkaline? Though coconut water is slightly acidic it actually has an alkalizing effect which can soothe the burn. This is most likely due to its potassium content (600 mg per cup).
- Coconut water helps to produce a mucus lining which has a protective effect against the stomach acid (6).
- Coconut water improves both digestion and overall digestive health as it contains fiber.
It can help with the other symptoms that often accompany acid reflux like nausea making it helpful during pregnancy too (7).
- You can even use coconut water for gastritis. If you do throw up a lot, you run the risk of dehydration. Coconut water has been shown to be as effective as sports drinks at hydration (8). This is because it contains electrolytes as well as being a refreshing drink.
Coconut water can be very soothing and cooling to drink and most people get immediate relief from the symptoms.
Coconut Water for Acid Reflux
Medications that are used to treat acid reflux are effective while you take them, but often you will experience heartburn when you stop taking them. Not only this, but there can be side effects and though the risk is low, the longer you use these medications, the higher risk of some of these side effects become. The most common medication used for acid reflux are PPI (proton pump inhibitors) like omeprazole.
Coconut water, however, natural, delicious, and perfectly safe during pregnancy or otherwise unless you have a nut allergy.
1. Drink Coconut Water Twice a Day
In many of the success stories, all it took keep the acid reflux at bay was a glass of coconut water in the morning, and one in the evening. Often people experience relief within a day, if not soon after drinking a glass. This is without the help of any medication.
You may find that eating healthily, getting to and maintaining a healthy weight, along with the coconut water can get rid of acid reflux permanently after about 2-3 months.
2. Drink Coconut Water After Each Meal
Acid reflux symptoms generally show up after meals, especially if you have eaten acidic or fatty foods. If you find that the two glasses a day isn’t helping, you can try a glass of coconut after each meal. If you don’t like to drink a full glass, you can lower the amount, even half a glass can be effective.
Around 30 minutes after eating is best which also helps if you are feeling full. It’s important to bear in mind that eating big meals can increase the likelihood of acid reflux.
3. Coconut Water Smoothies
Any time you make a smoothie or even a juice, why not replace the water with coconut water. It adds that delicious coconut flavor so you may want to make sure you use it with ingredients that go well with coconut. Try some of these with coconut water in juices and smoothies, they are also known to help relieve acid reflux:
- Lemon (don’t use too much, a little lemon juice becomes alkaline in water)
- Apple (except the green apples)
Avoid adding fruits like oranges and green apples or veggies like tomatoes which can trigger heartburn. There are, however, some other helpful herbs that help with acid reflux.
4. Coconut Water Tea
You can use coconut water in your tea. Caffeinated teas may trigger acid reflux but there are some great caffeine-free teas you can try. Herbal teas often soothe digestive distress and ease acid reflux as well. Some teas also combat stress which is helpful for stress-related digestive problems.
Simply replace the water with coconut water or go half water half coconut water. Here are some teas you can try:
- Caffeine-free chai tea
Licorice root tea
5. Cook with Coconut Water
You can use coconut water when you cook. It can be used to make salad dressings, sauces, and as a substitute for water to cook your rice or oats.
What Type of Coconut Water to Use
Fresh or tender coconut water is best by far but it can be harder to find. You can buy bottled coconut water which also comes in different flavors though depending on the quality, it may not as effective as fresh coconut water. If you do purchase bottled coconut water, always choose a good quality brand and make sure that it’s unsweetened. Coconut water is naturally sweet.
How To Make Your Own Coconut Water
You can also extract your own coconut water. Choose a young (green) coconut (9). Young coconuts contain more water than the mature coconuts which do contain some water, but more coconut milk. You should be able to hear the coconut water when you shake the coconut. Then:
- Rinse the coconut well.
- Make a hole in the eye of the coconut, you may need a hammer and a clean, sturdy pointy metal tool.
- Then simply pour the coconut water into a glass or a jug.
Tips and Precautions
As mentioned, bottled coconut water may not be equal to fresh coconut water, so always make sure that you either go fresh or make sure you buy a good quality brand.
- In some people, coconut water can cause stomach upset.
If you struggle with high cholesterol, please be aware that coconut water tends to raise cholesterol, particularly LDL (bad) cholesterol
If you decide to add herbs to your coconut water to use in medicinal quantities (more than you would for cooking), first check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are on any medication to prevent interactions.
If your symptoms are very severe or you don’t experience relief from remedies, you should see your doctor. Prolonged acid reflux can also cause a sore throat or hiccups that don’t go away. It’s best to get that checked out.
You should also look out for signs of bleeding or dark stools. If this happens or you have nausea that won’t go away, you should see your doctor. The same goes if you have trouble breathing, severe pain and/or pressure in your chest and/or left arm, seek medical attention immediately. Though not common, sometimes heart attacks are mistaken for heartburn or acid reflux.
If you find that coconut water isn’t your thing, why not try coconut oil instead. There are also many other remedies for acid reflux that you can use. Please let us know if you found this helpful and tell us what other remedies got rid of your acid reflux.