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Is Coffee Good for Digestion? What to Know!

woman holding a cup of coffee

Many people enjoy coffee every morning and can find it difficult to get through the day without it. However, it often causes people to run to the bathroom afterward, leading many to wonder how it affects digestion and whether it helps. If this topic interests you, keep reading as we discuss how drinking coffee can affect your digestive process and your health in general so you can be better informed. Drinking a moderate amount of coffee can be good for your digestion. Keep reading for more!

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How Is Coffee Good for Digestion?

Stimulates the Bowels

For many people, consuming even a small amount of coffee can get the digestive process working. Muscles that control the digestive system contract and push food through the intestines, causing people to look for the nearest restroom. It can happen anytime you drink a cup, but it is most common in the morning or whenever you first wake up.

Acts as a Digestif

Some experts suggest that coffee acts as a digestif. A digestif is something that helps digest food after you eat by causing the release of stomach acid that helps break down food so digestion can start quicker. It might also function as a probiotic, helping stimulate good gut bacteria growth.

Helps Remove Waste Faster

Since coffee helps stimulate the digestive system and starts pushing material through the intestines, it helps remove waste from the body faster. Eliminating waste more quickly helps reduce the risk of certain cancers because harmful materials spend less time in the colon and against intestine walls. Some people even experience relief from constipation after drinking coffee.

Is Anti-inflammatory

Regular coffee contains a large amount of caffeine, which is an anti-inflammatory. It can help reduce swelling from infection and bruises internally and externally and even help relieve some of the swelling in the joints caused by arthritis.

young woman smiling while holding a cup of coffee
Image Credit: Candice Picard, Unsplash

How Is Coffee Bad for Digestion?

Diuretic

Coffee is a powerful diuretic, causing many people to run to the restroom soon after drinking it. It can also reduce the amount of fluid in vital organs, like the kidneys. Dehydrating the kidneys enables a higher concentration of elements that can combine to form kidney stones or bladder stones.

Irritable Bowel Disease

Many experts recommend avoiding caffeinated drinks, including coffee, if you suffer from irritable bowel disease, especially when experiencing a flare-up, as it can worsen symptoms and make you more uncomfortable.

Acid Reflux

Coffee is an acidic beverage that can cause your stomach to release more bile, leading to an upset stomach. It can make flare-ups of acid reflux worse by relaxing the flap between the esophagus and the stomach, allowing more of the acid to get in, possibly causing damage to the esophagus.

Can Damage the Intestine Lining

If you drink a large amount of coffee, the acidic beverage can damage the lining of your intestine, leading to serious issues and possibly even surgery later in life, along with increased discomfort.

empty coffee cups
Image Credit: Izz R, Unsplash

How Much Coffee Is Safe?

There’s no real limit on how much coffee you can drink, especially if you choose a decaffeinated brand. However, most experts recommend limiting your consumption of caffeine to 400 mg per day, so it’s important to watch your caffeine intake carefully. For example, the average 8-oz cup of coffee brewed at home usually has between 90 mg and 140 mg of caffeine, while certain beverages from Starbucks and other popular chains have more than 400 mg of caffeine in a single serving.

Other Benefits to Drinking Coffee

Caffeine

Coffee provides us with caffeine, which gives us the energy that we need to start our day and tackle our tasks. It also helps with brain function, so we can have more intelligent conversations and do better on tests. Consuming caffeine can also help us perform better at the gym.

Antioxidants

Coffee contains powerful antioxidants that can help boost the immune system and fight disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

The coffee’s antioxidants, minerals, and phytochemicals can help stabilize insulin levels, which can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Liver Failure Prevention

People that consume coffee over the long term have a lower risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure.

man drinking coffee
Image Credit: Olha Ruskykh, Pexels

Other Dangers to Drinking Coffee

Coffee can affect many other parts of the body besides the digestive system. For example, consuming too much caffeine will make your heart beat faster, increasing your blood pressure and putting more strain on your cardiovascular system, leading to heart problems over time. It can also make people nervous or irritable, and it takes a long time for caffeine to leave the bloodstream, which can contribute to sleepless nights.

Tips

Drink Bone Broth

Bone broth contains important ingredients that can help repair damaged intestinal walls. If you consume coffee regularly, adding this item to your diet can help reduce the damage caused by the potent acid.

Drink Plenty of Water

Consuming plenty of water can help neutralize the acid that you find in coffee. It can also help replace the fluid in the kidneys and other parts of the body that the coffee removed, helping to keep you hydrated.

Consume Coffee on a Full Stomach

One of the best things that you can do to protect your stomach and intestines from the dangerous acid is to consume coffee on a full stomach. Food can help absorb the coffee and neutralize the acid, making for a more comfortable experience.

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Summary

For many people, coffee helps get the digestive system going in the morning, which can be helpful. Due to its laxative effect, many people can find relief from minor constipation after consuming it. However, drinking coffee, especially on an empty stomach, can cause an acid reflux flare-up. The acid can also cause damage to the esophagus and intestinal walls. Limiting your intake of caffeine to 400 mg per day and consuming coffee with food will help minimize side effects, as will drinking plenty of water throughout the day.


Featured Image Credit: CURVD®, Unsplash

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Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker, a veteran writer, has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming, and of course, coffee. He drinks a lot of it when he writes, making him an expert indeed. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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