Maybe you’re a little more addicted to coffee than you want to admit. We don’t blame you; coffee is delicious. However, too much caffeine can be hard on our bodies. When that happens, your body needs to recover. We’re here to explain the mystery of why caffeine bothers your stomach, how to feel better when you’ve had too much coffee, and what to do to prevent it next time.
Why Does Coffee Upset Stomachs?
Though many people can drink coffee without any serious issues, some people are more sensitive to either the oils or the caffeine in coffee. That sensitivity can lead to stomach aches and other unpleasant symptoms. If you’re wondering why your stomach hurts after drinking coffee, the answer is most likely caffeine.
Even if you don’t have a particular sensitivity, drinking too much coffee can make you feel sick. This is because the caffeine in coffee can encourage your stomach to produce extra acid. This acid production and the way coffee’s natural oils interact with the stomach cause an imbalance, which can manifest as a stomach ache or other symptoms like heartburn and inflammation.
How to Recover: 4 Easy Remedies for Coffee Stomach Aches
Now that you know how coffee upsets stomachs, let’s go over how to make your stomach happy again after you’ve consumed too much caffeine. These methods should make you feel much better.
1. Drink herbal tea.
Tea can sometimes have caffeine, but herbal tea never does. Many kinds of herbal tea can help your stomach after acids from caffeine have irritated it. Try a flavor with ginger, such as lemon ginger or turmeric ginger, to reduce inflammation and relieve heartburn. Chamomile and licorice teas can also have the same soothing effects. Stay away from anything with peppermint or spearmint, because these can make stomach acid issues worse.
2. Drink water.
Coffee dehydrates you, so it’s important to counteract that with plenty of water. Water can also help flush out anything irritating in your system, reducing the discomfort in your stomach. Make sure you drink several glasses of water or keep a water bottle nearby for easy access.
3. Eat a healthy snack.
A way to prevent caffeine from giving you a stomachache is to eat something before or with your cup of coffee. The same principle applies to coffee as it does to alcohol: consuming food with the beverage helps to slow down the effects of the caffeine. It also helps break down the oils in the coffee.
Some foods have vitamins or other properties that counteract the unwanted effects of caffeine. Healthy snacks that can help stomach acid issues include bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, melons, and green vegetables. Try one of these snacks next time caffeine is giving you a hard time.
4. Drink aloe vera juice.
Aloe vera is calming because it has anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with other vitamins and minerals. The juice can have a detoxifying effect on your body when consumed, making your stomach feel much better.
Tip: Don’t take antacids to help with a stomachache that is caused by too much caffeine. It’s counterintuitive, but antacids can cause more acids to develop in your stomach, which will make you feel worse. Instead, try a product like coffee tamer (an anti-acid powder that you mix into your coffee).
How to Enjoy Coffee Without Upsetting Your Stomach:
Once you’ve recovered from drinking too much coffee, it’s time to learn how to avoid the issue in the future. Here are our best suggestions for enjoying your coffee — minus the unpleasant side effects.
1. Limit your caffeine intake.
The best way to avoid a caffeine-related stomach ache is to drink less coffee. Not very fun, we know, but you may want to keep an eye on your caffeine intake. Limiting your caffeine to 200-300 milligrams a day can help curb many of the symptoms that usually appear after consuming more than that. An average cup of coffee is between 120-200 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the size and the roast.
Some are more sensitive to the effects, but typically when someone consumes more than 500 milligrams of caffeine, stomach problems start. For some who drink 5+ cups of coffee a day, limiting caffeine intake is easier said than done. If you want to keep drinking lots of coffee, keep reading to find our other tips.
2. Drink low-acid coffee.
Low-acid coffee is just what it sounds like: coffee with a low level of acidity. The more balanced pH of these beans makes them less likely to upset your stomach. Consider upgrading to a gourmet option like Lifeboost, or choose from our list of the 10 best low-acid coffee brands.
3. Stick to dark roast coffee.
Another option is to stick to dark roasts. Though they contain the same amount of caffeine and acid as their lighter counterparts, dark roast coffees may limit the production of stomach acids. That means you’ll be able to drink more coffee without upsetting your stomach!
4. Give decaf a try!
Another way to decrease caffeine intake is to switch to decaf after you have had a regular cup of coffee. Many coffee fans turn up their noses at decaf, but it can be a great way to lower your caffeine intake without giving up coffee altogether. And there are quite a few delicious decaf options these days!
5. Cold brew can help.
Some people say that drinking cold brew can help with the stomach issues coffee can cause. This is because it has very low acidity due to its unique brewing process. It’s mellow and smooth, and because it’s never heated, cold brew contains fewer acids. However, keep in mind that cold brew has a more concentrated amount of caffeine, so it won’t limit caffeine intake.
Coffee Upset Stomach Remedies
- Herbal tea
- Healthy snacks
- Aloe vera juice
- Coffee tamer
- Drink herbal tea. Caffeine-free tea can help you rehydrate and soothe your coffee upset stomach.
- Drink lots of water. Water can help flush out whatever's irritating your stomach, along with rehydrating you.
- Eat a healthy snack. Consuming food with coffee helps to slow down the effects of the caffeine. It also helps break down the oils in the coffee.
- Drink aloe vera juice. Aloe vera is calming because it has anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with other vitamins and minerals.
- Try coffee tamer (an anti-acid powder that you mix into your coffee). This can help remove the acid from your coffee, reducing the symptoms of too much caffeine.
Now you have all of the best tips and tricks to recover from a coffee-related stomach ache and avoid one in the future. Next time you indulge in a little too much coffee, drink some ginger tea or grab a banana! And if you frequently have stomach issues from drinking coffee, try one of our other suggestions, like switching to low-acid, decaf, or cold brew coffee. With the help of these easy tricks, you can enjoy your coffee without worry!
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