Most of us enjoy our morning cup of coffee. But you may be wondering, how is that daily coffee affecting your gut health? Some studies have shown that caffeine can actually benefit your gut. In this blog, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of caffeine, as well as how much is too much.
People love coffee for the energy boost, as well as the simple routine of it all — brewing the pot, pouring it into your favorite mug, and slowly easing into the day. You don’t have to give it up completely, but you might want to be more aware of what it’s doing to your body.
Coffee has been shown to increase the motility of the smooth muscles in the intestinal tract, improving bowel movement. It has also long been associated with many other health benefits — it has been found to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Some studies have also shown that drinking 3 cups of coffee on a daily basis can reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. Caffeine will stimulate your digestive system and reduce bowel transit time.
For some people, drinking coffee can exacerbate symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach pain. This is caused by the acidity in coffee beans that your stomach may not be able to handle.
In some cases coffee can also loosen the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, which separate the stomach from the esophagus. If this happens, stomach juices can enter the esophagus, which will further exacerbate those symptoms. Sometimes, this can be accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, coughing, and sore throat.
Some people also report that coffee causes diarrhea, because of the way that caffeine stimulates the digestive tract muscles.
If you have a gut condition, such as ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome, drinking coffee may cause flare-ups and other unpleasant symptoms. But don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice coffee for good. There are ways to make coffee more gut-friendly.
Adjusting Your Coffee Routine
The first thing to look for is low-acid options. As we said before, coffee beans have acidity, and more acids develop when the beans are roasted. If you read the labels, some beans are specifically marked as low acid.
You can also try mixing it up with half-decaf coffee. Because caffeine is the main culprit of digestive issues in coffee, mixing your regular coffee with decaf may lower the amount of gut issues you experience.
Also consider trying cold-brew coffee! Cold-brewed coffee is 65% less acidic than regular hot-brewed coffee, making it a great option to improve your gut health. If you still need that feeling of a hot cup of joe in the morning, don’t worry — you can cold-brew your coffee, then heat it in a small pot so it’s hot.
Here’s an interesting tip that you might’ve never heard before — try adding eggshells to your coffee grounds. Eggshells are bases, which means they neutralize acids (like the ones in your coffee). If you break an egg, wash the shell, and break it into small pieces, you can mix the pieces with ground coffee to neutralize the acidity of your coffee.
One easy replacement is the creamer or milk you add to your coffee. If you at all suspect that you might be lactose intolerant, switching to a dairy alternative could make all the difference in your gut health. Some popular alternatives are coconut, almond, and cashew milk.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to adapt your coffee routine to make it healthier for your gut, without sacrificing your morning cup.
How Much is Too Much?
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you may worry that you’re overdoing it, especially if you’re having symptoms of an unhappy gut. The recommended daily caffeine intake is 400mg or less, which is about 4-5 cups of coffee. That’s quite a lot! Two or three cups a day will likely not hinder your health.
Beware of energy drinks, which contain larger and more concentrated amounts of caffeine. By drinking as few as two of these, you may be over the daily limit. If you’re over the limit of caffeine you may experience symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, stomach pain, and restlessness.
Overall, coffee has its pros and cons. If drinking a cup of coffee is a form of self-care, then by all means, you should continue to do so! You just need to be mindful of any upset gut symptoms, and make sure you’re not getting too much caffeine.
If you love the extra energy boost that coffee gives you, consider Dr. Emil’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom capsules. This supplement, made of high-quality organic lion’s mane mushroom powder, can enhance your focus, clarity, and memory.
Be sure to check out Dr. Emil’s blog for more exciting information about health and nutrition!