Coffee consumption: How to avoid gastrointestinal problems
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks – not only – for Germans. But consuming a favorite hot beverage often causes symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain or bloating. The nutritionist explains how such gastrointestinal problems can be avoided.
Many people cannot start the day until they drink coffee in the morning. However, this morning routine causes stomach problems for some. But if you follow a few recommendations, you don’t have to do without a delicious hot drink.
Heartburn and gas
“The acid or fat content of coffee can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as heartburn and bloating,” explains registered nutritionist Andrea Dunn in a recent article in a renowned clinic in Cleveland (USA).
Drinking coffee with caffeine increases the amount of acid that is already in the stomach, which alleviates the effects of acid reflux and heartburn, the expert explains.
Coffee has its pros and cons. “But there are many low-acid options you can try to address with your symptoms,” says Dunn.
Less acidic alternatives
Caffeine and caffeic acid are the main culprits for why coffee can clog your stomach. “Caffeine is a natural stimulant, but it also increases contractions in the digestive tract and the production of stomach acid,” says the nutritionist.
Depending on the type of coffee you drink, it can also contain high levels of acids, which makes food easier to digest and makes you run to the bathroom more quickly.
Coffee with a high acid content includes coffee made from arabica beans and lightly roasted coffee.
But there are alternatives that are less acidic. Dunn lists some of them:
Dark roasted coffee tends to be less acidic because it contains fewer compounds that cause stomach cells to produce acid.
Since it takes less time to prepare an espresso or hot espresso drink, the acid that ends up in your cup is reduced.
Cold cooking is done by soaking ground coffee in cold water or water at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. The long process of soaking in combination with colder beer temperatures produces less bitter substances, and therefore less acid.
Low acidity coffee
“Today, you can find coffee specialties whose beans and ground coffee contain less acid,” says Dunn.
Mixtures of coffee from mushrooms or chicory
This is a new trend in the wide world of coffee and it tastes better than it sounds. Mushrooms are also associated with health benefits – one of which is the reduction of inflammation. Chicory has been used as a drink since the 19th century. Chicory coffee is made from the roots of the chicory plant, which are roasted, ground and brewed into a coffee-like beverage.
Adjust your coffee drinking habits
Some changes in your coffee drinking habits can also save you from gastrointestinal problems and allow you to take advantage of all the health benefits that coffee offers:
- Do not drink coffee on an empty stomach
- Limit the daily amount to a maximum of three to four cups
- Switch from sour cream to low-fat milk or use almond, soy or low-sugar oat milk
- Use a paper filter instead of a metal one, as the paper will trap more acids that would otherwise flow into the cup
If heartburn and gas are still a problem, talk to your doctor.
Drinks such as matcha, green tea, black tea or kombucha contain caffeine, but have different effects on the body. (ad)
Author and source information
This text is in accordance with the requirements of the specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical experts.
- Cleveland Clinic: Why does coffee bother my stomach? (Abruff: 09.10.2021), Cleveland Clinic
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.