Does Coffee Help With Digestion? (Explained)

Coffee stimulates the movement of your colon muscles, which promotes peristalsis, therefore leading to bowel movements. It has been observed to stimulate motility in the digestive tract which can ultimately improve digestion and excretion.

However, doctors don’t recommend coffee to be consumed particularly for this purpose because of inconclusive searches and evidence.

Most of us need to have at least a couple of mugs of coffee to keep going throughout our day. Although the brew has several health benefits, there’s still confusion about how coffee affects digestion.

While many people can relate to coffee’s ability in aiding digestion, it doesn’t work in the same way for others.

These mixed opinions can lead to confusion and therefore, I have planned to unfold all the details that you need to know to decide whether coffee does help with digestion or not.

So let’s move on and keep reading! 

Does Coffee Stimulate Digestion?

Coffee does help in stimulating colonic motor activity that ultimately helps the digestive system.

study indicated that moderate consumption of coffee leads the stomach to produce gastric acid, which can improve your digestive system.

It is observed that many people in the United States are getting affected by gallstones. The study refers to other reports indicating that daily caffeine consumption can be effective in reducing gallstones disease.

Evidence indicates that coffee can be a defensive agent against many causes of gastrointestinal disease.

Another study reveals that coffee can help people repair their digestive function back to normal after going through abdominal surgery. 

So, it turns out because of the coffee’s ability to cause bowel movements, it can help with the digestive tract and excretion.

How Does Coffee Affect Digestion?

coffee surrounded by coffee grounds

Coffee can affect digestion by promoting movement in your stomach and by stimulating the colon which results in fecal excretion.

Following are different ways in which coffee can affect digestion:

  • Bowel Stimulating Effects
  • Acts as a Laxative
  • Can Indirectly Cause Constipation
  • Upset Stomach

Bowel Stimulating Effects 

Coffee stimulates your bowel movement. For many people, it speeds up the system and makes them visit the toilet soon after consuming it.

However, it doesn’t act in the same way for everyone.

A study published in Gut had 29 volunteers who all drank coffee to analyze its effect on their digestive system. They all claimed that drinking coffee stimulates their need to visit the toilet.

The scientific research results indicated they experienced similar effects both from regular and decaffeinated coffee on their lower bowel. 

Acts as a Laxative

Caffeine in coffee is commonly known to have laxative properties. It also increases peristalsis which is a muscle contraction that pushes food through the digestive tract.

Caffeine gets to its peak level in your body an hour after consumption but its results start to appear soon after you drink a cup of strong coffee.

This is the reason why many people prefer drinking coffee first thing in the morning so that it can help them with bowel regulation.

Can Indirectly Cause Constipation

Excessive consumption of coffee can be diuretic for your system. This means more blood will be flown to your kidneys which can lead to increased urination and can ultimately cause dehydration which can become a reason for constipation. 

It’s always better to drink a lot of water if you are fond of drinking too much coffee. Consuming a lot of water can prevent dehydration that causes constipation.

Want to find out more about how coffee affects your bowels? Find it out here.

Upset Stomach

Coffee increases the stomach’s acidity by releasing gastric secretions. You might also feel irritation in the intestinal lining, which might cause an upset stomach. 

A high caffeine intake can cause ulcers and gastritis; the symptoms can aggravate caffeine consumption if you already have gastrointestinal problems.

Lastly, to summarize the effects of caffeine on your digestive system, I would suggest you consume coffee in moderation. People with gallstones or upset stomachs should consult their doctor to know how much caffeine is safe for their digestive system. 

FDA also suggests 400mg of caffeine in a day as a safe intake for healthy people. 

You can watch the following video to learn more about how coffee affects your digestive system.

Does Coffee Aid In Digestion If Taken After A Meal?

food on a plate

Drinking coffee after a meal can be helpful for your digestive system. The caffeine in coffee causes your intestinal tract muscles to contract more frequently and this way the food and waste move along more quickly.

For thousands of years, after-dinner coffee has been a tradition for millions of people around the globe. Some drink it to continue the conversation with loved ones around the dinner table while others drink it for health reasons.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, caffeine helps your digestive system in releasing stomach acid. However, there is not enough evidence about coffee helping in breaking down food effectively.

Can Coffee Be Consumed On An Empty Stomach?

Though many of us crave a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning, it is certainly not recommended to consume coffee on an empty stomach.

This is because coffee stimulates the production of stomach acid, which is responsible for splitting up the proteins and breaking down the food.

When you consume coffee on an empty stomach, there is nothing for the stomach to break down, which can cause several problems such as irritation of the bowel, bloating, or irritation of the colon.

If you experience digestive problems after drinking coffee on an empty stomach, then you should have your coffee after a meal. 

Especially those who have sensitive stomachs or caffeine sensitivity should eat something before sipping on their cup of joe.

If you want to avoid but really can’t get going without sipping on a refreshing drink, here are some drinks that can refresh you and aid your digestion at the same time:

Drink TypeBenefit
Acidophilus MilkPromote stool regularity and prevent diarrhea
Peppermint TeaIt reduces spasms in the gut
Potato SoupReducing the risk of scoffing-induced heartburn and providing vitamines
Fennel TeaPacked with fiber, fennel relieves constipation and gas
Ginger TeaCalming inflammation 
WaterHelps to regulate bowel movements.

Drinks to help the digestive system

Can Coffee Help Me In Losing Weight?

A person measuring their waist

The caffeine in coffee causes your intestinal tract muscles to contract more frequently. This in turn leads to food and waste moving along more quickly. The longer the food stays in your intestines, the more weight you can gain.

Caffeine has also been observed to accelerate the digestion process and help with lipid metabolism.

Though coffee contains many essential nutrients including niacin, potassium, and antioxidants, this is also true that coffee alone would not make you lose weight. You will still have to exercise frequently and maintain a healthy diet.

Many people use powdered coffee to lose weight without knowing the side effects of consuming too much caffeine. It is important to keep an eye on your daily intake of caffeine to avoid the harmful effects associated with its excessive consumption.

To Sum It All Up

Coffee can be helpful for the digestion process as it is observed to reduce sugar absorption and ease constipation. However, it’s important to be careful with the amount you consume in a day, as too much coffee can also be detrimental to your digestive system and overall health.

While many people can relate to coffee’s ability in aiding their digestive system, others find it to be a cause of an increase in fluid loss, stomach aches, and even diarrhea.

However, it is widely known that coffee has many health benefits too that can beat its side effects so, it’s best to have a moderate amount of coffee as a part of your diet.  

Many people also believe that coffee can be effective in weight loss due to caffeine’s ability to increase metabolism. However, it can only be useful if accompanied by a healthy diet and frequent exercise. In my opinion, coffee shouldn’t be a problem for you as long as you consume it in moderation. Just be conscious of how much coffee you’re consuming and you’ll be able to reap its benefits!

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Marty Spargo

Caffeine aficionado and coffee student (if there's such a thing!). I've come to love coffee in recent years and share what I learn along the way on this website.

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