Do you suspect that your favorite cup of coffee is causing you to feel a little puffy? A short while after emptying your cup, you experience bowel movements followed by a gassy feel or even an upset stomach. It’s only understandable to question if your coffee could be the culprit.
Let’s find out if coffee would cause your stomach to bloat and how you can calm the bloating.
Can Coffee Cause Bloating?
Coffee is a delightful beverage that provides a fair share of health benefits, such as the reduced risk of diabetes, stroke, and other heart diseases. This energy-boosting drink, however, can cause undesirable stomach effects for some people.
Bloating is one of those effects.
There are several reasons why you may experience bloating after drinking coffee, and not all of them are coffee-related.
The natural reaction to coffee
Any time you drink coffee, your body produces the hormone cortisol. This is the same chemical the body produces when scared or stressed. The body reacts by increasing blood sugar levels and turning them into fat. This fat, often stored in the middle belly, causes stomach bloating.
Various stomach issues are associated with bloating; most of these relate to indigestion and gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Any food that triggers IBS symptoms (such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation) can further the stomach discomfort and bloat. While coffee doesn’t cause gastrointestinal issues (GI) for everyone, it’s one of the foods that can produce IBS symptoms for some people. The affected individuals are a minority who are sensitive to caffeine.
Caffeine sensitivity or how quickly your body metabolizes caffeine highly depends on your genetics, alcohol intake, and diet. While you may not control how your body metabolizes caffeine, reducing caffeine intake can ease stomach upset. Excessive caffeine intake, even for regular drinkers, can cause stomach distress. As such, it’s vital to control your daily coffee intake to a maximum of 400 milligrams of caffeine (about 4 to 5 cups of coffee).
Caffeine in coffee also stimulates the production of gastrin and gastric acid in your gut, which enhances your digestion. To some people, this excessive stimulation of gastric acid can cause gastrointestinal distress.
Acidity in coffee
As an acidic beverage, coffee can cause stomach distress and accompanying problems such as bloating. If your stomach is sensitive to acidic foods, you may be susceptible to coffee’s high acidic levels. Like other highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, your digestive tract may irritate causing bloating. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach may cause even more adverse effects.
One possible solution to curb this acidity in coffee is to select the right coffee beans. Dark roasted coffee beans are roasted longer and at a higher temperature than light and medium beans, which reduces the caffeine content. The dark roast has a lower acid secretion effect in the stomach, hence causing low gut irritation.
Even with these acidic fears, coffee can also diversify the bacteria in your gut, which improves your overall health. The beverage has been recommended as an effective and safe drink for those recovering from gastrointestinal function after abdominal surgery.
If your favorite brew contains any dairy (milk, cream, or any other dairy product), it may be a reason for your bloated stomach. Milk and milk products contain lactose, a natural sugar that not everyone’s body can effectively break down, causing bloating and gas.
Your body naturally produces lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose. Unfortunately, the amount of lactase decreases with age. Lactose malabsorption, a digestive symptom of lactose intolerance, is a common issue affecting 68 percent of the world’s population.
To ease bloating from dairy, consider reducing your dairy intake in your coffee. Alternatively, avoid dairy altogether. Instead, opt for not dairy products (plant-based) such as almond (and other nuts), soy, coconut, oat milk.
Sweeteners in coffee are the other culprits of your coffee bloat. Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes, and alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol, are not easily digested in the body. Sweeteners, although low in calories, when consumed in large quantities, can cause excessive gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Besides, these artificial sweeteners can cause harmful effects to your gut’s digestive microbes. You may want to audit if your artificial sweeteners are leading to excess gas in your stomach.
Now that you know what causes bloating in coffee, you want to understand how the type of coffee you drink might cause you bloating
No coffee is alike, but not even the healthiest variation can guarantee bloating-free effects.
Does Black Coffee Cause Stomach Bloating?
Like most people, you may like your coffee black for its delicious flavor–no additives or milk added to it. Unfortunately, black coffee may be the very cause of coffee bloat as it contains a high level of acid and can irritate the stomach more. On taking it, black coffee is believed to overexcite the digestive tract, which in turn causes mini spasms causing bloating and even gassing.
Even though these effects are temporary, they will affect your experience with your favorite cup of joe. Adding milk to your coffee may help solve this, but be sure to use dairy-free milk to avoid the added effects of dairy on your stomach.
Does White Coffee Cause Stomach Bloating?
White coffee is less likely to cause bloating as long as the milk used is dairy-free. White coffee is recommended for anyone who experiences bloating on taking black coffee. The milk will neutralize the bold and complex nature of coffee in black coffee making it less acidic and less bloating effects to your stomach.
Does Decaf Coffee Cause Stomach Bloating?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, caffeine sensitivity is the main cause of an upset stomach for most people. To that end, decaf coffee should be your first consideration if you’re sensitive to caffeine and not any other component in coffee. However, even without caffeine, coffee is acidic. As such, it may still cause your stomach to bloat and other digestive problems.
Does Coffee Cause Other Stomach Problems?
Bloating is not the only stomach problem that results from coffee intake. Different people experience the effects of an upset stomach differently. That’s why along with bloating, you may experience other stomach upsets, gas, and constipation.
Other people will experience acid reflux or heartburn, which in excess can lead to ulcers. Coffee may also worsen symptoms of IBS and inflammatory bowel diseases. Of course, most of these symptoms prevail with underlying conditions or in excess consumption of coffee.
Is Coffee Good for a Bloated Stomach?
Some people claim coffee to work well for their bloated stomachs, but it highly depends on a person. Ultimately, you don’t want to add caffeine to an already bloated stomach. It may worsen the situation cause more painful cramps and constipation. Even if caffeine causes you no stomach issues, taking it on an already bloated stomach might.
Does Coffee on an Empty Stomach Cause Gas?
You likely take your coffee on an empty stomach, especially in the morning. In such a case, if bloating occurs, caffeine isn’t the issue. It could be your coffee habit before eating is the problem. Given the complexity of the drink and its effects of increasing the secretion of gastric, coffee on an empty stomach is likely to cause you trouble. As the caffeine and stomach acids find no food to work on, your stomach lining will take the discomfort, which will cause bloating.
How Long Does Coffee Bloat Last?
This question has no definite answer. It all depends on how bloated your stomach is, your body type, metabolism, and the remedy you take to clear bloating. In most cases, however, coffee bloat will disappear after you empty the stomach content and gas.
How to Get Rid of Coffee Bloat
The first remedy to coffee bloat is stomach-friendly coffees. Less acidic coffee is less likely to upset your stomach. Less acidic coffees are from coffee beans that are grown in low altitude regions. Of course, your coffee should be of a dark roast, which also has lower acidic content.
With the right coffee bean, the next thing you want to consider is your brewing method. Faster coffee bean brewing methods tend to excrete high content acid content. Try cold brewing to cut the acidic content in your final coffee.
If you drink more than 5 cups of coffee in a day, it’s time to cut it down. Too much cortisol from excess coffee intake poses a greater risk of stomach problems. In addition, you want to add your water intake to slow the bloating and hydrate. You also want to learn a few relaxing tips to keep your stress level low. This will ultimately bring your cortisol levels back to normal.
If you have a highly sensitive stomach where bloating causes severe discomfort to the extent you’re unable to function properly it may be best to ditch your coffee for good. Though this is a drastic move that should only come after serious thought, it may be the only way to get rid of bloating.
How to Reduce Coffee Bloat
Ultimately, you want to avoid a bloated stomach than managing one. But various natural remedies work well to reduce or stop coffee bloat. Try them to find out which works best for your stomach.
Water-rich fruits and vegetables: These include bananas, strawberries, kiwi, avocado, watermelon, and cucumber.
Ginger: A powerful digestive and anti-inflammatory aid.
Dark chocolate: It contains anti-inflammatory bacteria that will neutralize any inflammation in your gut.
Green tea: Very effective in reducing bloat and increase digestive metabolism.
Asparagus: As a natural diuretic, asparagus will absorb water-reducing discomfort and blot.
Oregano: The powerful herb is effective in eliminating harmful (and excessive healthy) bacteria from the stomach.
Other remedies include fennel, yogurt, and oatmeal.
While you may look forward to your morning coffee brew, it’s essential to evaluate whether it’s what causing you a bloated stomach. Even if coffee bloat is usually temporal, it still is bothersome. Now that you know the actual culprits of bloating, you want to examine your coffee drinking habits to discover the cause of the distress.
Track when you drink your coffee, what you put in it, and the symptoms that follow each event. If you want to continue savoring the brew without bloating problems, avoid any elements that cause bloating symptoms.