You’ve probably enjoyed drinking coffee, only for your stomach to hurt later on. Wondering why this could be happening?
Well, it’s something that happens to many people. It’s quite common to experience some stomach discomfort soon after taking coffee.
There’re certain reasons why this may happen. The good thing is that you can avoid or minimize stomach irritation after taking coffee.
Thus, you don’t have to avoid drinking coffee altogether. In this article, you’ll learn why coffee might be hurting your stomach.
Compounds in Coffee That Might Hurt Your Stomach
There’re several compounds in coffee that can irritate your stomach including:
Coffee contains a stimulant known as caffeine. It’s one of the most active ingredients in coffee. Caffeine works by helping you stay awake. An 8-ounce cup of regular coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine.
Although caffeine works as a stimulant, research studies indicate that caffeine can make the digestive tract experience more contractions.
For instance, drinking caffeinated coffee increases colon contractions by 60 percent more than pure water and 23 percent more than decaffeinated coffee.
Thus, consuming caffeine stimulates the lower gut. The increased contractions can hurt your stomach.
The digestive system requires stomach acid. Stomach acid assists in the digestive and absorption process by breaking down what you consume.
However, excessive acid in the stomach can cause stomachache. Research shows that coffee contains several acids that increase the production of stomach acid. As a result, drinking coffee can irritate your stomach due to excessive acidity.
Acidity is typically measured within a range of 0 to 14. Pure water is rated at a neutral pH level of 7.0. A higher pH level than 7 is alkaline while a lower pH level than 7 is acidic. Coffee has an average pH level of 5.0. Thus, it’s an acidic beverage.
If you drink coffee and experience general discomfort, belching, or bloating, then it’s likely due to the acidity in coffee. If you experience a similar discomfort when taking other acidic beverages such as fruit juices and alcohol, you’ll definitely get affected by coffee.
Sometimes, it’s not coffee that upsets your stomach but other additives you add to milk such as sweeteners, cream, or milk. Actually, the majority of coffee lovers prefer drinking coffee with additives rather than drinking black coffee.
Research shows that 65 percent of people globally are unable to digest lactose properly. Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk. If you’re unable to digest lactose, you’ll experience issues such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloating.
Can Decaffeinated Coffee Hurt Your Stomach?
For some people, drinking decaf coffee can eliminate the issue of stomach irritation, especially if the problem is resulting from caffeine.
However, decaffeinated coffee contains acids just like regular coffee. In this case, it can still cause stomach irritation if you’re susceptible to acidity problems in your stomach.
Also, adding sweeteners, cream, or milk to decaffeinated coffee can hurt your stomach if you’re sensitive to any of these additives.
How to Avoid Stomach Irritation from Coffee
If you experience stomach issues soon after drinking coffee, there’re certain things you can do to reduce or eliminate this problem including:
- Drink coffee slowly and in small sips. That way, it’ll be easier for your stomach to handle the effects of coffee.
- Brew coffee with darker roasts. Research shows that beans roasted at a higher temperature for a longer period are less acidic. Thus, darker roasts have a lower acidity than lighter coffee roasts.
- Try switching to cold brew coffee. Research findings indicate that cold brew coffee has a lower acidity than hot-brewed coffee.
- Brew with coarser coffee grounds. Research indicates that finer grounds allow for the extraction of more acids when brewing. Thus, coffee brewed from coarser grounds may have less acidity than coffee brewed from finer grounds.
- Eat a banana while drinking coffee. Bananas contain a high amount of carbohydrates, calcium, and potassium. Thus, they counterbalance the effects of coffee on the stomach. Thus, eating a banana while drinking coffee may prevent stomach irritation.
- Reduce your coffee intake. If you drink a lot of coffee daily, you can reduce your intake to reduce its effects on your stomach. Although reducing your coffee intake may be a little challenging, it might be your only way to reduce stomach irritation.
- Drink enough water. Research shows that coffee is a diuretic. Thus, it can cause dehydration. As a result, you should drink enough water to counteract the dehydrating effect of coffee. Water can assist in flushing out any stomach irritants, thereby reducing stomach discomfort.
- Don’t drink coffee while hungry. If you drink coffee after waking up without eating anything, it might be the cause of your stomach irritation. Preferably, eat something before drinking coffee to make it easier for your stomach lining. You can eat something small such as milk with cereal, a protein, or banana.
- Switch to milk alternatives. If you’re intolerant to lactose but you love taking coffee with milk, consider switching to plant-based milk alternatives such as almond or soy milk.
- Drink some aloe vera juice. Research shows that aloe vera has calming effects due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it contains minerals and vitamins. Thus, it can detoxify your body and ease abdominal pain.
As you can see, coffee contains numerous compounds that can hurt your stomach. They include coffee acids, additives, and caffeine.
If you’re able to know the compound affecting you, it’ll be easier to fight the problem.
Regardless, the above solutions are likely to assist you in reducing or eliminating stomach irritation after drinking coffee. Thus, you don’t have to forego your favorite cup of coffee.