Does Coffee Cause Bloating?

Does Coffee Cause Bloating?

Drinking coffee is a great way to start the day and has been linked to various health benefits. But does coffee cause bloating? This article will discuss why you may feel bloated after your morning cup of joe and the best practices to avoid it. 

Truth Behind the Coffee Bloat

Studies have found that coffee consumption lowers the likelihood of depression, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver and endometrial cancers. So, keeping it part of your daily routine has benefits.

However, there are some potential downsides when drinking coffee, and bloating is one of them. Although this is a common side effect, the link between the consumption of coffee to bloating is not as straightforward as it may seem.

In fact, some studies found that drinking coffee may even reduce inflammation in the body. So why do some people feel bloated after their daily cup of coffee? Certain factors such as caffeine and acidity levels, additives, when and how often you drink your coffee, and individual body chemistry can all play a role. 

The good news is that you do not need to remove coffee altogether to reduce bloating, you just need to understand what exactly is causing bloating and ways to limit it. 

Reasons Why Coffee Makes You Bloated

There are several reasons coffee makes you bloated; let’s take a closer look at why this happens. 

Overexcites the Digestive Tract

The digestive tract is a delicate system of organs that works together to digest and absorb the nutrients we receive from food. When your it is overstimulated by something that you eat or drink, it can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort.

The caffeine in coffee stimulates colonic motor activity, such as peristalsis in the intestines, and causes rapid food movement through your digestive tract.

This stimulation will cause the smooth muscles of your digestive tract to contract faster than normal, leading to food being pushed through your system too quickly. This can cause gas to build up and make it hard to digest food, leading to bloating.

Additives

Do you add sugars, creams, milk, or artificial sweeteners to your morning cup of joe? Often, the primary source of our bloating may not be coming from the coffee itself but from what we’re adding to it. The additives we commonly find in coffee play a massive role in how our bodies react to it and can lead to poor digestion and bloating.

Sugar is known to cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and can be challenging to digest. Cream, milk, and other dairy products often contain lactose, which can also be hard to digest and lead to bloating due to lactose intolerance found in many humans. 

It is especially important to pay attention to additives when drinking specialty coffees out at coffee shops or restaurants. These drinks may contain a lot of added sugars and creams that can cause bloating and other digestive issues.

Coffee and Our Production of Cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone released by the body when it experiences stress. Many people associate this hormone with feelings of anxiety and agitation, but it is also responsible for helping regulate our metabolism and digestion. 

Although this is a healthy and necessary response for the body, too much cortisol can lead to unwanted side effects, including bloating.

When you drink coffee, caffeine intake can cause a spike in cortisol production as it is a stimulant that can make you feel more alert and energized. This increase in cortisol can throw off your gut microbiota by increasing the number of “bad” bacteria in your GI tract.

When your gut microbiome is unbalanced with more bad bacteria than good, it is common to experience bloating. This is especially true in people who do not drink a lot of coffee and may be more sensitive to its effects on their bodies.

Coffee Is Acidic and a Natural Diuretic

Coffee has a high acidity level that can irritate the lining of your stomach and intestines. This can lead to inflammation that makes it difficult for the food you eat to be properly digested, causing gas and bloating. This effect is especially prevalent if you drink coffee on an empty stomach.

Coffee is also a natural diuretic, which can lead to increased urination and loss of sodium and electrolytes, leaving you dehydrated. When you drink coffee, your body releases more water than it takes in, making it harder for your body to absorb and use vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals. 

For example, drinking coffee causes you to lose potassium, which is vital for reducing water retention in the body. When your body cannot process and absorb essential nutrients, it can lead to uncomfortable bloating symptoms.

Ways To Limit Coffee Bloating

Coffee can cause bloating, but the good news is there are ways to limit this bloating.

Decrease Coffee Consumption

If you have noticed that drinking coffee makes you bloated, the best way to ease your symptoms is to reduce or eliminate your intake of coffee. Try slowly cutting back on the amount you drink so your body can adjust and avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, depression, and flu-like symptoms.

You may choose to replace one cup of coffee with a mug of herbal tea or decaf coffee or have only 1-2 cups of coffee per day instead of your regular 3-4. As your body adjusts to lower levels of caffeine, you can continue to ween off it safely. 

Reduce Sugar

Try cutting back on these ingredients if you drink coffee with added sugar or flavored syrups. Reducing the amount of sugar you consume can help reduce your symptoms while enjoying coffee. 

If you can’t imagine life without a bit of sweetness in your coffee, switch from refined to natural sugars. Refined sugars such as white sugar and syrups are heavily processed and high-inflammatory with no nutritional benefits.

Natural sugars such as honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup are less processed and can contain antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. They can make your coffee sweet without the added bloating from refined sugars, although no sugar is still the healthiest option. 

Cut Down On Milk and Creamers

Completely removing milk and creamers is the best option, but it can be difficult. If you love a creamy cup of coffee, try switching to non-dairy milk such as:

  • Soy milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Cashew Milk

You can also find creamers made with non-dairy ingredients. Each has a different taste, consistency, and nutritional profile, so try them out and find one that works.

These alternatives can be lower in calories and contain fewer inflammatory additives than their dairy counterparts, but make sure to read the label and choose one accordingly. 

Look Out For Acidity

Finally, if you are determined to keep drinking coffee, try to buy dark-roasted coffee beans. There are fewer compounds in these beans that cause stomach cells to produce acid. Light-roasted coffees have a higher acidity and are more prone to causing bloating.

Brewing methods can also affect the acidity levels in your coffee. High-heat brewing methods such as espresso machines or drip coffee pots can cause more acid to enter your cup — and consequently your stomach. Cold brew coffee takes more time to make than other brewing methods, but the lack of heat reduces the acidity, therefore, the chance of bloating.

Stick to low-pressure brewing methods with dark-roasted beans. These methods are better for your stomach and will help to reduce the chances of bloating. The best option for low-acidity coffee is to opt for a cold brew method, with the runner-up being a French press.

Conclusion

Did this article help answer the question, Does Coffee Cause Bloating? If you try these tips, there is a great chance you’ll find relief from coffee-induced bloating.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and what works for you in the comment section. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and family. Happy Brewing!

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