2 Signs Coffee is Upsetting Your Stomach, According to One RD

OneEven if we absolutely love our daily latte routine (triple espresso, extra cream), our stomachs might say otherwise. Especially after sipping coffee throughout the day, it’s not uncommon for you to experience some pretty nasty side effects beyond just a drop in energy—namely, an upset stomach, nagging, and even difficulty breathing. pepper.

With that said, nutritionists agree that this doesn’t mean we need to give up coffee altogether — after all, the beverage has plenty of gut health benefits. It’s all about educating yourself so you know what your stomach can and can’t handle (here’s how you look, third espresso).

So to find the sneaky signs that coffee is irritating your stomach — and what you can do to ease your discomfort — we spoke to a registered dietitian. register, who has disclosed the information. And don’t panic: There are plenty of ways to minimize stomach problems that don’t involve eating cold turkey. Phew!

Signs that coffee is irritating your stomach

According to Marisa Silver, MS, RDN of Vivrant Nutrition, there are some common signs that coffee is irritating your stomach, including: heartburn, indigestion, burning pain in the stomach or chest, loose and bloated stools. gastroesophageal disease. reflux disease (GERD) symptoms after you drink alcohol. If you happen to experience these symptoms, it’s most likely the result of two ingredients found in the drink: caffeine and/or acid.

1. Sensitivity to caffeine

Have you ever gulped down a cup of coffee and suddenly felt like going number two? Well, this is a common symptom caused by the caffeine present in coffee. “Caffeine stimulates contractions in the intestines, and in large doses, caffeine can lead to [bathroom] urgency and loose stools,” said Silver. But that’s not all. According to RD, caffeine can also cause other side effects like acid reflux. “It can stimulate acid production in the stomach, leading to stomach discomfort, and can cause relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which in turn can trigger GERD symptoms,” Silver adds.

2. Acid irritation

In addition to caffeine, the acid in coffee can also cause irritation. “The acid in coffee—chlorogenic acid and N-alkanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide—can lead to more stomach acid production and upset stomach,” says Silver. This is also found in decaffeinated coffee. And because coffee is naturally bitter, she says this can then stimulate the stomach to produce even than acid. And, yes, this can lead to increased irritation. Sigh.

How to reduce stomach irritation from coffee

The good news is that there are ways to mitigate this unwanted reaction for those of us who aren’t ready to give up our one true love (coffee, of course).

1. Cut the caffeine content in half

For starters, Silver recommends cutting back on caffeine. “Do this by ordering half decaf, half regular, or switching to decaf entirely,” she says. Decaf coffee – although it contains acids that can also cause irritation – obviously has much less caffeine, which means that at least the two common irritants in coffee don’t appear at the same time. .

2. Add a little baking soda

Another tip Silver recommends is sprinkling a small pinch of baking soda into your cup of coffee, which she says can “help neutralize acids.” Unsweetened almond milk can do the same. “Alkaline milk, unlike other nut and cow’s milk,” means it will help raise the pH of the coffee and make it less irritating to the gut.

3. Sip coffee with food

Silver also recommends avoiding coffee on an empty stomach to minimize the effects of caffeine and acidity. “Listen to your body, because everyone’s sensitivity to caffeine and acids is different. If you find drinking coffee on an empty stomach gives you indigestion, wait until you’ve finished eating to drink your coffee and see how you feel,” she says.

4. Look for cold brew or dark roasted coffee

To further help reduce the level of stomach irritation you experience, Silver recommends varying the order of your coffee, taking a few factors into account — like the temperature of the coffee, roasting style, caffeine content. and the type of coffee grounds used to make a single cup of joe coffee. According to her, cold brew coffee contains less acid than hot coffee. Meanwhile, contrary to what many people think, the darker the roast, the less acidic it is and caffeine it tends to be. That’s because dark roasting is done using more heat and a longer roasting time, which helps break down the acid. (Find our guide to low-acid coffee here.)

5. Change your brewing style

Finally, Silver notes that the smaller the grounds, the more acidic the coffee; Think espresso or Turkish coffee. “The smaller the coffee grounds, the more surface area they have, which means more acid can be extracted from them, ending up with brewed coffee,” she says. This is why coffee made with larger grounds, like cold brew or coffee made with Chemex, will likely be less acidic.

An RD shares all the reasons to love coffee more:


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