If you suffer from digestive disorders, you will want to learn how coffee & decaf may be aggravating your condition. Read below for an overview of the reasons why eliminating coffee from your diet may improve your symptoms. For more information, click on the health conditions below that concern you to read in depth scientific studies about the effect of coffee and caffeine on digestive health.
1. Coffee Increases Incidence of GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)
Studies show that coffee decreases pressure in the lower esophagus, which can lead to reflux. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee aggravate reflux. Since coffee creates more reflux than caffeine alone when added to water, other components in coffee are contributing to this effect. By kicking the caffeine habit, you can help decrease the painful symptoms of reflux disease.
2. Coffee Can Increase Frequency of Heartburn
Both decaffeinated and regular coffees are highly acidic and can increase the secretion of stomach acids. Studies have shown that a decrease in stomach acid can help alleviate heartburn. Coffee consumption has also been associated with a greater incidence of heartburn compared to drinking other fluids. Therefore, quitting the coffee habit may be just the right move to help limit your episodes of heartburn.
3. Coffee May Aggravate Ulcers
Studies show that both decaffeinated and regular coffee stimulates acid in the stomach. Coffee drinking is associated with a higher risk of stomach ulcers. Decreasing coffee consumption can also help you to decrease pain associated with stomach ulcers.
4. Coffee Increases Stress
The caffeine in coffee has been shown to increase the body’s production of stress hormones. These hormones, such as cortisol, are responsible for increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and a sense of “emergency alert”. People who suffer from GERD, heartburn and inflammatory bowel conditions are more sensitive to stress, which can worsen their symptoms. Chronic levels of increased stress hormones have also been shown to contribute to the overgrowth of the stomach bacteria responsible for causing ulcers. Take better control of these conditions by getting off the coffee and stress roller coaster!
5. Caffeine Interferes With Your Ability to Feel Good
GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) is our “feel good” brain messenger that has an important role in mood and stress management. It is also shown to have a calming effect on the GI Tract. Drinking caffeine may interfere with GABA’s ability to perform this calming function. Caffeine also interferes with GABA’s role in stress management, which may worsen symptoms since psychological stress is known to contribute to these conditions. Evidence suggests that anxiety, along with exhaustion resulting from continuous stress, are both associated with aggravating heartburn and esophageal reflux. Don’t let coffee interfere with your natural calming mechanisms. Take steps to improve your stress by reducing your caffeine intake.
6. Coffee Acidity Irritates the Intestines
Coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, is highly acidic and may stimulate an increase in gastric acids. Coffee is also shown to speed up the process of gastric emptying, which may lead to acidic contents passing into the small intestine too soon, which could injure the intestinal tissue. You can greatly decrease your risk of irritating the intestinal walls by limiting your coffee intake.