Is drinking coffee on an empty stomach harmful to health?

Doctors and nutritionists share the truth.

This is the first cup of coffee In the morning It can make getting out of bed worth it. After all, a few sips of that magic potion of caffeine can keep you from feeling like an extra Night of the living dead into a real living human being.

But is drinking coffee on an empty stomach a good idea when it comes to you Gut health? We asked the experts what exactly happens when you enjoy an a la carte pre-breakfast meal.

Is drinking coffee on an empty stomach harmful to health?

The good news, according to Dr.. Jill Carnahan, MDAnd Functional medicine expert and author unexpectedThe short answer is no. She says there is little scientific evidence that drinking coffee on an empty stomach is harmful for most people.

fact, Dr. Stephen Gundry, MD, Drinking coffee on an empty stomach is fine for most people, says the cardiothoracic surgeon and founder of Gendry MD. In fact, he highly recommends coffee in general, in part because of its high polyphenol content. These essential plant proteins in coffee promote everything from longevity, protection against Alzheimer’s disease, a normal weight, a healthy microbiome, and significant relief from stress. depression And anxiety,” He says.

However, due to the high acidity of coffee, it may irritate the stomachs of patients with gastritis or GERD. “If you suffer from a lot heartburn Or you have been diagnosed with gastritis or a stomach ulcer, it is best to avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach.

How does coffee affect the gut?

Like cocoa, coffee comes from the beans and contains high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants, Dr. Carnahan explains. “In fact, for many people, coffee is one of the primary ways to get polyphenols into our diet,” she explains.

Both coffee and dark chocolate contain nutrients for the microbiome that can be processed into highly beneficial nutrients referred to as SCFAs (Short Chain Fatty Acids). She continues, “SCFAs have been shown to help repair cells that line the intestines and create a nutrient-rich environment in the gut that has been linked to improved metabolic health, obesity, and the risk of diabetes and heart disease.” “Increasing SCFAs by drinking coffee is very beneficial for the microbiome in your gut.”

But coffee is acidic, which can be irritating for anyone with sensitive guts or someone who already has digestive issues, he says. Abigail Hooper, RD, LDN in Above Health Nutrition. “In particular, coffee can irritate heartburn because caffeine is a relaxant of the sphincter muscle that controls acid staying in the stomach versus moving improperly into the esophagus.”

Serena Boone, CN, CHC, CHNAnd Celebrity chef and nutritionist, points out that some Research It was found that people who experience an adverse reaction to coffee will take it regardless of whether or not they drink the beverage with food.

Huber adds that coffee is also stimulating release of cortisol of the adrenal gland, which creates a stress response in the body and can exacerbate bowel symptoms such as loose stools or even holding— which explains why so many people tend to go about their business soon after drinking a cup or two.

However, Boone explains, “This hormone naturally circulates at higher levels in the morning, so there is a line in thinking that drinking coffee in the morning increases cortisol, but it really depends on the person.” add that verbose High cortisol It starts to cause inflammation and can wreak great havoc on the body, but there is no direct path to chronic inflammation from regular coffee consumption. In fact, the research indicates Anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee. What’s more, some studies found that some people (particularly regular coffee drinkers) didn’t experience any headaches. Cortisol rise in response to coffeeBoone says.

Tips on how to minimize any damage

If you have adverse reactions to coffee, such as heartburn, gastrointestinal discomfort or… nauseaor increased feelings of stress and anxiety, I recommend trying a habit change,” Boone says.

Here are some expert-recommended tips, because hey — who wants to give up their coffee?

Think twice before adding dairy

According to Dr. Gendry, many people believe that black coffee irritates the stomach, so they put milk products in coffee to “calm” the stomach. However, he points out, many of the benefits of coffee are undone by the addition of any milk product such as skim, 2%, whole, half-and-half, cream and even butter.

Add non-dairy milk

However, for some people, an occasional small amount of non-dairy milk can help alleviate any problems that arise due to coffee consumption. “If you drink black coffee, you might consider adding a small amount of non-dairy milk. I would choose unsweetened, non-dairy milk, preferably homemade,” says Boone.

Try adjusting your dose

You can also consider reducing your consumption. “One cup of coffee a day and four cups of coffee a day will affect your system much differently,” Boone notes.

Consider switching to tea

If coffee is wreaking havoc on your gut, consider switching to Green tea Or matcha, “which still contains caffeine, but may not be as hard on your system,” says Boone. Plus, it’s packed with powerful health-supporting antioxidants.

Be mindful of what you add to your coffee

Drinking a cup of black coffee is not quite the same as drinking a sugary latte. “Keep in mind that common additives to coffee, such as dairy and sugar, may also cause digestive discomfort, so it may be a good idea to bring these habits up for review as well,” suggests Boone.

Use alkaline water

Reconsider using tap water to make your coffee, says Dr. Carnahan. “One simple method that I recommend for patients with sensitive stomachs is to use alkaline water to make your coffee to reduce the acidity of the final drink,” she says.

Long story short: Coffee on an empty stomach can be upsetting for people who already have stomach problems, but there is no evidence that drinking coffee on an empty stomach is harmful to others. And even if black coffee tends to irritate your gut, a few simple tweaks (bring a splash of almond milk!) could work wonders for you.


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