I have been asked the same question by many “Why does coffee upset my stomach?”
For many of us, coffee is an essential part of our morning routine. It wakes us up and prepares us for the day ahead.
But for some people, coffee can cause an upset stomach. This is because coffee contains compounds that can be harsh on our digestive systems.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at these different compounds and what you can do to avoid upset stomach from drinking coffee.
Compounds that can upset your stomach
Coffee contains several compounds that can have an adverse effect on your stomach. Let’s see them.
The most notable is caffeine, which is a known stimulant. Caffeine speeds up the movement of food through the digestive system, which can lead to diarrhea. Caffeine can also increase stomach acid production, which can lead to nausea and vomiting.
If you are sensitive to caffeine or have trouble tolerating it, opt for a decaf coffee or another type of non-caffeinated beverage.
The acid in the coffee
The acids in coffee are what give this drink its characteristic spiciness. However, these same acids can also irritate the stomach lining, causing nausea or an upset stomach.
If coffee upsets your stomach, try making it with low-acid coffee beans or adding milk to the coffee to neutralize the acids.
Coffee beans are naturally oily, and those oils can contribute to an upset stomach by coating the lining of the intestines and slowing down digestion.
If oily coffees make your stomach feel worse, try making them with paper filters, which will remove some of the oils from the final product.
You can also look for coffees that advertise themselves as “low oil” or “oil-free.”
These acids are known to slow down the absorption of sugar in the intestine, which can lead to an upset stomach.
Phenols are found in both coffee and tea. They are known to increase stomach acid production, which can lead to nausea and vomiting.
Tannins are found in both coffee and tea. They can bind to proteins in the intestine and slow down digestion, which can lead to an upset stomach.
Grains and other ingredients
The beans used to make coffee are often coated in pesticides and other chemicals. These chemicals can irritate the digestive system and cause an upset stomach.
Be sure to choose a brand of coffee that uses organic beans and avoid adding any additional ingredients that may irritate your stomach, such as sugar or artificial sweeteners.
When you drink coffee on an empty stomach, the acids in the coffee can irritate your stomach lining, causing indigestion, heartburn, or even ulcers.
If you have any of these conditions, it’s best to avoid coffee altogether, or at least wait to eat something before drinking it.
In addition to causing digestive problems, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can cause anxiety and nervousness.
This is because the caffeine in coffee can cause blood sugar levels to drop, leading to a case of “jitters.” If you’re an anxiety-prone person, it’s best to avoid caffeine altogether or at least limit your intake.
Tips to avoid upset stomach when drinking coffee
Choose the right beans
When it comes to coffee, quality is important. If you use low-quality beans that have been over-roasted, you are more likely to experience an upset stomach after drinking the coffee.
Instead, opt for higher-quality beans that have been lightly roasted. These grains will be more expensive, but they will be easier to digest.
Drink it black
Adding milk, cream, or sugar to coffee can increase the chances of causing an upset stomach. If you’re used to drinking coffee with milk and sugar, try gradually transitioning to black coffee.
You may find that you prefer the taste of coffee only when you get used to it.
Avoid taking too much caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant and, like all stimulants, it can cause stomach upset in some people. If you find that coffee always upsets your stomach, try switching to decaf or reducing the amount of coffee you drink per day.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day
Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and it can also help prevent an upset stomach caused by coffee.
Make sure you drink eight glasses of water a day, and try to drink a glass of water before and after you have your cup of coffee.
Related: Can coffee quench your thirst?
5 Types of coffee that do not irritate the stomach
1. Cold coffee
Cold brew is brewed by leaving coffee grounds in cold water or at room temperature for 12 hours or more. Because the brewing process is longer and slower, cold brew coffee has a lower acidity level than regular coffee. This makes it easier on the stomach and less likely to cause heartburn or indigestion.
2. Nitro cold brew
Nitro cold brew is a normal cold brew with nitrogen gas added. This gives the coffee a creamy, frothy texture and makes it even more refreshing and easy to drink.
Nitrogen also has a calming effect on the stomach, so nitro cold brew is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a coffee that won’t irritate your stomach.
3. Decaffeinated coffee
If regular coffee is upsetting to your stomach, you can try decaf. Decaf coffee has had most of the caffeine removed, making it a milder option for those with sensitive stomachs.
Plus, thanks to new decaffeination methods, there’s no need to worry about losing flavor—decaffeinated coffee can be just as delicious as its caffeinated counterpart.
4. Oat milk coffee
Oat milk is becoming increasingly popular as a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk. But in addition to being suitable for vegans and sustainable from an environmental point of view, oat milk is easier on the stomach than other types of milk thanks to its high fiber content.
So if you’re looking for a dairy-free latte that won’t upset your stomach, order an oatmeal latte the next time you head to your favorite coffee shop.
5. Herbal milk tea
If you have stomach issues, sometimes it’s best to ditch the coffee and opt for an herbal milk tea instead.
The infusions are caffeine-free and have calming properties that can help soothe an upset stomach.
Chamomile and ginger tea are especially effective in relieving nausea and indigestion, but be sure to ask for them without added sweeteners, such as honey or sugar.
Final thoughts: Why does coffee upset my stomach?
If you are prone to stomach problems, there are a few things you can do to avoid them when you drink coffee.
First, limit your intake to one cup a day or choose a brand of coffee that is low in acidity.
Second, be sure to choose a coffee brand that uses organic beans and avoid adding additional ingredients that may irritate your stomach, such as sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Also, if you have stomach problems, you don’t need to give up coffee. You just have to try certain types of coffee that are easier on the stomach.