How Coffee Affects Your Gut Health

Think of the best way to start your day. Is it the quiet moments holding a steamy mug of java? How about the sound of stirring extra ice into a cold latte? No matter how you take it, coffee's aromatic blend is not only praised for decreasing the risk of heart failure, but studies show it may be great for digestion too. Since being generous with your cup of joe is good for your gut, let's find out how.

Our gut or GIT (gastointestinal tract) is the path food travels through the body; from ingestion to elimination. The microbiome is a community of bacteria that lives inside your GIT. A harmony of good and bad bacteria helps digest food and absorb nutrients (via Food and Mood Centre). This delicate system also impacts our immunity, mental health, and metabolism. Healthline describes the effects of a healthy gut as improved sleep, healthy heart function, unimpaired brain functions, and clearer skin. Symptoms of an unhealthy gut can show up as IBS, brain fog, weight gain, eczema, depression, fatigue, and autoimmune disorders.

According to Coffee and Health, caffeine is a plant-based stimulant that increases alertness and attention. Caffeine gives us energy boosts, improved focus, and easier bowel movements. Your next trip to Starbucks has been justified.

Caffeine improves digestion and gut health

The American College of Gastroenterology published the conclusion of a study conducted by Dr. Li Jiao of Baylor College of Medicine. The findings were astounding, in favor of daily coffee consumption. The study, conducted with 34 participants, found that those who drank more caffeine (from coffee) had increased healthy bacteria (Faecalibacterium and Roseburia) and less unhealthy bacteria (Erysipelatoclostridium) in their gut.

Aside from trusting your "gut feelings", you may wonder why is gastrointestinal health important. The GIT is massively impactful to our health. According to John Hopkins Medicine, because of its intricate connection to the entire body, the gut microbiome is often called the "second brain". A constant stream of communication flows from the digestive system to the brain, nervous system, heart and beyond. What we consume each day is a large factor affecting our moods and energy levels (via WebMD). For this reason, the study by Dr. Jiao concludes that drinking coffee in moderation clears the bowels easily and improves digestive health.

A 2015 journal report from the European Food Safety Authority states "Daily caffeine intakes from all sources up to 400 mg per day do not raise safety concerns for adults in the general population, except pregnant women." That's equal to 5 cups of coffee.

Keep in mind next time you brew a fresh cup of joe, that you're doing your gut a favor. Moderate caffeine intake is healthy for digestion and independently decreases risks of illnesses like IBS. You can enjoy your next cup of coffee in peace, and your gut will thank you.