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Does Coffee Aid in Digestion?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0
Coffee beans(119332)

Ever wonder why a lot of people would recommend or drink coffee after meals? Primarily  because it’s a common notation that coffee aids in digestion. So, is this statement a fact or  fallacy?  While there are a lot of arguments involving caffeine and its effects on the digestive system, there are actually some valid explanations that can back-up this belief. However, there are also some drawbacks that you should know about this after meal practice. These disadvantages will help you understand why drinking too much coffee is not acceptable. With that being said, if you want to find out how coffee aids in digestion, this article will give you some perspectives. Along with that, you will also read the negative effects of caffeine in the digestion process

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How does coffee aids in digestion?

In a research paper published in 1986 entitled “Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology”, it was stated that coffee activates the release of a specific hormone known as gastrin. Through this hormone, gastric acid in is sufficiently produced. Gastric acid is essential for food to be completely digested, dissolved and absorbed by your body. Surprisingly, in this study, they also proved that decaffeinated coffee aids in digestion. Although decaffeinated coffee garnered less significant results, one can still rationalize that caffeine is not the primary constituent that causes the release of gastrin. Some researchers deduced that this specific effect of coffee was evidently due to an unidentified constituent that was not tainted or destroyed during the process of caffeine removal. Nonetheless, this conclusion can confirm the belief that coffee aids in digestion. 

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The negative effects of coffee in digestion

As mentioned earlier, there are drawbacks when doing this after meal practice. The first is it can distress your stomach especially if taken in excessive amounts. This distress can either lead to indigestion, acid reflux or worse ulcer. For that reason, it is strongly implied to limit your intake to 1 or 2 cups a day.  If you eat more than three meals a day, only drink coffee when you think you have eaten too much and your stomach is not at ease.

The second negative effect is iron disintegration caused by caffeine. As you know, iron is essential for your blood. To avoid developing iron deficiency anemia and other related diseases because of this after meal practice, you might want to delay drinking coffee for an hour or two. You can also avoid consuming products containing caffeine when you’re eating a meal that is rich in iron such as seafood, legumes and green leafy vegetables. If you can’t resist a cup of caffeinated beverages, you can also take iron supplements to cope with iron deficiency.


With that, one may say that it is a fact that coffee aids in digestion. However, as you can see, it is also a fact that it is an unhealthy practice. So, what now? Basically, there is nothing wrong with eating or drinking foods and beverages that contain caffeine as long as you do it occasionally or with limits. The problem arises when you overindulged. But, as long as you know how to control your caffeine intake, there is no need to worry about the health risks of coffee or other caffeine containing beverages. 

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  1. Sirah Dubois "Coffee and Gastrin." Livestrong. 8/November/2012 <Web >
  2. David Prakash and Linus Eugene "Tea and coffee for digestion and absorption?." Demystifying - Being Healthy.... 8/November/2012 <Web >

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