Coffee is a much-loved beverage consumed by more than fifty percent of American adults each day. Of the 100 million coffee drinkers in the United States alone, a majority feel as if these roasted, ground, and fresh-brewed seeds of the coffee plant helps them start the day and be more productive overall in daily activities. While there is debate about whether or not coffee is really ""good"" for the human body, there is a consensus that - like other food and drinks - too much coffee can negatively affect the digestive system in a variety of ways.
In moderation, coffee has been shown to have benefits on digestion, including minimizing the absorption of sugar and relieving constipation. However, it is easy for coffee drinkers to overindulge, and the daily cup of coffee can easily become a whole pot. Because coffee contains high levels of acid and caffeine, this overabundance of coffee can lead to the irritation of the stomach lining and intestines through the production of hydrochloric acid. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can kick the production of hydrochloric acid into overdrive, which is detrimental to long-term health. Even though coffee drinkers may believe that decaffeinated coffee does not cause these problems, this type of coffee actually causes more problems with hydrochloric acid than regular coffee.
Coffee can also irritate other parts of the digestive system, and is known to exacerbate the symptoms of IBS, Crohn's disease, gastritis, ulcers, and colitis. Anyone suffering from gastrointestinal problems are at risk for making them worse through the ingestion of coffee, which can reverse any healing in the gastrointestinal tract that has already taken place. While coffee is well known as type of laxative, stimulating the systems that result in bowel movements, coffee can cause the stomach to empty before the body has had a chance to properly digest food. Undigested food can lead to flatulence as well as injury or inflammation in the small intestine, which can be quite uncomfortable.
Coffee can also keep the body from absorbing the minerals and water that it needs to stay healthy. The human body needs important minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron to function at its best, especially in the digestive process. Coffee interrupts the proper absorption of these minerals, which cannot be easily replaced by supplements. The caffeine in coffee is also a diuretic, which means that water is flushed quickly through the body and into the kidneys, also leading to the loss of minerals. People can also feel dehydrated after drinking coffee, as their bodies are losing water from drinking too much of this tempting brew.
Too much coffee can also cause a wide range of additional problems, including liver damage, increased blood pressure, and insomnia. Research has shown that consuming large quantities of coffee on a regular basis can result in drowsiness, fatigue, and anxiety, and withdrawal from the caffeine in coffee can be difficult to weather. While one or two cups of coffee during the day is not detrimental to overall health, drinking this beverage throughout each day can result in a variety of digestive, physical, and emotional issues.