Should I be drinking coffee if I want to heal my gut??

Have you ever heard that coffee is bad for your gut? Or that green tea is a better option?

I did my entire master’s thesis on caffeine and coffee consumption. To say I love coffee is an understatement. It’s practically my life and always my drink of choice. So, when I see people bashing on coffee, I can’t help but wonder where they are getting their information from?

I’m here to tell you that coffee consumption is okay, and actually, even great for your gut and overall health. I should know, I spent the better half of 2 years researching coffee and caffeine while simultaneously running off of it. LOL.

What’s so great about coffee?

Coffee contains polyphenols, phenolic acids, and antioxidants. These are protective compounds in the body that help regulate free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules in our body and, without regulation, can lead to disease and damage in our bodies and cells. Luckily, we can get enough polyphenols and other free radical fighting compounds through a healthy diet (plants) and regular exercise.

Coffee is one of those miraculous crime-fighting beverages because coffee comes from a plant. And plants are our main source of all these wonderful compounds! With that being said, tea is also an excellent option and contains many of the same benefits as coffee.

But for some reason, coffee can get a bad reputation, when it actually has a whole host of wonderful benefits.

Why does coffee get a bad reputation??

Well, some time ago, it was thought to increase heart rate and could be harmful for those with heart disease. We’ve since moved on from that! The benefits far outweigh the risks.

Also, coffee kind of gets some flak for having too much caffeine. Some people with anxiety can’t drink coffee, which is an instance where avoidance is necessary.

There are times when my anxiety gets bad and I have to cut back on my coffee consumption simply because it fuels an already anxious state, but I still try to fit it in my regular diet when and practice other ways to reduce any anxiety I’ve been feeling.

There is nothing wrong with cutting out the caffeine and there are plenty of alternatives such as:

  • Decaf Coffee
  • Herbal Tea
  • Chicory Coffee
  • Low caffeine tea

How does coffee help my gut??

Coffee can help the gut out because it has been shown to have some prebiotic effects on the gut bacteria. One study found that feeding coffee to rats actually increased the amount of short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that were produced (1). However, it interestingly did not change the bacteria profile in obese rats, which may suggest that regular consumption might not make much of a difference in the gut of obese people.

Another study found that higher, regular caffeine consumption was associated with more diverse gut microbiota with more anti-inflammatory bacteria present (2).

The benefits of coffee and caffeine, in my opinion, far outweigh the potential negative side effects. Whether or not you drink caffeine, there are ways to achieve the same benefits from tea and other herbal/plant-based beverages.

Take Home Message

Coffee is everything. Despite it’s caffeine content, which may be unfavorable to some, it is an excellent way to start your morning. As always, make sure you’re drinking some water, as coffee is a diuretic.

Fun fact: The diuretic/dehydrating effect of caffeine actually decreases with regular consumption.

So drink away my gut healthy, coffee snobs!


hi there, i’m michelle

welcome to my little home on the internet! I'm a Registered Dietitian and am here to share with you evidenced based and realistic ways to better your health for the long haul. Here you'll learn ways to eat that are both practical and sustainable. Enjoy!

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Current Location

New Hampshire

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