Did you know drinking coffee supports gut health?
Your gut is crucial to your overall health and wellbeing, so getting right is extremely important. In fact, your gut health can impact everything from your mental health and immune system to your risk factors for conditions like heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep your stomach sound.
To help you out, we're exploring the links between coffee and gut health, and tacking on our favorite tips to keep your digestive system happy and healthy.
Let's start with the basics.
What is Your Gut Anyway?
Your "gut" refers to your entire gastrointestinal tract, including your stomach, small and large intestines, and elimination organs. It plays a central role in digestion, nutrient absorption, waste removal, and immune function.
What are the Signs of an Unhealthy Gut?
Signs of a healthy gut include regular and comfortable bowel movements, minimal bloating or gas, consistent energy levels, a strong immune system, and greater overall well-being and mental health.
However, stress, poor sleep habits, lack of physical activity, a diet high in ultra-processed foods, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all affect your gut microbiome.
Signs of poor gut health include:
- Symptoms of digestive upset (gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea)
- Low energy, fatigue, and sleep issues like insomnia
- Stress, anxiety, and low moods
- Poor immune function (always catching colds or stomach bugs?)
Since what you eat influences how your gut performs, let's dive into our discussion on:
The Top 3 Benefits of Coffee for Gut Health
As it turns out, your favorite brew does more than boost your brain function. Coffee supports a diverse gut microbiome and encourages a balanced, thriving digestive system.
Let's break down the science:
1. Coffee Contains Inflammation-Fighting Antioxidants
Coffee's loaded with thousands of bioactive compounds (like antioxidants and polyphenols). These protect your cells from free radical damage and oxidative stress, which create inflammation, speed up cell aging, and increase your risk of developing serious health conditions.
Researchers say coffee's anti-inflammatory properties may help us maintain a healthy gut, soothe irritation in the digestive tract, and prevent inflammatory reactions that may contribute to chronic diseases and early death.
☕ Read more: Everything You Need To Know About Antioxidant Coffee
2. Create a Healthier Gut Microbiome
Your gut microbiome includes trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and microorganisms. Beneficial microbes break down and transform food into nutrients your body can use. They also protect your body from harmful pathogens that might make you ill.
What you eat and drink affects your gut microbiota. The more diverse your diet, the more diverse your gut microbiome. Some research even suggests higher gut diversity may prevent or reduce symptoms of:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Lactose intolerance
3. Coffee Spurs Bowel Motility
There's almost nothing more uncomfortable than feeling like your digestion is in gridlock. But most people admit that drinking coffee helps them poop within four to 30 minutes.
That's because compounds in coffee nudge the production of stomach acid, which helps break down food and speed up gastric emptying. Then, the caffeine in coffee stimulates your gastrointestinal muscles to contract — making the muscles in your colon 60% more active than after a meal. This gets everything moving and prevents stagnation.
Drinking coffee every day to stay regular supports your overall comfort, empowers your body to easily and painlessly eliminate waste and toxins, reduces health complications, and increases your quality of life.
While coffee may take first place in our game of gut wellness, it's not the only way to keep the gastroenterologist away.
How To Improve Gut Health: 3 Easy Dietary Tips
A few simple diet and lifestyle swaps may drastically level up the overall health of your gut. To start:
These tips should also be part of your sustainable wellness routine:
1. Always Prioritize Hydration
Staying hydrated is crucial for a happy gut. Water ensures your digestive process is smooth sailing. It helps break down food, softens stools, and prevents constipation.
💦 Pro Tips: How To Properly Hydrate After Exercise
2. Aim For More Fiber (Both Types!)
Research shows only 5% of American men and 9% of women get their recommended daily amount of dietary fiber. That's about 25 grams of fiber per day for women; 38 grams for men.
Dietary fiber is associated with better digestive health, weight loss support, and lower risks of heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), certain gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
There are two types of fiber, and they both keep your gut health in tip-top shape in their unique ways:
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance that slows digestion, regulates blood sugar, and nourishes beneficial gut bacteria.
- Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool. It aids in waste elimination to promote regularity, prevent waste from getting stuck, and ensures a healthy gut environment.
Both types of fiber are essential for optimal digestive health. So nosh on these whole foods to sneak more fiber into your diet:
- Whole grain carbohydrates
- High-fiber fruit: raspberries, blackberries, avocado, pears, apples, guava, and kiwi
- High-fiber veggies: artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and sweet potato
- Legumes: beans (like chickpeas, black beans, and navy beans), peas, peanuts, split peas, and lentils
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds
Since fiber is found only in plant-based foods, you may want to scope out a fiber supplement if you're not meeting your intake goal on a carnivore or ketogenic diet.
3. Add More Probiotics (like Fermented Foods) & Prebiotics
If you want to get rid of bad bacteria and improve your gut naturally, you need the one-two-punch probiotics and prebiotics offer.
Probiotics maintain a harmonious gut environment. They're the beneficial bacteria that help balance your gut flora, aid in digestion, support immune function, and contribute to overall well-being. You can find these friendly microorganisms in fermented foods such as:
You can also take probiotic supplements, but relying on these as your only source of probiotics may not flourish the diverse gut garden we're aiming for.
Prebiotics feed good bacteria. These non-digestible fibers give beneficial microbes the nutrients they need to grow and fight harmful bacteria. Foods rich in prebiotics include:
- Garlic, onions, asparagus, and leeks
- Chickpeas, beans, and lentils
- Whole grains
Brewing a Happy Gut
You don't need a degree in gastroenterology to see all the health benefits of coffee for your gut. With its ability to stimulate bowel movements, support gut microbiota, and provide a host of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, coffee's more than a delightful daily ritual; each cup is a targeted boost for your digestive health.
Learn how to brew coffee to maintain these health benefits. And remember to stay hydrated, load up on fiber, and invite those probiotics and prebiotics to your team. You'll soon conquer the path to wellness like a pro.
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