Coffee is extremely complex and has both positive and negative effects on us humble humans. We often focus on the coffee positives because coffee is such an absolute necessity for some people. It’s that sweet and delicious nectar that can enable you to smile and nod at your boss when he’s screaming at you at 8am on a Monday morning. The thought of a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee maker is that only thing that can get you out of bed on a Saturday when your kids wake you up before the sun even wakes. Yes, coffee in some ways is the best miracle drug around. However, for every positive there is a negative that goes right alongside it, and some of these negatives are pretty surprising.
5 Negative Effects Of Coffee Drinking
Drinking large amounts of coffee does come with some side effects. to be honest for each negative effect of coffee there are two more positive benefits of drinking coffee. As the old saying goes “everything in moderation”.
1. Hydrochloric Acid
We need hydrochloric acid in order to digest big meals. However, when we drink coffee, hydrochloric acid production is stimulated. Therefore, drinking coffee on an empty stomach, like most of us do in the mornings is seriously detrimental to digestive health. When hydrochloric acid production is increased unnecessarily, our bodies will find it more difficult to produce the acid when we actually need it.
This will result in proteins not being digested properly, meaning that they will be passed into the small intestine without being broken down. This undigested protein will then result in bloating and gas, and this is just the mildest side effects. If this problem continues it can significantly increase the risk of colon cancer
2. Ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are many compounds in coffee (including the essential caffeine) that can irritate the stomach and effect the lining of the small intestine. For sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome and more serious syndromes such as Crohn’s disease, doctors often advise that they stay off the caffeine altogether, because of the potential for causing digestive and intestinal problems.
Ulcers are not directly caused by consuming coffee, however there is an indirect link. For ulcers to develop in the stomach, a bacteria called Helicobater Pylori must take hold, and in order to do this the stomach lining must be in a weakened state. This is where coffee comes in, as the acidity in coffee dramatically weakens the lining of the stomach and creates the perfect environment for ulcers to develop.
When coffee is consumed, the lower oesophageal sphincter is relaxed and this can result in heartburn and acid reflux. Under normal circumstance this muscle should be held tightly closed after eating and drinking in order to prevent the contents of the stomach rising up into the oesophagus and damaging the lining with hydrochloric acid.
However, because coffee relaxes the muscle it makes the probability of experiencing heartburn and acid reflux far more likely. Unfortunately, the problem can’t even be solved by switching to decaffeinated coffee, as the caffeine is not the problem, it is further acidic compound in the strong brew that contribute to the problems of heartburn and acid reflux.
4. Laxative Properties
The process that forces us to empty our bowels is called peristalsis, and drinking coffee can stimulate this process. The problem with coffee acting as a laxative is that it also promotes premature gastric emptying. This means that the contents of the stomach are rapidly transferred into the small intestine before the food has been fully digested.
This partially digested state means that less nutrients are absorbed to the food, as well as the potential for inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract being increased. Again, caffeine is not the problem with this issue, so switching to decaffeinated coffee is unlikely to get rid of the issue.
5. Mineral Absorption
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals as we need it to maintain bowel regularity and in most of us it is in short supply. Drinking a high amount of coffee regularly will mean that the way your body absorbs minerals in the stomach and the kidneys is compromised.
Specifically, iron absorption in the stomach is dramatically lowered, and the kidneys will find it extremely difficult to keep hold of essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium and zinc. Most of us are already deficient in these minerals, so keeping hold of the small supply we do have is even more important.