Is Morning Coffee Safe for Your Stomach?

Coffee is a favorite beverage for many, but there’s a lot of talk about whether it’s bad to have it on an empty stomach. Dr. Trisha Pasricha, a gastroenterologist from Massachusetts General Hospital, shared some insights in a piece for The New York Times.

She explained that scientists started studying coffee’s impact on the body, especially the intestines, back in the 1970s. The verdict? Coffee isn’t seen as a potential threat to the stomach. The stomach has a protective layer of mucus that shields it from what we swallow, even from its own natural acidic environment. So, disrupting this defense requires something quite powerful.

Research shows that substances like alcohol, tobacco smoke, and certain medications can suppress the stomach’s defenses, but coffee doesn’t fall into that category. Even a 2013 study in Japan with over 8,000 participants found no significant link between coffee consumption, even in higher quantities, and stomach or intestinal ulcers.

While coffee can speed up the colon’s work and stimulate bowel movements, it slightly increases stomach acid production. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach might cause temporary heartburn, but it’s unlikely to harm your stomach.

However, the data isn’t crystal clear. Despite a dozen and a half studies worldwide, there’s no consistent link between coffee and heartburn symptoms.

Dr. Pasricha advises paying attention to your body’s reaction. If you often feel a burning pain in your chest or a sour taste after coffee, consider cutting back or adding more milk to neutralize stomach acid. Ultimately, listen to your body when it comes to your coffee routine.

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