Liquids are digested in the stomach very quickly, in around 30 minutes, compared to up to 4 hours for solid food. Up to 90% of coffee is absorbed in the small intestine. Coffee digestion is affected by factors such as age, body mass, if the coffee contains milk, amount consumed, how much you have eaten, and others.
Read on for an in-depth look into coffee digestion – how long it takes, what factors affect the time it takes to digest coffee, how coffee impacts on digestion and how long caffeine stays in your system.
How Long Does Coffee Take to Digest?
Liquids are digested in the stomach very quickly, in around 30 minutes, compared to around 4 hours for solid foods. Black coffee digests fastest as it is made of mainly water which is absorbed fastest. Up to 90% of coffee is absorbed in the small intestine before travelling to the large intestine and finally removed from the body as waste.
What Affects How Long Your Body Takes to Digest Coffee?
- Body mass
- What medication you are taking
- If you are a smoker
- Hormones, birth control and pregnancy
- The amount of coffee you have drunk
- How much you have eaten
- If coffee contains milk it takes longer to digest than black coffee which is mainly water and absorbs faster, whereas milk contains proteins and fats which need to be digested
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How Does Coffee Affect Your Body Before It Is Digested?
Drinking coffee can give you a caffeine rush and create symptoms such as jitters, shakes, headaches, heart palpitations, and anxiety. Coffee makes you feel more awake, and people take it not just to enjoy the taste but to make them more alert and to get through the day.
Is Coffee Bad for Digestion?
Coffee is highly acidic and can cause digestive issues. Coffee can cause acid reflux, indigestion, heartburn, bloating, cramps, gas, and diarrhoea. Drinking coffee can flare up irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease and those with these conditions should avoid too much coffee. Drinking coffee can also restrict your kidney’s ability to retain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Does Coffee Help Your Digestive System?
Coffee causes the stomach to release more acid which can aid with faster digestion. Coffee also helps produce faster bowel movements. According to Healthline, a study from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee suggests that coffee may actually be protective against conditions such as gallstones and pancreatitis and may also be linked to a reduced risk of chronic constipation.
Does Coffee Upset Your Stomach?
Coffee has high acidity which can upset your stomach and also contains high amounts of caffeine which can cause anxiety and therefore an upset stomach. The high acidity levels of coffee can impact on the lining of the intestines. The high levels of caffeine and acids can cause a range of stomach issues such as bloating, gas, nausea, and cramping.
Which Coffee is the Easiest to Digest?
Decaffeinated coffee is not as acidic and so is easier on the stomach. Coffee contains a compound called NMP which prevents your stomach producing acid. NMP develops during the roasting process and the longer coffee beans are roasted the more of this compound they contain. This means that dark roast coffee produces less acid and is easier on the stomach.
Which Coffee Contains the Most Caffeine?
- Lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts as they are heated for less time.
- On average Robusta beans contain nearly twice to four times as much caffeine as Arabica.
- Espresso and French press coffee contain more caffeine than instant and filtered coffee methods such as drip or pour over. This is because the grounds are steeped directly in water.
How Long Does Caffeine Stay in Your System?
Coffee itself is digested quickly, but the caffeine within the coffee stays in the body for much longer. Caffeine is absorbed into the body in around 30-45 minutes, yet can stay in the body for around 10 hours. The most intense effects of caffeine are felt 30-60 minutes after consuming coffee. This depends on the amount and type of coffee.
What Affects How Long Caffeine Stays in Your System?
- Body mass
- Amount of coffee consumed
- Whether you have a caffeine sensitivity
- How much you have eaten – caffeine can hit harder on an empty stomach
- The medications you take
- If you are a smoker
- If you are a regular or heavy coffee drinker you may not feel the effects as much, as your body is used to it
How Many Cups of Coffee Should I Drink a Day?
The Mayo Clinic states that the recommended maximum amount of coffee to consume daily is four 8-ounce cups. This is also stated by WebMD – 4 cups or less daily is a suitable amount of coffee, and more than 4 cups can have a negative effect on health. The FDA claims that 400mg is the approved caffeine amount to consume per day.
What Time Should I Stop Drinking Coffee Before I Go to Bed?
Coffee can stay in your system for over 10 hours, but the half-life of coffee is 5 hours. This means that it should be okay to stop drinking coffee around 5-6 hours before going to bed. This depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine and if you are a regular coffee drinker. Caffeine has negative effects on sleep quality.
What Helps Aid Digestion of Coffee?
- Drink water – this flushes out the stomach and helps dilute the acidity of coffee.
- Drink on a full stomach – the acidic content of coffee will be more diluted with non-acidic substances and is less likely to upset your stomach.
- Eat a banana – the alkaline of the banana will balance the acidity of coffee.
- Do moderate exercise to help metabolize faster.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Coffee?
Drinking coffee has a host of health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins such as B-12.
Drinking coffee has also been correlated with protecting against diseases:
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Liver disease