3 Ways Coffee Can Affect IBD and What to Drink Instead

People sure do love their coffee — and they’re loath to give it up. According to a study published in the August 2015 issue of Nutrition Journal, coffee drinkers with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis will continue to indulge in the hot beverage even though they know it may lead to an increase in their symptoms.

Coffee has a lot of known health perks owing to its high content of natural polyphenols. According to the Mayo Clinic, research shows that it can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, including colon cancer; the risk of which is higher in people with IBD.

Moderate coffee drinking may even lower your risk of premature death, according to a study published in November 2015 in the journal Circulation. And most people can attest to the much-needed caffeine jolt their morning cup provides.

But it may not be the best choice of drink for someone with IBD because of the ways in which it can interact with the body. Along with its more salubrious offerings, the caffeine in coffee can increase diarrhea, exacerbate problems with sleep, and increase stress.

“Despite coffee’s proven health benefits, I’m hesitant to recommend that someone with IBD start drinking it,” says Kelly Kennedy, RD, nutritionist for Everyday Health. If you already drink it, Kennedy says it’s fine as long as you “pay attention to how you’re feeling and adjust your consumption accordingly.”

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