Decades of research have explored the compounds in coffee—mainly caffeine and chlorogenic acid—to evaluate the effects they have on the body. While you may have seen headlines over the years sharing buzz-worthy news from these studies, what’s most important is to look at the body of research available. For instance, a 2017 literature review published in the journal Planta Medica found that moderate consumption of coffee (typically 3 to 4 cups a day) in healthy individuals posed no significant health risk and may provide some benefit.
With this said, personalized nutrition is key, and how caffeine affects people individually is quite wide-ranging. While there is always a need for more research as science evolves to investigate the impacts of caffeine (and coffee) on the body, we have a starting place to use as a baseline for now. Let’s explore this a bit more so you can decide for yourself.
It is important to remember that not all coffee is created equal. For instance, the type of coffee (instant, decaffeinated, caffeinated, half-caffeinated, etc.) as well as how someone takes their coffee (with milk, cream, sugar, etc.) will impact first and foremost how their coffee is digested.
Research shows that coffee helps stimulate the colon and promote bowel regularity (in conjunction with a balanced diet.) Plus, studies show that coffee consumption may be an effective strategy to help restore colonic contractions and the function of the bowel after abdominal surgery. While there is certainly nothing wrong with enlisting the help of your morning cup of joe to make more space in your tummy, you should be cautious of how quickly your “urge to go” increases after drinking coffee on an empty stomach.