How Coffee, Tea, and Lemon Water Affect Your Gut, According to a Nutritionist

Photo: Getty Images/Richard Clark
A cup of coffee first thing or tea is typically a big part of most people's wake-up routine as they can help you rehydrate and ramp up for your day. But if you’re finding that your a.m. beverage causes your gastrointestinal tract some discomfort, it may not be the best morning drink for gut health.

“For some individuals, drinking coffee and tea on an empty stomach may cause heartburn, indigestion, or nausea because they may stimulate acid production in the stomach,” explains Keri Gans, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “If you experience these symptoms on an empty stomach, try to see if there is a difference when you have food. If symptoms continue even with food, you may try and purchase a lower-acid coffee or tea brand or perhaps try decaf to see if that alleviates the symptoms.”

Experts In This Article

Caffeinated drinks aren't the only ones that can cause your gut some distress. You may find that non-caffeinated beverages have similar side effects, depending on their pH level. For example: “Lemon water , may cause the same symptoms, but it really depends on how much juice is used,” Gans says, since its pH is about the same as your stomach acid. Still, Gans says she's not suggesting you stop adding citrus to your H2O all together.  “A little wedge or slice mixed with hot water most likely will cause no side effects.”

So what's the best morning drink for gut health? Most nutritionists suggest drinking plain old water to rehydrate properly. Ultimately though, you’re the most familiar with your body; gauging how it reacts to different drinks and stimulants will help ensure that your morning routine sets you up for success.

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