Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on February 28, 2023

Does Coffee Cause Inflammation

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, enjoyed by millions of people every day. While coffee is often associated with increased alertness and improved mood, there has been some concern in recent years. The question on everybody’s mind is, does coffee cause inflammation?

In this article, we will explore the question of whether coffee causes inflammation, and take a closer look at the relationship between caffeine intake and inflammation.

Does Coffee Cause Inflammation?

The relationship between coffee consumption and inflammation is a topic of ongoing research, and the findings of individual studies have been somewhat mixed.

Some studies have suggested that high levels of caffeine intake may contribute to inflammation in the body. For example, a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming high doses of caffeine over several weeks was associated with increased levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.

However, other studies have found no significant link between coffee consumption and systemic inflammation. A 2012 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that regular coffee consumption was not associated with higher levels of inflammatory indicators in the blood.

Coffee is a complex beverage that contains hundreds of compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Some of these compounds, such as chlorogenic acid and polyphenols, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition, the effects of caffeine on inflammation may vary depending on the individual and the amount of caffeine consumed. Some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others, which may cause them to exhibit various signs of inflammation.

There are also other potential causes of inflammation to consider while drinking coffee: cream and sugar.

Why You Should Hold the Cream and Sugar

Cream and sugar are often added to coffee to enhance its flavor and sweetness. However, the addition of cream and sugar can also contribute to inflammation in the body.

Both cream and sugar are sources of refined carbohydrates, which can contribute to inflammation by increasing blood sugar levels and triggering the release of pro-inflammatory molecules.

Many commercial creamers also contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are a source of trans fats. Trans fats have been shown to increase levels of inflammation in the body, as well as to contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Eliminating the use of cream and sugar in coffee can help to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. You can read more about the relationships between sugar and inflammation, and dairy and inflammation.

What to drink instead: Try drinking coffee black or with a small amount of natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup, which contain antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that may help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Does Decaf Coffee Cause Inflammation?

Some studies suggest that decaf coffee may have anti-inflammatory properties. For example, a 2010 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that decaf coffee reduced levels of inflammatory markers in the blood of healthy individuals.

However, other studies have found no significant link between decaf coffee consumption and inflammation. A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that decaf coffee did not have any significant effects on inflammatory indicators in the blood.

While the research on the effects of decaf coffee on inflammation is still ongoing, current evidence suggests that decaf coffee may have some anti-inflammatory properties.

How Does Caffeine Affect Your Body?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that affects the central nervous system, and it is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world. When caffeine is consumed, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain, where it blocks the activity of a neurotransmitter called adenosine.

By blocking adenosine, caffeine can increase the activity of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which can lead to increased alertness, improved mood, and enhanced cognitive function. Caffeine can also increase metabolic rate and stimulate the release of certain hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can help the body to mobilize energy and respond to stress.

Risks of Too Much Caffeine

While caffeine is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation, excessive amounts can lead to a variety of negative side effects and potential health risks. Some of the most common risks of too much caffeine include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure: Caffeine can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.
  • Sleep disturbances: Consuming caffeine too close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to fatigue and other negative health consequences.
  • Anxiety and jitteriness: Caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety and nervousness, and may also cause jitteriness, tremors, and other physical symptoms.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Consuming large amounts of caffeine can cause digestive issues such as acid reflux, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
  • Dehydration: Caffeine is a mild diuretic, which means that it can increase urine output and lead to dehydration if consumed in excessive amounts.
  • Addiction and dependence: Regular consumption of caffeine can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms if caffeine intake is abruptly reduced or eliminated.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee contains many biologically active compounds, including antioxidants, polyphenols, and other beneficial compounds which have been shown to help with the following:

  • Improved cognitive function: Caffeine can enhance alertness, concentration, and mental performance, and has been shown to improve short-term memory and reaction time.
  • Reduced risk of certain diseases: Regular coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Improved athletic performance: Caffeine can help to increase endurance and reduce fatigue and has been shown to improve physical performance in a variety of sports.
  • Lower risk of liver disease: Coffee consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
  • Reduced risk of depression: Regular coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of depression and suicide.
  • Lower risk of certain cancers: Some studies have suggested that regular coffee consumption may be associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including liver, colorectal, and endometrial cancer.

Alternatives to Coffee

If you’re trying to reduce your caffeine consumption, there are some options. Several alternatives to coffee can provide a boost in energy and improve health while lowering your caffeine intake.

  • Herbal tea: Anti-inflammatory herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, and ginger can provide a calming and soothing effect, and have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Golden milk: Golden milk is a traditional Indian beverage made with turmeric, ginger, and other spices. It is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds and can help to improve mood, reduce inflammation, and provide a natural energy boost.
  • Matcha: Matcha is a type of green tea that is ground into a fine powder and provides a rich source of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. It can provide a boost in energy and mental clarity, without the jitters associated with coffee.
  • Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It is rich in probiotics and other beneficial compounds and can provide a refreshing and energizing effect.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices: Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices can provide a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can improve health and energy levels.

How to Lower Inflammation Naturally

Reducing inflammation long-term requires some changes to be made. Here are four things you can start doing right now to lower inflammation:

  • Limit intake of inflammatory foods: Avoid high amounts of processed and refined foods, fried foods, and sugary drinks. These inflammatory foods have been linked to increased inflammation in the body.
  • Start an anti-inflammatory diet: An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Make lifestyle changes: Lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise can contribute to chronic inflammation. Make correcting these items a priority.
  • Take natural supplements: Turmeric, ginger, and black pepper are all well-known anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Try incorporating them into your diet for the best results.

Continuing with supplements, here are three of the best anti-inflammatory supplements on the market.

Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, contains a bioactive compound called curcumin that has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has antioxidant properties that protect against oxidative stress and further reduce inflammation in the body.

Apple cider vinegar is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties due to its high acetic acid content. This short-chain fatty acid can help reduce inflammation by suppressing the activity of specific enzymes involved in the inflammatory process.

Elderberry contains a range of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids and anthocyanins, which have been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can mitigate inflammation by blocking the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Coffee and Inflammation: Final Thoughts

Is coffee inflammatory? The answer is, it depends. The question of whether coffee causes inflammation is a complex and multifaceted issue.

While some studies suggest that high levels of caffeine intake may contribute to inflammation in the body, other studies have found no significant link between coffee consumption and systemic inflammation. Some studies suggest that a daily cup of coffee can provide several health benefits along with an anti-inflammatory effect.

Keep in mind, that for some people, the cause of coffee inflammation just might be too much cream and sugar. Try cutting those out and see what happens. It just may solve your problem.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the individual’s tolerance. It is important for people to pay attention to their own body’s response to caffeine and to consume coffee and other caffeinated beverages in moderation as part of a balanced diet.