Here's why you should never drink coffee on an empty stomach

health 24/08/2018

We're all guilty of needing that caffeine fix first thing in the morning, often putting it as a top priority even before food... but research has shown that drinking coffee on an empty stomach can be very detrimental to your health. 

Here's why:

Coffee can take a serious toll on your digestive system - it will jumpstart your stomach's production of acid, and if you haven't already eaten something, the acid could damage your stomach's lining, causing indigestion and heartburn. And that's even if you're opting for decaf!

As well as that, the caffeine can give you withdrawal symptoms when consumed on an empty stomach, such as jitters, shakes and mood changes. It can also increase symptoms of anxiety, as well as boost your heart rate, irritability and inability to focus. 

The effects don't stop there though. Your morning caffeine hit can actually sabotage your natural circadian rhythm - your internal clock releases a hormone called cortisol when you wake up, helping you to feel alert and energised. Research has actually shown that drinking coffee can decrease your coritsol levels. This means you'll actually feel sleepier overall if you have your coffee first thing when you wake up. 

So with all that in mind, experts have suggested that the best time to drink coffee to reap the full benefits is mid-morning to early afternoon, about 3-4 hours after you wake up. This is when your body is low on cortisol, and is ready for a pick-me-up.

No need to cut coffee out altogether then - don't be crazy. It's just about when your body will appreciate it most!