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Can you drink coffee with Crohn's or colitis?

Can you drink coffee with Crohn's or colitis?

Updated on
May 22, 2023
Medical reviewer
Medically reviewed by
Brittany Rogers, MS, RDN
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Written by
Romanwell Dietitians

Is coffee inflammatory or anti-inflammatory?

Coffee appears to be anti-inflammatory as research suggests it may reduce your risk for:

  • Endometrial, liver, and colorectal cancerď‚Ž ď‚Ž
  • Liver diseases, fibrosis (stiffening of the liver), cirrhosis, and gallstone diseaseď‚Ž
  • Type 2 diabetesď‚Ž ď‚Ž
  • Parkinson’s disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s diseaseď‚Ž

However, there does not appear to be an association between coffee consumption and C-reactive protein levels.ď‚Ž ď‚Ž

Is coffee a trigger beverage?

Coffee is frequently reported to trigger symptoms in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.    However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that coffee is a trigger for you in particular. In one study, 49% of people who reported coffee as a trigger beverage consumed coffee anyway.

Tips for improving tolerance to coffee

If coffee triggers your symptoms, here are a few tips to try that may improve tolerance:

  • Try decaf coffee instead
  • Add milk or non-dairy milk to dilute your coffee. If using cow’s milk, fat-free, lactose-free varieties may be better tolerated
  • Drink your coffee after eating breakfast so you don’t have it on an empty stomach
  • Try swapping out higher fat dairy (cream, half and half, whole milk) for fat free and lactose free cow's milk, or switch to a non-dairy alternative
  • Choose a non-dairy milk made with simple ingredients
  • Swap out sugar for date sugar or decrease the amount of sugar used

So, can you drink coffee with Crohn’s or colitis?

Yes, coffee appears to be safe to consume if you have Crohn’s or colitis, however it may trigger symptoms in certain individuals. If coffee triggers your symptoms, consider decreasing the amount you consume or having it after eating to improve tolerance.

As with all trigger foods and beverages, the choice of whether you consume it is ultimately up to you - sometimes the symptoms are worth it!

References

  1. Zhao LG, Li ZY, Feng GS, Ji XW, Tan YT, Li HL, Gunter MJ, Xiang YB. Coffee drinking and cancer risk: an umbrella review of meta-analyses of observational studies. BMC Cancer. 2020 Feb 5;20(1):101. doi: 10.1186/s12885-020-6561-9. PMID: 32024485; PMCID: PMC7003434.
  2. Sartini M, Bragazzi NL, Spagnolo AM, Schinca E, Ottria G, Dupont C, Cristina ML. Coffee Consumption and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 24;11(3):694. doi: 10.3390/nu11030694. PMID: 30909640; PMCID: PMC6471028.
  3. Poole R, Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Fallowfield JA, Hayes PC, Parkes J. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ. 2017 Nov 22;359:j5024. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j5024. Erratum in: BMJ. 2018 Jan 12;360:k194. PMID: 29167102; PMCID: PMC5696634.
  4. Carlström M, Larsson SC. Coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2018 Jun 1;76(6):395-417. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy014. PMID: 29590460.
  5. Moua ED, Hu C, Day N, Hord NG, Takata Y. Coffee Consumption and C-Reactive Protein Levels: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2020 May 8;12(5):1349. doi: 10.3390/nu12051349. PMID: 32397288; PMCID: PMC7285227.
  6. Paiva C, Beserra B, Reis C, Dorea JG, Da Costa T, Amato AA. Consumption of coffee or caffeine and serum concentration of inflammatory markers: A systematic review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(4):652-663. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1386159. Epub 2017 Nov 3. PMID: 28967799.
  7. Cohen AB, Lee D, Long MD, Kappelman MD, Martin CF, Sandler RS, Lewis JD. Dietary patterns and self-reported associations of diet with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2013 May;58(5):1322-8. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2373-3. Epub 2012 Aug 26. PMID: 22923336; PMCID: PMC3552110.
  8. de Vries JHM, Dijkhuizen M, Tap P, Witteman BJM. Patient's Dietary Beliefs and Behaviours in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dig Dis. 2019;37(2):131-139. doi: 10.1159/000494022. Epub 2018 Nov 2. PMID: 30391940; PMCID: PMC6381876.
  9. Zallot C, Quilliot D, Chevaux JB, Peyrin-Biroulet C, Guéant-Rodriguez RM, Freling E, Collet-Fenetrier B, Williet N, Ziegler O, Bigard MA, Guéant JL, Peyrin-Biroulet L. Dietary beliefs and behavior among inflammatory bowel disease patients. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2013 Jan;19(1):66-72. doi: 10.1002/ibd.22965. PMID: 22467242.
  10. Barthel C, Wiegand S, Scharl S, Scharl M, Frei P, Vavricka SR, Fried M, Sulz MC, Wiegand N, Rogler G, Biedermann L. Patients' perceptions on the impact of coffee consumption in inflammatory bowel disease: friend or foe?--a patient survey. Nutr J. 2015 Aug 12;14:78. doi: 10.1186/s12937-015-0070-8. PMID: 26265051; PMCID: PMC4534065.

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