Coffee lovers, is your daily mug of coffee making you rush for the bathroom? You might have to play detective to figure out if you need to blame the milk or the coffee itself. “While some actually welcome caffeine to help produce a bowel movement in the morning, the effects of caffeine as a stimulant on the bowels can cause cramping and bloating,” says Fiorella DiCarlo RD, CDN. “To lessen pain or cramps, one can try to avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach and drink it during or after breakfast.” Of course, the problem could be lactose intolerance: Find out by eliminating milk some mornings to see how you do.
Trouble sleeping at night
Luckily for us java junkies, experts say drinking coffee is truly a healthy choice. Still, we have to exercise some common sense. “Coffee can be part of a healthy diet as long as it is in moderation—coffee contains antioxidant, increase cognitive skills in studies and contains minerals like magnesium and chromium which helps body use insulin that controls blood sugar,” says DiCarlo. But that 3 p.m. cup of office coffee can leave you tossing and turning all night long. “Try to stop drinking coffee between noon and 2 p.m. and keep in mind that it could take 10 hours for caffeine to oxidize out of the body.”
That iced coffee not doing it for you, all of a sudden? First, make sure you’re not indulging in any of the eight most common foods that drain your energy levels. Then consider the fact that when you’re used to sipping on coffee day after day, you might need more than a cup or two to achieve alertness. “The stimulatory effects of caffeine diminish in most people with continued use, so the initial increase in energy and alertness that follows caffeine ingestion becomes less pronounced with repeated use,” says Alan Gaby, MD, author of the textbook Nutritional Medicine. “The best thing people can do is to discontinue caffeine for a while and then use it only occasionally after that.” Learn more about the weird things that happen to your body when you stop drinking coffee.