theLike most of us, you’ve likely been there: You mind your work, ruminate about your morning routine, only to have a sudden, urgent need to go second. This is the reality of drinking coffee. After all, the cult favorite drink may be best known for its energy-boosting abilities, but it’s also a laxative.
It’s important to keep in mind that, as great as sipping on an iced coffee while walking through a farmer’s market or embarking on your daily hot-girl outing, this practice can lead to a potentially bad attitude — quite literally. That’s because walking alone can get your bowels moving, and adding a laxative to the equation can have you flushing it out in the nearest bathroom.
What is so special about the combination of coffee and walking?
“Coffee and heart are both known to stimulate the bowels,” says Samantha Nazareth, MD, a New York City-based gastroenterologist. The combination of the two increases the likelihood that you will find yourself in a situation where you have to go right now (Although you may be far from the toilet).
Study published in Diseases of the colon and rectum It found that having caffeine in the water resulted in an earlier urge to defecate than drinking the same amount of water without the caffeine. This is likely because caffeine causes the muscles in the intestines to contract.
But caffeine alone isn’t the only culprit. “Coffee stimulates the release of two hormones, gastrin (which is released in the stomach) and cholecystokinin (which is released from the small intestine),” gut health expert Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN previously told Well + Good. It releases bile and digestive enzymes, which kick-start the digestion process. Coffee also stimulates stomach acids, which help move food through our system.
Meanwhile, walking activates those core muscles (and your digestive system), even if we don’t necessarily feel like we’re getting a core workout. “Just a simple walk will contract your abdominal muscles, help pass gas and stool, and keep you regular,” gastroenterologist Nikit Sonpal, MD, told Well + Good previously.
Is there a way to go for a coffee walk without pooping?
We know what you’re thinking: How can I cut such a delicious ritual out of my morning routine? Because we’re not going to lie — going out for a morning walk to the coffee shop, or with our favorite travel mug, is a really exhilarating way to start the day. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use so you don’t have to skip it completely.
Calculate when you drink your coffee and heart disease after a bowel movement
If you know things usually move around in the morning, Dr. Nazareth suggests waiting until after you’ve finished your work to go out for a walk.
Stick to one cup of coffee
This way you don’t overload your system with caffeine or stimulate those digestive-boosting hormones and acids too much.
Stay away from dairy and bleach
says dr. Nasira: “Lactose can stimulate a bowel movement, especially if you’re lactose intolerant.”
We know this may sound like blasphemy to some, but it can help. says dr.
Some people find that iced coffee does not affect their gut as strongly as hot coffee. While there is no research to definitively support this, you can test it to see if your body responds differently to a cold brew.
Try bevvie, which is gentle on the gut
My personal drinks are Alani Nu Energy Drinks ($28/12) and Better Days Caffeinated Greens ($90 for 60 servings). Or, on days when I want some fizz, I rely on my old faithful: Polar Seltzer Water ($4/8).
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