Drinking coffee has a wide array of impacts on the body, ranging from beneficial to detrimental, depending on how much is consumed and the individual's sensitivity to caffeine. From my biased position in the coffee industry, I want to say coffee is all good without any downsides.
However, for millions of people in the United States, coffee consumption conflicts with their medical conditions. While for some it might be coffee in "general", but other others it is acidity, caffeine, or both acidity and caffeine that are a problem.
First, let's look at caffeine and caffeinated coffee and then we will consider acidity.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in more than 60 plants around the world. Coffee is what comes to mind for most of us when we think caffeine, but tea and cocoa are other popular items people consume that have caffeine.
The Positives of Caffeine:
Caffeine is the primary active ingredient in coffee, which is central nervous system stimulant and can lead to improved alertness, concentration, and cognitive functioning.
Some studies suggest that caffeine can increase metabolism and help with weight loss. (although I can't say it has taken care of my few extra pounds).
Many have also concluded that caffeine can energize your immune system.
The Negative Side of Caffeine:
Caffeine coffee can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This can be a problem for people that are sensitive to caffeine or that consume large amounts of coffee.
Caffeine is not recommended for women during pregnancy.
Remember coffee is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration and increase trips to the bathroom.
Caffeine can affect your digestive tract by increasing the production of stomach acid, which can lead to a whole host of problems for millions of Americans.
Some of these negatives can be a major problem for people that are sensitive to the caffeine in coffee such as acid reflux, Barret's syndrome, silent reflux, and IC to name a few. However, you do not have to stop drinking coffee or avoid coffee altogether. Let's consider IC.
How Common is Interstitial Cystitis?
The CDC defines Interstitial Cystitis (IC) "is a chronic bladder condition resulting in recurring discomfort or pain....." in the bladder or surrounding pelvic region. https://www.cdc.gov/ic/about/index.html
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. IC is rather common. "The condition may affect between 3 million and 8 million women and between 1 million and 4 million men in the United States." That is a lot of folks and many of them suffer but are undiagnosed. See the NID article here.
Coffee and the Urinary Tract?
Am I going to discuss the unity tract in detail in this coffee blog? No. Plus, I am not a doctor, what do I know?
Does caffeine impact the bladder?
However, I will mention it here because caffeine affects bladder muscles and can be a trigger and since coffee is a diuretic it may make you visit the bathroom more often, it certainly will affect people with conditions like IC.
Coffee and Urinary Tract Infections?
From what I have read, nobody is quite sure yet. Again, as a diuretic that increases bathroom usage, urinary symptoms, and can also cause dehydration, I can see how this might be a problem. Now, let's get back to coffee and caffeine.
Great Options for those with Interstitial Cystitis.
If you are a coffee drinker and you suffer from urinary tract infections or if have IC or other medical condition that is affecting you, I cannot recommend enough that you find a water-processed decaffeinated coffee. Drinking decaf coffee is not enough. If you drink decaf coffee, it most be a water processed decaffeinated coffee. I have written about water processed decafs in my article water process decafs swiss water or mountain water which is better.
But the point I will make to you is to only drink a water-processed decaf. Other decaf methods use chemicals.
Here is an excerpt from that article: "The most common process for decaffeinating coffee in the United States involves the use of a chemical, Methyl Chloride (CH3Cl) also known as chloromethane. Methyl Chloride (MC) is a gas that is colorless, flammable, and toxic. Don't take my word for it, look it up".
Find a good water-based decaf and make sure that it is organic. The whole method of processing water decafs use organic and organic-compliant methods and materials, so you might as well start with an organic coffee and have the whole process organic.
Does Decaffeinated Coffee Affect Urination?
Mountain Water (MW) processed decaf coffee has residual caffeine of .004%. So MW decafs have near trace amounts. So, the almost complete elimination of caffeine, which is known as a diuretic, can increase urine production and urinary frequency, and may effect a urinary tract infection, should be a major help to alleviate these symptoms that are exasperated by caffeine.
However, some decaffeinated coffees may have added ingredients or chemicals used in the decaffeination process that may have diuretic effects, so make sure to get an organic decaf. No Folgers decaf coffee please.
So you need to find an organic water-processed decaffeinated coffee. Reducing caffeine consumption alone will not be enough, and most decaf coffee irritate the digestive system because of the processing additives.
What About The Acids In Coffee?
Regular coffee has lots of acidic compounds. Nearly 8% of the dry weight of coffee is naturally occurring acids. So, while eliminating caffeine may be a game changer for you, to get the ball over the goalline for many people the acidity of coffee is a major problem. In fact, in my estimation, most people that I talk with can tolerate caffeine to some degree, but the acid is the bigger problem. Whatever your case might be, beware of the acid.
I think I mention Chlorogenic acid in just about every article I write. It always seems to come back to the acidity levels. The fact is, all coffee is high in acid. Regular coffee or decaf coffee is does not matter. Moreover, virtually all coffee is still high in acid even after it is roasted. And that's not all, coffees that claim to be "low acid" or "no acid", still have too much acid in my opinion.
Here is how it works. As I mentioned early, 8% of an unroasted coffee bean by weight is comprised of acids. Acetic, Malic, and Chlorogenic, to name just a few. Some of those acids are easy to eliminate during the roast and others are not. See my article Is coffee an acid everything you should know about coffee acidity, where i discuss volatile and nonvolatile acids. Unfortunately, most conventional roasting methods today, do not impact the nonvolatile acids and leave much of the acid content and some of the harshest acids in the coffee, which are the toughest on people's systems.
Slow Roasted Low Acid Coffees
Slow roasting is the most effective means to remove acid from coffee beans. It does not involve chemicals, pretreatments, or other fanciful and questionable methods. Slow roasting is simply time and the temperature of the roast. The duration of the roast and the finished temperatures reduce even the most persistent nonvolatile acids to near trace amounts. Slow roasting eliminates all the bright acidic notes, fruitiness in the taste, and tea-like body of other coffees. Slow-roasted coffee tastes like coffee. Plus, they are very rich and very smooth, naturally.
Low Acid Coffee by pH
Like all acidic liquids, coffee can be scored on the pH scale. If you want to know more about pH-scoring coffee, read my artcile measuring low acid coffee.
Slow-roasted coffee always has among the best pH scores in the coffee industry. The numbers do not lie.
The Summary Review
If you struggle with caffeine, choose an organic natural water processed decaffeinated coffee. If acid is a problem, choose slow roasted low acid coffee, they always score among the best in pH.
If you struggle with caffeine and acid, find an organic natural water processed decaf. If you are tired of searching, try Mavericks Coffee. I have been slow roasting the highest scoring organic low acid coffees in the industry since 2004. Both other regular and water-processed decaf coffees. Shoot me your email address in the box below and I will send you a discount for your first order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Drinking Decaf Coffee Help IC?
If you struggle with bladder irritation or experience overactive bladder, start drinking coffee a good natural water processed is great choice for a decaf coffee.
Does Coffee Worsen UTI Symptoms?
The caffeine in coffee may have an impact in Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) symptoms because caffeine can stimulate urinary frequency and it can have a diuretic and cause dehydration. Search for decaf coffees that water based decaffeinated.