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Home / Microbiota Health / 7 Gut-Friendly Coffee Alternatives

7 Gut-Friendly Coffee Alternatives

July 25, 2022
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Does drinking coffee send your stomach into more backflips than a trapeze artist in the circus? Still wish you could enjoy a nice, refreshing beverage to start your morning?

Say goodbye to frustrating coffee side effects like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. No more jitters or feeling anxious either.

We’ve pulled together a list of 7 gut-friendly coffee alternatives to satisfy your drink cravings and get your day started on the right foot.

Ready to dive in? Let’s do it.

1. Chicory Root

First on the list of gut-healthy coffee alternatives, we have chicory root. Similar to coffee, chicory has more of a bitter flavor to it, which makes it a great natural coffee substitute. And it doesn’t come packed with caffeine, so you can avoid side effects like feeling jittery, anxious, or a rapid heartbeat.

In general, cutting back on stimulants like coffee can help you stabilize blood sugar levels, balance out stress hormones, and avoid feeling jittery or anxious. 

Chicory root is high in inulin, a soluble fiber that supports digestion, serves as prebiotic fuel for the good bacteria in your gut, and helps to reduce inflammation.

Making chicory coffee is super simple. You can prepare it just like regular coffee—both hot and cold-brewed.

2. Green and Matcha Tea

Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, and it’s made by brewing tea leaves. Matcha, on the other hand, is simply just a ground down version of green tea leaves.

Both green tea and matcha tea are fantastic gut-friendly coffee alternatives. Key benefits include:

  • Promoting healthy gut bacteria
  • Disrupting the growth of disease-causing bacteria
  • Improving the diversity of your gut microbiome

A compound in the green tea plant—epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)—is also thought to have some pretty amazing anti-inflammatory capabilities. One study found that participants who took an EGCG-based supplement daily over the course of two months improved ulcerative colitis symptoms by 58%.

3. Black Tea

Many people say that black tea is one of the best coffee alternatives for IBS. And the good news is that it contains only about half the amount of caffeine as normal coffee.

The polyphenols (aka natural micronutrients found in plants) contribute to a healthy gut by fostering the growth of good bacteria and stopping bad bacteria, like Salmonella, from growing.

Black tea possesses antimicrobial properties that rid the body of harmful substances, and it supports immune health by helping to restore the lining of your GI tract.

4. Ginger Tea

Super delicious and good for your gut—ginger definitely deserves a spot on the list of gut-healthy coffee substitutes. Ginger’s main calling card comes from easing nausea symptoms, but it also provides relief from indigestion, and reduces gas and bloating.

Gingerols, an important phytonutrient in ginger, possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to support a healthy gut microbiome. There’s even a study out there that suggests ginger may be better than some medications for managing morning sickness during pregnancy.

Maybe the most significant benefit of all though, has to do with acid reflux. Ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation and decrease the chances of stomach acid from rolling up into the esophagus, making it a great natural coffee substitute for acid reflux.

5. Hot Lemon Water

This is the perfect gut-healthy coffee substitute if you want a hot, flavorful drink with some zing. It’s quick and easy to make with only two ingredients, but it’s jam-packed with a ton of vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals, and antioxidants.

The digestive goodness in hot lemon water not only supports your immune system and a healthy gut, but it can even do things like improve your skin. Another benefit of lemon water is that it mimics the acids in your stomach. Having a nice, refreshing glass encourages your gut to produce more bile, which helps your digestive tract continue to run smoothly.

6. Kombucha

This gut-friendly coffee alternative won’t even seem like that much of a replacement for your regular coffee, because it’s THAT good.

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that has roots in Northeast China. The most common probiotic species in kombucha include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are known for promoting healthy gut bacteria and a diverse gut microbiome.

Its benefits for digestion stem from the fermentation process, which is how it’s made. Like other fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, kombucha contains live probiotic bacteria that help to fortify your gut’s lining.

Kombucha makes for a nice iced coffee substitute, so if you're looking for a cold drink in the mornings, this one’s it!

7. Licorice Root Tea

The last gut-friendly coffee substitute on our list (but certainly not least) is licorice root tea.

Licorice tea increases the mucous coating that lines your esophagus and helps protect it from acid that flows up from the stomach. For this reason, licorice tea is a great coffee alternative for GERD and acid reflux.

It’s also good for easing digestive symptoms, such as upset stomach, nausea, gas, and bloating. Not to mention licorice tea contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to boost your immune system and fight off the common cold or flu.

Enjoy Your Morning With a Refreshing Coffee Alternative

There’s absolutely no need to put yourself through digestive problems like nausea, constipation, being jittery and anxious, or feeling like you’re going to throw up in your mouth from acid reflux…All just to drink coffee.

If your digestive system just doesn’t mix well with a cup of Joe, there are plenty of gut-friendly coffee alternatives to start your mornings off with or have as a tasty drink throughout the day.

Make some hot or cold-brewed chicory root coffee, try some green tea for ulcerative colitis relief, or boil some hot lemon water to soothe your throat, provide digestive support, and promote a healthy gut, all at the same time.

If your body’s intolerant to coffee, that might not be the only thing. Check out our blog post on common food sensitivities and how probiotics can help you manage them.

About the Author:

Chad Richardson is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, OH. When he’s not behind his computer, you can find Chad at the gym doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation, scrolling through Netflix trying to find a new binge-worthy show, or out at a game rooting on his hometown sports teams.

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