If you’re a regular drinker, then you know a cup of coffee is usually followed by a trip to the bathroom not long after. While the daily drink is always a topic of contention when it comes to our health, new research says that this funny side effect means coffee is actually good for digestion — and more!
For many of us, coffee is a vital part of our morning routines — and it might also be the thing that keeps us on a regular digestive schedule. According to a new scientific review published in Nutrients, coffee aids in digestion and has a positive effect on some of its processes. And good news for java-lovers: the research found that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day was not found to have harmful effects on our digestive organs!
Researchers looked at 194 publications to find similarities as to the benefits of drinking coffee. One constant was the fact that coffee seemed to aid in gastric, biliary, and pancreatic secretions. All of these are vital for the digestion of food, and coffee seemed to stimulate their production. In particular, coffee helped stimulate the amount gastrin (a digestive hormone) and hydrochloric acid (found in gastric juice) — two key factors in helping our stomach digest food.
If you’re someone who always has to go number two after a cup of coffee, you’re not alone. The review found that coffee is associated with colon motility, making it just as effective as cereal in helping you go to the bathroom. This tidbit could lead to a reduced risk of chronic constipation, according to researchers.
Is coffee good for your gut?
While that all might make sense to us, as we can physically feel the effects of coffee on our body, the fact remains that the daily brew is pretty acidic. I would think that means it’s likely bad for our gut — the system that ranges from our esophagus all the way down to our colon — but turns out, it might not be!
According to the review, coffee was indeed found to induce changes in our gut microbiota. Specifically, it had a positive impact on the levels of Bifidobacteria, a probiotic considered “good” bacteria. That means drinking coffee could actually help keep the gut healthy.
Overall, lead conductor Astrid Nehlig, PhD, Emeritus Research Director at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), found that coffee isn’t as bad for our digestive systems as we might have thought. In fact, it’s helpful for some.
“In some instances, coffee has a protective effect against common digestive complaints such as constipation,” she commented, according to EurekaAlert. “Although additional data will be needed to understand coffee’s effects throughout the digestive tract, this is an extremely encouraging place to begin.”
So, if you’re struggling with digestion, coffee might actually be the good-for-you cure you’ve been needing!