Coffee may help decrease the production of gallstones and the swelling of the pancreas, according to a study from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC). Coffee may also promote the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut, researchers say. In addition to maintaining gut bacteria and boosting gut motility, coffee drinking has been shown to have additional digestive benefits that are highlighted in this study.
“The effect of coffee on digestion is an evolving area of research. Data indicates benefits against common digestive complaints such as constipation, as well as a potential reduction in the risk of more serious conditions like chronic liver diseases, from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), gallstones, and related pancreatitis,” says lead author Carlo La Vecchia, in a statement. La Vecchia is a Professor at the Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Italy.
Coffee and Gut Health
An estimated 10% to 15% of adults have gallstone disease, which is brought on by the buildup of gallstones in the gallbladder. However, the risk of developing the disease decreases with increased coffee intake. The way in which coffee does this is not yet fully understood, but, since similar effects are not shown with decaffeinated coffee, it is speculated that caffeine plays a role in these relationships.
Not just any caffeine will do, though. Previous studies suggest coffee offers many health and environmental benefits, such as stimulating plant growth and supporting brain health. This led researchers to investigate the role of coffee in heartburn and its more severe form known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or (GERD). The results did not reveal a connection between coffee consumption and heartburn, however, the study did indicate a major gut-coffee link.
More specifically, the paper examined how coffee impacts the microbiota, the diverse populations of microbes in the gut. According to recent research, drinking coffee increases the number of good bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium spp., in the stomach. The polyphenols, or micronutrients, found in coffee along with the high amount of fiber that coffee packs is believed to aid in the formation of beneficial microbes in the digestive tract.
Coffee is also associated with enhanced intestinal motility, according to the study’s results. Coffee is believed to accelerate digestion by increasing the production of stomach acid, as well as chemicals in the pancreas, and bile.
As one of the most extensively examined beverages, coffee’s effects on digestion continues to be a major subject of interest in scientific circles. Coffee connoisseurs and researchers alike are eager to know the mechanisms behind coffee’s beneficial effects within the digestive system.