(AscendHealthy.com) – Not much compares to a nice, hot cup of coffee after a good meal. Some people swear by it for good digestion, while others claim it can cause stomach upset. We’ve waded through the myths and facts to get to the bottom of the debate, once and for all.
Fact: Coffee May Improve Digestion
Does a cup of coffee seem to help after you’ve eaten a particularly heavy meal? There’s been some debate over coffee’s benefits for digestion, but a recent report released by researchers in Italy may finally put that argument to rest. The researchers found drinking coffee causes the stomach to produce gastrin and gastric acid, improving digestion.
They also found, however, that coffee didn’t increase the rate that the stomach emptied into the small intestine; some studies have even suggested that coffee may delay gastric emptying, which may have perpetuated the myth that coffee causes indigestion. Results in the area of gastric emptying have been mixed.
Myth: Coffee Causes Heartburn
Although there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that coffee can cause heartburn, the research really doesn’t back it. In fact, a study involving 1837 people showed no significant difference in gastroesophageal reflux symptoms between coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. This was regardless of whether they added milk and/or sugar to their drinks.
Fact: Coffee Can Speed Up the Lower GI
It wasn’t your imagination if it seemed like that morning cup on an empty stomach may jump-start your lower GI tract. Coffee works so well in that department, researchers have found it to be a great option for reducing the severity of post-op gut paralysis after hysterectomy, cesarean section, and other pelvic surgeries. Many people find a cup a day keeps the laxatives away.
Myth: Coffee Is Bad for Your Gut
Coffee is rich in an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which may help protect the gut and reduce inflammation. It appears to do this by altering the balance of intestinal microbes — increasing the ratio of “good bacteria” and decreasing the numbers of “bad” ones. The effects of coffee on gut microbes could be far-reaching, protecting against numerous inflammatory diseases and even reducing stomach cancer risks.
Fact: Coffee May Protect Against Obesity
A healthy number of beneficial microbes could also help your weight, with research showing a strong correlation between unhealthy gut microbe ratios and obesity. This may have to do with the role some microbes appear to play in glucose and lipid metabolism. Similarly, they may help to improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risks, which are both serious concerns for most people battling obesity.
Let go of the myths; coffee is great for digestion, and it could even help balance your gut. Go ahead and enjoy a cup or two. Just make sure not to offset the benefits with high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, which may destroy that delicate balance.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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