Does coffee aid digestion? Many people like to have their cup of joe in the morning to get a boost of caffeine so that they can face a hectic day at work. But there are also many of us who have a cup of strong coffee after a copious lunch, as it seems that coffee is a great catalyst for digestion. Is this a myth or real?
A cup of joe after your meal
Coffee is widely praised for its energizing effect, but if you pay attention while you are at the restaurant you will notice that it is also popularly consumed as a digestive. Many coffee lovers agree that a shot of espresso after their meal make them feel less drowsy. The caffeine effect is felt just within 15 minutes of sipping your coffee, it peaks after one hour and can last up to six hours after.
Therefore, coffee prevents you having a food coma and stay awake, because it has stimulating properties which enhance your reaction times and performance. When you drink coffee after a meal it does not only keep you reactive but also contribute for a better digestion. This is because your energy level and digestion process are intrinsically related
So how does coffee aid digestion?
Coffee stimulates gastric, bile and pancreatic secretions. Researches have demonstrated that the consumption of coffee increase the secretion of gastrin hormone by the stomach wall. During this process the production of gastric acid is also triggered.
What is interesting is that the amount of gastric acid produced depend on how much the coffee have been roasted. It has been noted that dark roasted coffee is less effective in stimulating the production of gastric acid. This mainly because the coffee beans lose some of its compound during the roasting process.
Do you know want to know another reason why does coffee aid digestion? It has been noted that it increase gut motility; it helps to stimulate the muscles in the colon which promote peristalsis. This is the process whereby muscle contraction make the food move along the digestive tract. Hence, coffee does aid digestion and sometimes it can also accelerate the excretion process.
A cup of espresso for sure will help for a better digestion, but it should not be considered as the super remedy to alleviate your stomach if you are having digestion troubles. You have to take some factors in consideration when having a cup of coffee after your meal; the quantity and kind of food you ate (for e.g acidic) if you consumed alcohol and also the intensity of the coffee. Too much of alcohol, acidic food and strong coffee make a bad cocktail that can cause heartburn.
On the other side when you ate a very little amount of food but have excessive coffee just after, it can cause undesired effects like diarrhea.
Which kind of coffee help digestion
Roasted coffee help your gut to produce acid that favors digestion, however too much acid will result in adverse effects. Therefore, the best coffee that help agreeable digestion will come beans that have been roasted at an optimum degree. They will neither be excessively nor not enough acidic, this attribute can be found in French and Italian roast.
Moreover, when buying your coffee, try to choose beans produced in countries like Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Sumatra and Indonesia. The are countries with lower altitudes and beans grown there have a low level of acidity. You can also look for coffee beans which have ‘low acid’ label.
The best time and what coffee to drink
There is a part of the human brain which is called suprachiasmatic nucleus that control the cortisol level in our body. When secreted, this substance make us become more alert and reactive ( just like caffeine does).
Therefore, drinking coffee during these time when your cortisol level is high will add up additional stress on your body. The good news is that cortisol its at its low level during the afternoon. Hence, if you are having your lunch at around 12 -2pm there is no likely risk that it happens.
If it happens that you have a high level of cortisol, then a half decaffeinated coffee will be more appropriate and less chance to give side effects like heartburn. An interesting fact is that most people like to have espresso after lunch, this is because it is almost calorie-free and in small quantity.
However, if you have an Affogato (ice cream coffee) instead, chances of a smooth digestion are very low!
We can say that having a cup of coffee after a meal has also become a habit. Even though the answer to question if does coffee aid digestion is yes, many of us like to have a cup of coffee after lunch just by habits or as a treat.
However, after a copious meal, excessive or a coffee which is too strong is not recommended. I hope that you enjoyed this article and if just like me you love having a cup of coffee after lunch you can share your experience!