Does coffee aid digestion?

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!

Conclusion

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!

 

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9 thoughts on “Does coffee aid digestion?”

  1. Wow, I never knew that coffee aids digestion. I usually peak in mid-afternoon after having carbs at lunch time. Now I don’t have garbs for lunch anymore.

    After reading your post I could have a cup of coffee to help stop the mid-afternoon slumber.

  2. Hi Arnaud, great article about my favorite drink! I know for myself that coffee affects the digestive tract because when I drink one cup I have to go to the toilet immediately after half an hour. But it all depends, as you mentioned, on the time of day when I drink it. It works best for me in the morning and it’s just roasted coffee since I have no lactose tolerance I don’t drink the ones with milk. I like strong roasted coffee without sugar, which shakes the body. In my land it is called Turkish coffee. However, I do not like to drink it in the afternoon and during the period when I am under stress. I find that coffee has many positive effects if consumed properly at certain times and in moderation. Thanks for the text, I enjoyed reading and I will definitely bookmark your site!
    All the best,
    Danijela

    1. Hello Danijela! Yes coffee is great for digestion as long as it is taken with moderation. You are right, there is nothing better than a strong coffee in the morning to get boosted! Thanks for sharing with us.

      Cheers

  3. Hi Arnaud, Very interesting. I knew that Green Coffee was used in some dietary supplements but never really looked into the effects it has on digestion much. Although, you make a very good point about having a food coma after eating a big meal. You definitely don’t want to be falling asleep on a full stomach. I never really thought about that. Also, I find the science very interesting so may have to do some research of my own. Many thanks; Alex

    PS: Would you recommend any specific Coffee for Weight Loss?

    1. Hi Alex,

      I’m glad that you love the article! The coffee recipe to lose weight is easy and simple 🙂 just black coffee without sugar and you may have any brand you want!

      Cheers

  4. Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve always found coffee to be a great digestive and it actually helps regulate my plumbing for want of a better word so another little side benefit for me.

    You mentioned high cortisol and decaffeinated coffee, but does decaf in general offer less digestive benefits when compared to regular roasted caffeinated coffee?

    1. Hello Jason

      Decaffeinated coffee do not have caffeine which contain the compound that help the stomach produce gastrin acid. Hence a 100% decaffeinated coffee will not help digestion.

      However a cup of half decaffeinated
      coffee may help to some degree

      Cheers 🙂

  5. Wow….. I drink coffee because I enjoy the experience that goes with it. I mean I like going to cafes and sitting around and watching the world go by.
    I didn’t realize there was so much science involved in what happens once the coffee has entered our bodies. I knew strong black coffee helps keep everything regular, but I never knew why. Thanks for explaining it.

    I normally have 2 or sometimes 3 coffees a day. The first one is in the mid-morning, then early afternoon, and sometimes just after dinner. However, very rarely I do have trouble sleeping, and I do know it is because of the amount of caffeine in my system. So when this happens I will go a day or two without a coffee, just to allow my system to detox.

    Thanks for sharing this information.

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