Constipated? Try a Cup of Coffee!

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Constipated? Try a Cup of Coffee!

September 21
18:24 2017

As many of us get older, we experience difficulty in having regular bowel movements. There is no doubt that with age come more problems with constipation. Go to any drug store and watch which customers frequent the counter with the laxatives and you’ll find the majority of those customers are 40 and over.

Instead of a laxative, have you ever considered trying a cup of coffee instead?

For many years, coffee has been classified as a diuretic, meaning it causes dehydration and the need to urinate soon after drinking a cup of coffee. I’ve often heard this being one reason for the expression ‘drip coffee’ as it drips straight through the system to the kidneys, bladder and need to pee.

It’s that same reputation of being a diuretic that has led many doctors to recommend patients battling bowel problems to stop drinking coffee as dehydration can cause difficulty pooping.

However, some studies indicate that coffee is NOT a diuretic after all, indicating it may have been getting a bad rap. If you wonder why you have the urge to pee after drinking a cup of coffee, pay attention to when you drink a glass of water and you’ll most likely discover the same bodily reaction – the need to urinate.

If coffee isn’t the diuretic it’s been long accused of being one, then what is it that makes it a possible benefit to fight constipation?

To be honest, researchers aren’t positive. Some have thought it is the caffeine in coffee that stimulates the colon, leading to bowel movements, but then the same bowel response has been found in de-caffeinated coffee as well. That kind of negates that claim, at least for the time being. Besides, if it was the caffeine in coffee, then other sources of caffeine should have the same effect, but many people find that some of those other caffeinated sources, like chocolate, may seem to lead to constipation instead of helping it. Besides, if it was the caffeine, then many people drinking those highly caffeinated energy drinks would be running to the bathroom a lot more than they are.

According to one report:

“One study, published in 1990 in Gut, a journal of gastroenterology, found that coffee induces a ‘gastrocolonic response’ in some individuals just minutes after they consume the beverage. While the study failed to identify the exact cause of this response, researchers hypothesized that coffee somehow affects the epithelial tissue lining the stomach and the small intestine.”

“The Gut study also found that coffee promotes the release of gastrin, a hormone produced within the stomach and known to increase motor activity in the colon. As this area of the of the colon is closest to the rectum, researchers concluded that increased activity there could be responsible for coffee’s laxative effects.”

Even though this study was conducted 27-years ago, most researchers are still not certain what it is about coffee that stimulates the bowel and helps to fight constipation. It may be the release of gastrin, but further studies have not confirmed that earlier research. Most researchers say they have no clue what it is about coffee that appears to stimulate the bowel.

In some people, it could a response to the oil found in coffee beans. Allow me to explain.

About 25-years ago, I suddenly developed IBS – irritable bowel syndrome. Certain foods will cause me to experience severe intestinal cramping and diarrhea. I’ve had to learn that some foods are no longer part of my diet, including some of my favorites like cooked spinach. Within an hour of eating it, I’m in agony and heading for the porcelain throne. I have to be careful with fatty meats like bacon and sausages, eating them in limited quantities and not too frequently. I used to drink several cups of coffee a day, not for the caffeine as I have a genetic immunity to stimulants like caffeine, but I drank it because I liked it. I drank my coffee black and liked it strong. Until suddenly I found that even half a cup of coffee led to agony. When I asked my doctor what it was about the coffee, he said probably the oil. I asked what oil and he asked if I ever noticed the shiny surface to a cup of black coffee and then it dawned on me. That very thin layer of oil, glimmering on the surface of a cup of coffee was the culprit.

Perhaps researchers need to investigate the natural oil found in coffee beans. If it’s that powerful to send me into abdominal agony and uncontrollable diarrhea, then perhaps the secret lies in the properties of coffee bean oil. Perhaps on people without IBS, it just acts as a bowel stimulant.

Anyway, if you suffer from constipation, try a cup or two of java. It just might be the ticket to help you poop.

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