Add gut health and disease prevention to long list of coffee benefits

A new study has found that coffee may help protect against common gut health problems like gallstones, as well as supporting beneficial gut bacteria that confer a variety of protective effects. The study was published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee; it builds upon a large body of existing research into the beverage's potential health benefits, others of which include improved blood sugar, decreased Alzheimer's risk, and more.

The new study looks into the impact coffee may have on gut health, of which there are numerous potential benefits. The report details an association between drinking coffee and decreased risk of gallstones, something that may be due in part to the caffeine found in the beans — the same benefit isn't linked to consumption of decaffeinated coffee.

The research also found that coffee consumption may have a protective effect against pancreatitis, as well, a painful condition in which the pancreas may become inflamed. Though the condition may resolve in days, in others it can be chronic and last for years.

The beneficial effects may be due, in part, to the impact coffee has on gut bacteria, which potentially has an impact on everything from blood pressure to dementia, heart disease, insulin, and more. Coffee beans may help support beneficial gut bacteria through a combination of dietary fiber and polyphenols.

Coffee may also support general digestion by helping the body release pancreatic secretions, gastic acid, and bile. As known to many coffee drinkers, the beverage can also stimulate gut motility, helping people who suffer from constipation maintain more regularity.