They say that only two things are certain in this world: death and taxes. But as a person with no plans on ever perishing and a petulantly Libertarian view on paying my fair share, this idiom never really tracked with me. For me, I only abide two masters: coffee and pooping, both in order of importance and chronologically.
The coffee-make-boom-boom phenomenon is widely known yet not fully understood. What about coffee exactly is it that greases the wheels of progress so effectively? Is it the caffeine? Is coffee a jealous lover, so determined to be the only substance in our hearts and stomachs that it is willing to go to great lengths to literally push out the competition?
But thanks to new research, scientists have a pretty good idea what’s going on between your Bodum and your bottom.
As reported by Gizmodo, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston presented their findings on the topic over the weekend at the Digestive Disease Week research conference. In them they reaffirm what many scientists thought to be the case: coffee helps the muscles in the small and large intestines contract, which helps speed up food’s wait time in the digestive tract.
To reach this conclusion, researchers gave lab rats coffee over the course of three days to examine its affect on their tiny little butts. Different groups of rats were given both caffeinated and decaf coffee, after which they received a “physical examination and probe, focusing on the muscles that contract and help guide food (and eventually waste) through the gut.” The scientists also “studied how muscle tissues from the gut directly reacted to coffee in the lab.” They found that regardless of caffeine levels, coffee had the same “stimulating effect on gut motility,” as lead author Xuan-Zheng Shi tells Gizmodo.
Researchers also found that coffee may have an antibacterial affect on the microbiome in your gut, which sounds theoretically like a good thing but in fact is not. Examining rat poop from before the coffee experiments and after, they found “less total bacteria” in the coffee poops. They also found that the bacteria in poop grew less rapidly when exposed to a coffee solution in a petri dish, suggesting that coffee could be suppressing healthy bacterial growth in the gut, which goes against previous findings on the subject.
Shi states that more research needs to be conducted on the antibacterial properties of coffee, but one thing is for certain: coffee puts your intestinal muscles to work. Move over six-pack abs, a well-toned large intestine is the dad bod of summer 2019, and we have coffee to thank.
Top image © Tierney/Adobe Stock