“Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to go back to sleep.” – Fran Drescher
I knew I liked coffee for a reason. Actually, not coffee itself, but espresso – and, specifically, the type I prefer from my favorite baristas: a Venti triple shot, coconut milk latte, 180 degree temperature, 2 organic sweeteners, extra foam and extra steamed coconut milk on the side. I know, sounds more like a dessert drink than an eye-opener, yet the truth is that it gets my motor (and my brain running just fine). As it turns out, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence that favors drinking coffee that I must share.
Genetic Variant Linked to Heightened Ability to Taste Bitterness = More Coffee Consumption
Researchers at Northwestern University and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia conducted a study to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom. What they found in the study published in Scientific Reports was that people who have a heightened ability to taste the bitterness of coffee, rather than avoid it for unpleasant bitterness, drink more of it because they associate “good things with it.” Interestingly, bitterness (the genetic architecture of bitter taste) evolved as the body’s natural warning system to protect it from harmful substances. That’s why you’d expect we’d want to spit it out, not consume more. How alert coffee makes you feel, the psychological associations with good times and experiences are likely some of the good things the study alluded to.
Coffee Can Be Part of Healthy Diet
An umbrella review of meta-analyses of observational studies and randomized controlled trials determined that coffee was associated with a probable decreased risk of breast, colon, colorectal, and endometrial cancers; type 2 diabetes; Parkinson’s disease, and cardiovascular disease and death. Although some outcomes included a probable increased risk of pregnancy loss and rise in serum lipids and increased blood pressure, researchers concluded that the overall benefits of coffee point to its inclusion in dietary considerations. The study was published in the Annual Review of Nutrition.
Drinking Coffee after Abdominal Surgery Enhances Recovery
Postoperative ileus is a frequent complication following abdominal surgery, despite advances in surgical techniques and aftercare. Researchers sought to validate the recommendation for patients to drink coffee following abdominal surgery, given the ample scientific evidence of coffee’s health benefits in general and those affecting recovery after surgery in the abdomen in particular. For example, coffee induces bowel movements, and stimulates motor activity in the large intestine shortly after consumption. In fact, researchers found that coffee consumption significantly reduced time to first bowel movement, flatulence, audible bowel sounds, and tolerance for solid food. Another plus was the finding that postoperative coffee consumption slightly reduced patients’ hospital stay. Researchers noted that the benefits appear to increase with increased complexity of the surgical procedure performed.