coffee ‘good for your tummy’
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French roast, and other dark-roasted coffee are not harmful for the tummy as was
previously believed because these roasts contain a substance that tells the
stomach to reduce production of acid, according to a study.
And people who resist from enjoying that much-desired morning cup of coffee,
because of fear of stomach irritation can also take a sigh of relief because
scientists have discovered the culprits behind that heartburn and stomach pain
in every cup.
The research could lead to a new generation of stomach-friendly brews with the
rich taste and aroma of regular coffee, said the scientists.
"This discovery is going to help a lot of people who suffer from coffee
sensitivity. As coffee-lovers, we’re very excited about this research," said Dr.
Veronika Somoza from the University of Vienna in Austria, and Dr. Thomas
Hofmann, from the Technische Universitat Munchen in Germany, who conducted the
Doctors think that chemicals in coffee cause the stomach to overproduce acid,
while some coffee drinkers take antacids or drink decaffeinated coffee in an
effort to reduce this effect, while others turn to a small but growing number of
specialty coffee brews marketed as stomach friendly.
Somoza said that the processes used to produce stomach-friendly coffee also
could reduce the amount of healthful substances in the coffee, including some
that scientists have linked to benefits such as protection against diabetes and
In addition, the processing can affect the robust taste and smell of coffee.
To study the irritants in coffee, the scientists exposed cultures of human
stomach cells to a variety of different coffee preparations, including regular,
dark-roast, mild, decaffeinated, and stomach-friendly. They identified several
substances that appeared to trigger chemical changes associated with increased
These substances include caffeine, catechols, and other ingredients.
"Our data show, for the first time, that caffeine, catechols and
N-alkanoly-5-hydroxytryptamides are those coffee components that stimulate
molecular mechanisms of stomach acid secretion in human stomach cells. Most of
them are indeed removed by steam or solvent treatment of the raw coffee bean. We
found out there’s no single, key irritant. It is a mixture of compounds that
seem to cause the irritant effect of coffee," said Somoza.
The scientists unexpectedly found that one of the coffee components, N-methylpyridium
(NMP), seems to block the ability of the stomach cells to produce hydrochloric
acid and could provide a way to reduce or avoid stomach irritation.
Since NMP is generated only upon roasting and not found in raw coffee beans,
darker-roasted coffees contain higher amounts of this stomach-friendly coffee
Dark- roasted coffee can potentially contain up to twice as much of the
ingredient as light-roasted coffees, but its levels can vary widely depending on
the variety of coffee bean and the roasting method, noted Somoza.
"Since NMP is generated upon roasting, dark-roast coffees contain high amounts
of this stomach friendly coffee ingredient. Now, there is hope for a good
morning start with a freshly brewed cup of optimized stomach friendly coffee,"
said the researchers.
The scientists are testing different varieties of raw coffee beans and different
roasting methods in an effort to boost NMP levels to make a better
They hope to test the new brew in human volunteers later in 2010.
The study has been presented at the 239th National Meeting of the American
ANI / Times of India