Many people prepare a pot of hot coffee as soon as they wake up in the morning – to wake up and get their blood pumping to prepare for the busy day ahead. Unfortunately, a certain number of coffee drinkers ending up paying a price for sipping that cup of java – with nausea and stomach discomfort. For up to twenty percent of the population, coffee and stomach pain go hand in hand. Now, scientists think they know why coffee drinking causes stomach pain -and how they can make an even better stomach friendly coffee.
Coffee and Stomach Pain: A Problem for Some Coffee Drinkers
There’s no shortage of stomach friendly coffees on supermarket shelves, but manufacturers admit that up until now they really haven’t known what chemical in coffee causes stomach irritation. To make stomach friendly coffees in the past, they’ve used steam or solvents to remove any potential irritants from the coffee bean. Stomach friendly coffees that are currently on the market include Folgers Smooth and Java Soft. These options may be better than drinking regular coffee, but they don’t completely eliminate the problem. Plus, the way these stomach friendly coffees are made removes some of the healthy antioxidants.
Coffee and Stomach Pain: What Causes It?
Some chemicals in coffee cause the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid which, of course, leads to symptoms of stomach pain, acid reflux, and nausea. When researchers exposed stomach cells to a variety of different coffee components, they identified three -catechols, caffeine, and N-alkanoly-5-hydroxytryptamides as being the main culprits. At the same time, they found another chemical called N-methylpyridium or NMP that turns off the stomach’s acid production and reduces the stomach pain people experience when drinking coffee.
Interestingly, NMP is not found in the raw coffee bean and is produced only when the coffee bean is roasted. The longer it’s roasted, the more acid-blocking NMP is produced. This means that dark roasted coffee and espresso is easier on the stomach than lighter roasted varieties.
A Better Stomach Friendly Coffee?
This finding should allow manufacturers to put out an even better stomach friendly coffee. Until then, people who experience stomach upset when drinking coffee still have options. They can choose darker roasted decaffeinated coffees and espresso which should cause less stomach irritation. Even better? Cut back on coffee until these newer, more stomach friendly coffees hit the market.