The Big Bang theory proposes that the universe is always expanding. The Big Crunch theory says that after the expansion, gravity will haul the universe back into a singularity, which will Big Bang all over again.
That expansion and contraction is sort of how your guts work. But to prevent them from going completely Bang and Crunch, here’s our theory: have a cup of Joe. For 30 to 40 percent of the population, calmer movement of food through the intestines can be set in motion by a cup of black, filtered coffee. That’s right. Besides keeping your blood vessels flexible and lowering your stroke risk by 30 percent, Joe’s laxative effect can keep you regular.
First, coffee’s acidity can stimulate your stomach to produce more gastric acid, which helps break down proteins and aids digestion. Then it increases the amounts of the hormones gastrin and cholecystokinin that your body produces. These two help with the whole digestive passage, including acting as stimulants of smooth muscle contraction (peristalsis).
So the next time you’re slow to go, pour yourself a cup of Joe. And for the 88 percent of you who are fast caffeine metabolizers (you can down 12 ounces in an hour without getting a headache or anxiety), two to three cups of brewed caffeinated coffee a day increase brain focus and muscle endurance and reduce inflammation; and they deliver heart-loving phenols (they’re in decaf, too) that can decrease your risk of nine cancers by over 10 percent and help you dodge, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes.
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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.