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While coffee may be one of the most popular drinks around, millions are forced to do without it because of heartburn, acid reflux, chronic stomach discomfort and other gastrointestinal issues. The problem, it seems, has to do with the very thing that gives coffee so much flavor: the roasting. But that may soon change.

Joseph Schmer, M.D., a gastrointestinal medical specialist and former co-chief of gastroenterology for Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, has seen for years just how large of a problem stomach issues are for coffee drinkers. "During the coffee-roasting process, natural acids form which can lead to heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach," he explains. "Reducing these irritants allows coffee drinkers with sensitive stomachs to enjoy coffee."

People with sensitive stomachs may want to check out brews such as Coffee Legends' Gentle Java, a new coffee designed specifically for coffee drinkers who say coffee upsets their stomachs. The java is made from an all-natural steam process-popular in Europe for about 60 years-that reduces around 70 percent of all impurities and irritants. The steaming leaves the coffee aroma, flavor and caffeine completely intact-meaning coffee drinkers without sensitive stomachs can enjoy the brew, too.

Gentle Java is good news for those who rely on coffee to help focus or for anyone who wants to benefit from coffee's antioxidant qualities.

While caffeine has long been known to help asthmatics prevent attacks, recent studies have shown coffee consumption can have several other health benefits.

Drinking coffee has been associated with a lower risk of gallstone disease in men, reduced risk of kidney stone formation and a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Other studies have found coffee to be a good source of potassium, helpful in promoting the effectiveness of migraine medications, and a way of protecting against free-radical damage to tissues. One study found it had more antioxidant activity than red wine, green or black tea or orange juice.

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