Coffee is one of the most widely consumed nonalcoholic beverages. One cup of coffee in the morning kick starts our day. Although coffee has been blamed for many illnesses since years according to the new researches, it has many benefits on health.
It boosts the metabolic rate and offers important health benefits such as a lower risk of liver cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart failure.
Coffee contains many bioactive compounds such as caffeine, chlorogenic acids and diterpenoid alcohols which are associated with many potential benefits. It also contains several useful nutrients including riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), magnesium, potassium and various phenolic compounds and antioxidants.
Coffee potential health benefits
The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee includes:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
- Uterine and Liver cancer
- Heart failure
- lowers the risk of gallstone disease
- Improves cognitive function
- Lowers the risk of depression
- Increases the metabolic rate
- Lowers the bodyweight
- Lowers the risk of stroke
- Stave off the risk of multiple sclerosis
All about Caffeine and effects of coffee on health
Interesting study about coffee says that it can stimulate the central nervous system; caffeine may increase metabolism by up to 11% and fat burning by up to 13%. A 12-year study on caffeine and weight gain have said that the participants who drank the most coffee were, on average, only 0.8–1.1 lbs (0.4–0.5 kg) lighter at the end of the study period. Practically speaking, consuming 300 mg of caffeine per day may allow you to burn an extra 79 calories per day.
Caffeine is the main active ingredient in the coffee, the stimulant effect on the body. It is known to have stimulating properties on human cognitive function, including positive effects on alertness, concentration, learning, memory and mood. Caffeine is also known to stimulate motor activity in animals and humans. Because of these properties, caffeine is considered a likely candidate for delaying and/or preventing physiological, age-related cognitive decline as well as several neurodegenerative disorders.
When we talk about a regular cup of black coffee (without milk or cream), it is low in calories. However, adding cream or sugar will increase the calorific value. Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, aids the body to get rid of free radical (a type of waste product that the body naturally produces as a result of certain processes).
Caffeine is considered to be ‘the socially acceptable psychoactive drug’. Steven E. Meredith, a postdoctoral research fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the news that perhaps due to widespread consumption many of us forget that caffeine is a psychoactive substance – a drug that crosses the blood-brain barrier to stimulate the central nervous system.
“Unlike most other psychoactive substances, caffeine use is socially acceptable, and the drug is widely used. Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world.
Moreover, the vast majority of caffeine consumers use the substance regularly without apparent harm. These factors likely contribute to the perspective that caffeine is a benign substance that everyone can use without suffering any negative consequences.”
Steven E. Meredith
There can be negative consequences from caffeine consumption as well, particularly if ingested in high doses. The research says that consuming more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors. Effect of caffeine can vary in each individual.
“Caffeine can also metabolize at different rates among individuals for various reasons. For example, cigarette smokers metabolize caffeine twice as fast as non-smokers”
He added, “However, caffeine metabolism is slower among infants, pregnant women and individuals with liver disease. Besides, some medications slow caffeine metabolism, which may increase the risk of caffeine intoxication. But the effects of coffee on health also vary simply because we’re all different.”
Rob M. Van Dam, adjunct associate professor of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, told news that the effects of caffeine are dependent on each person’s genetic characteristics and lifestyle factors.
“Thus, some people may have difficulty sleeping or experience tremors or stress with relatively low caffeine intakes and it is useful to be aware of these symptoms and reduce caffeine intake if these occur,” he added.
Drinking too much coffee has some adverse effects which are as follows:
- High risk of bone fracture (more risk in women)
- Low birth weight and preterm birth so not safe in pregnancy
- High risk of endometriosis
- Risk of gastroesophageal reflux
- Risk of anxiety
One meta-analysis from 2017 concludes coffee to be “generally safe” especially for those who consume three to four cups of coffee per day. The study warned the smokers that it may cancel out any benefits of drinking coffee. If you dress your coffee up too much with flavourings like sugar or cream you risk the health benefits. This warning goes double for even fancier coffee drinks like coffee shakerato, Cold coffee, Frappuccinos and many more like these.
The magic of caffeine is that it gives a quick boost and may help you lose weight and sharpens your mental focus. It improves the mood and helps the brain work better. A cup of this magic liquid also improves performance during the exercise.
For health-conscious coffee lovers, the most important question is not “Is it good for you?” but rather it is, “How do you take it?”. Anyone who wishes to benefit from coffee should avoid exceeding the daily recommended intake and try to monitor the ingredients they add such as cream, sugar or other flavourings as these may not be healthful.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.