Depending on the perspective, coffee can be a fantastic, delicious and healthy drink and a significantly harmful one. Namely, this beverage can provide numerous health benefits as it is high in antioxidants and can reduce the risk of numerous diseases. Yet, it also has caffeine, which is a stimulant which can lead to sleep disorders, as well as other issues.
Today, we are going to consider the advantages and disadvantages of this tasty drink.
First of all, let us look at the bright side. This dark brown beverage is rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants. Namely, just a cup of coffee, 8oz (240 ml), consists of:
- Folate: 1% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 2% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 2% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 3% of the RDA
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 6% of the RDA.
These amounts may b seem insignificant, but if you multiply them by the number of cups of coffee you regularly drink during the day, it is actually a great portion of your daily nutrient intake.
However, its most important benefit is the number of antioxidants. For instance, coffee provides more antioxidants to a person who eats a typical Western diet that fruits and vegetables together.
Moreover, caffeine is the most regularly consumed psychoactive substance worldwide. Coffee is the richest source, although caffeine can also be found in tea, chocolate, and soft drinks.
One cup contains from 30-300 mg of caffeine, and the average cup is about 90-100 mg. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant which obstructs the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain hormone) known as Adenosine in the brain and thus stimulates the activity of the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
This, in turn, prevents exhaustion and boosts our alertness. Numerous surveys have found that caffeine leads to a short-term boost in brain function, and this means an improvement of the reaction time, mood, vigilance as well as the general cognitive function at the same time.
Caffeine also stimulates metabolism (calories burned) by 3-11%, as well as the exercise performance by 11-12%, approximately. Yet, some of its effects are temporary. Hence, if you regularly consume it, your body will become tolerant to its effects and this will, in turn, reduce them.
Also, studies have found that people who consume coffee have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This disease is characterized by increased blood sugars as a result of the resistance to the effects of insulin.
Nowadays, billions of people suffer from this disease. On the other hand, it has been shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes up to 23-67%. One major study reviewed 18 studies which included 457,922 participants and proved that each cup of coffee during the day caused a 7% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, coffee drinkers also had a reduced risk of liver cancer, as well as cirrhosis. The liver is one f the most important body organs, as it has a role in over hundred of body functions.
However, it is easily affected by the excess consumption of alcohol and fructose intake. The final stage of liver damage is known as Cirrhosis and means that most of the liver have been replaced with scar tissue. People who drink coffee have up to an 84% reduced risk of developing cirrhosis.
The best effects are achieved by individuals who consume 4 or more cups per day. Moreover, liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the world, and studies have shown that individuals who drink coffee have up to a 40% lower risk.
Also, coffee is extremely useful in the brain protection in the old age, and it also prevents certain diseases associated with aging. Namely, the most common neurodegenerative disease is Alzheimer’s, and it is a major reason for the incidence of dementia.
According to studies, people who consume coffee have a 65% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The second disease of this kind is Parkinson’s, and it comes as a result of the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Again, people who consume this drink have a 32-60% reduced risk of this disease. Therefore, the more coffee they consume, the lower their risk is.
Coffee may also prevent depression. Namely, research has shown that coffee consumers have a reduced risk of developing depression and are less prone to committing suicide.
Depression if the leading mental disorder worldwide and it greatly impedes the life of the individual. A study conducted at Harvard in 2011 showed that those participants who consumed the most coffee had a 20% reduced risk of becoming depressed. Another review of 3 studies also showed that individuals who consumed 4 or more cups of coffee daily were 53% less likely to commit suicide.
Regarding the fact that coffee consumers have a reduced risk of deadly diseases and other common illnesses, it is logical that coffee makes them live longer.
Namely, one study which lasted for 12- 13years, and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 examined the habits of 402,260 individuals aged between 50 and 71, and showed that the ones who consumed coffee had a significantly reduced risk of dying. Apparently, the best results will be obtained if you drink 4-5 cups per day, as this will reduce the risk by 12% in men and 16% in women.
On the other hand, coffee may also have serious detrimental effects on health. Caffeine has different negative effects, like sleeping disorders, and anxiety.
Excess amounts of caffeine can cause anxiety, jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and may even worsen panic attacks. Moreover, caffeine may also cause sleeping disorders.
If it has a negative effect on your sleep, you should avoid drinking it late in the evening. Caffeine may also cause other issues, like increasing the diuretic and blood pressure, but only if you do not drink it regularly. Yet, the fact is that really raises blood pressure by 1-2 mm/Hg.
Keep in mind that caffeine is an addictive substance, and may cause tiredness, irritability, and headache. However, if you drink it regularly, your body becomes tolerant to these symptoms.
Also, if you abstain from caffeine, you will again experience the same withdrawal symptoms, including tiredness, headache, irritability and brain fog for several days. This also shows that this substance causes addiction.
Regular and Decaf coffee
Numerous people prefer decaffeinated coffee instead of the regular one. Decaffeinated coffee is usually prepared by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals, and each time, some portion of the caffeine dissolves in the solvent and this is done until almost all of it is completely eliminated. Yet, it still includes caffeine, but in a reduced quantity.
Yet, decaffeinated coffee does not have the same health benefits as the regular one, and it has been shown to have no effect in the case of liver diseases, type 2 diabetes, or Parkinson’s.
Therefore, you need to know how to boost the positive effects of this beverage. First of all, avoid anything that is not healthy to your coffee, including sugar or any kind of chemical-laden creamer.
Also, some modern types of coffee drinks are abundant in calories. Moreover, you can use a paper filter to brew your coffee. Namely, unfiltered coffee (like Turkish or French press) includes cafestol, which is a substance raises cholesterol levels.
Coffee should be avoided by certain people, like pregnant women, or reduced, as in people who suffer from insomnia, high blood pressure or anxiety issues. Furthermore, certain studies claim that individuals who metabolize caffeine slowly have a raised risk of heart attacks from its consumption.
However, in general, this drink can have numerous positive effects on your health. If you are a coffee lover, you surely believe that its advantages outnumber its flaws.
Numerous studies also show that this beverage is extremely healthy for the majority of people, and even list it in the same category as extremely beneficial drinks such as green tea.