For some people coffee is a healthy drink but some regard it as quite detrimental beverage. It all depends on whom you ask! Still, the fact that coffee is abundant in antioxidant and associated with lower risk of many diseases cannot be neglected.
On the other hand, coffee also contains caffeine, a stimulant which can cause distress and disrupted sleep in some people. This article covers both pros and cons of this beverage!
Coffee Contains Some Essential Nutrients and is Extremely High in Antioxidants
A typical 8oz (240 ml) cup of coffee contains:
- Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA
- Folate: 1% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 2% of the RDA
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 2% of the RDA
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2% of the RDA
- Manganese: 3% of the RDA
- Potassium: 3% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 6% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of the RDA
Although this may seem trivial, it can add up to a significant portion of your daily nutrient intake, given the fact that most people drink more than two cups of coffee daily.
The best thing about coffee is its antioxidant content! Interestingly, a person who eats a typical Western diet actually gets more antioxidants from coffee than fruits and veggies.
“Bottom Line: Coffee contains a small amount of some vitamins and minerals, which add up if you drink many cups per day. It is also high in antioxidants.”
Coffee Contains Caffeine, A Stimulant That Can Enhance Brain Function and Boost Metabolism
Caffeine is found in chocolate, tea, and soft drinks, but it is most abundant in coffee. In average, a cup of coffee contains about 90-100 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine is known as stimulant which blocks the function of Adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
By blocking this brain hormone, caffeine boosts brain activity and the release of other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This makes us feel more alert and reduces fatigue.
Many studies have shown that caffeine can lead to short-term increase in brain function, in terms of improved mood, vigilance, reaction time, and general cognitive function.
It is also shown to boost metabolism by 3-11 percent and expand exercise performance by 11-12 percent.
But, as mentioned above, these effects are only temporal and daily consumption of coffee lowers these effects as you build resistance to it.
”Bottom Line: The main active compound in coffee is the stimulant caffeine. It can cause a short-term boost in energy levels, brain function, metabolic rate and exercise performance.”
Coffee May Help Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Leading to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Alzheimer`s disease is the leading cause of dementia and the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease. It has been scientifically shown that those who consume coffee on a regular basis have 65 percent lower risk of developing the disease.
The second most common neurodegenerative disease is Parkinson`s disease. The more coffee you drink, the lower the risk of this disease and it is shown that those who drink coffee on a regular basis have a 32-60 percent lower risk.
“Bottom Line: Several studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in old age.”
Coffee Drinkers Have a Much Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which the person`s blood sugars are increased due to the resistance of insulin. Diabetes is quite common disease and currently affects more than 300 million people.
People who consume coffee regularly have lower risk of developing this disease. As a matter o fact, it has been scientifically shown that coffee drinks have 23-67 percent risk of becoming diabetic.
According to a review study which examined 18 studies with 457,922 individuals, those who drink a cup of coffee a day have 7 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
“Bottom Line: Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Liver Diseases
Liver is in charge of many functions in the body, so the fact that it has critical role in the human body doesn’t come as surprise.
The liver is sensitive to excess fructose and alcohol intake as well as other modern insults. Cirrhosis is the end stage of liver damage and it is characterized by scar tissue which affects most of the liver.
People who consume coffee regularly have 84 percent lower risk of developing cirrhosis and those who drink more than 4 cups daily experience the strongest effect.
Besides cirrhosis, liver cancer is also very common condition and it is considered as the second leading cause of cancer death.
“Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The more coffee they drink, the lower the risk.”
People Who Drink Coffee Are at a Much Lower Risk of Depression and Suicide
Depression is the most common mental disorder which leads to reduced quality of life. According to 2001 study done by Harvard, those who consumed the most coffee were at 20 percent lower risk of depression.
In addition, a review of three studies has shown that those who consumed 4 or more cups of coffee daily were 53 percent less likely to commit a suicide.
“Bottom Line: Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of becoming depressed and are significantly less likely to commit suicide.”
Some Studies Show That Coffee Drinkers Live Longer
Since people who drink coffee on a regular basis are at lower disk of many diseases, the fact that they live longer doesn’t come as surprise. As a matter of fact, this is backed up by science!
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 which looked at 402,260 people between the ages of 50-70, those who drank coffee were at much lower risk of dying over the 12-13 year study period.
Caffeine Can Cause Anxiety and Disrupt Sleep
Excessive coffee intake may lead to anxiety, heart palpitations, jitteriness, and even panic attacks. So, if you are sensitive to caffeine, you probably shouldn’t consume it at all.
Disrupt sleep is yet another side effect of caffeine. It is recommended to avoid drinking coffee late in the night as it reduces the quality of your sleep.
Additionally, caffeine may also have blood pressure raising effects as well as diuretic effects, although they go away with regular use.
”Bottom Line: Caffeine can have various negative effects, such as causing anxiety and disrupting sleep, but this depends greatly on the individual.”
Caffeine is Addictive and Missing a Few Cups Can Lead to Withdrawal
Caffeine can lead to addiction in many people as those who drink it on a regular basis simply build tolerance to it. Consequently, they need a larger dose to obtain the same effects.
When people stop drinking coffee, they are likely to experience side effects like fatigue, brain fog, headache, and irritability, all of which usually last for a few days.
“Bottom Line: Caffeine is an addictive substance. It can lead to tolerance and well documented withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness and irritability.”
The Difference Between Regular and Decaf
Many people replace regular coffee with decaffeinated one, which is made by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals. Some of the caffeine dissolves in the solvent and the process is repeated for a few times until the caffeine is completely removed. However, decaffeinated coffee still contains some caffeine!
This type of coffee doesn’t provide the same benefits as regular coffee, which is completely natural due to the lower caffeine content. For instance, it has been scientifically shown that people who drank decaf didn’t show any reduction in the risk of liver disease, Parkinson`s disease, and type 2 diabetes.
“Bottom Line: Decaffeinated coffee is made by extracting caffeine from the coffee beans using solvents. Decaf does not have all of the same health benefits as regular coffee.”
Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Maximize The Health Benefits
First of all, note that you shouldn’t add anything unhealthy to it, such as sugar or chemical-laden creamers.
You should also brew coffee with a paper filter as unfiltered coffee like French press or Turkish coffee increases cholesterol levels due to cafestol it contains.
The coffee drinks sold at places like Starbucks are unhealthy as they contain a lot of sugar and calories.
“Bottom Line: It is important not to put sugar or a chemical-laden creamer in your coffee. Brewing with a paper filter can get rid of a cholesterol-raising compound called Cafestol.”
Should You be Drinking Coffee?
Pregnant women and people with hypertension, insomnia and anxiety issues should limit coffee consumption. It has been also found that those who tend to metalize coffee slowly are at increased risk of heart attacks.
Although coffee has both advantages and disadvantages, it seems that the benefits outweigh the negatives.