What are the coffee benefits for your health, if any? Given regular coffee consumption today, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks by far.
This appears in studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine. By swallowing up to 4-5 cups of the drink daily, if you are in good health and, excluding some critical phases of a woman’s life like pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is possible to benefit from the multiple positive effects offered the drink, which seems to be able to reduce the risk of developing various chronic diseases.
Coffee Caffeine And Health
Coffee is a systematic habit of our days, an indispensable wake-up call before going to work, and an energy fix for the rest of the day.
Since coffee and tea are the most popular beverages consumed worldwide and contain caffeine as an ingredient, epidemiologists and nutritionists from the Singapore and Harvard University Schools of Public Health have summarized the health repercussions related to the consumption of coffee, thus caffeine.
Rich in antioxidants and able to stimulate the central nervous system, coffee can be consumed in the above quantities without fear. 4-5 cups a day make it difficult to exceed a daily intake of 400 milligrams of caffeine, which is considered safe for healthy adults based on available evidence.
However, the case for newborns and those who take medications like bronchodilators, quinolone antibiotics, antidepressants, and antihypertensives, is different. Hence the common recommendation is to halve coffee consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
For those on medication, caffeine remains in circulation for longer and interferes with the metabolism of some of these molecules. In such a case, a slightly lower consumption of coffee and all foods containing caffeine may be recommended.
Benefits Of Coffee
Among the many nutritional components of coffee, the best known and most studied is undoubtedly caffeine, as it has important properties such as:
- The stimulatory effect on gastric and biliary secretion is why coffee at the end of a meal is believed to facilitate digestion.
- Tonic and stimulatory effect on cardiac and nervous function. Many appreciate its energetic effect, which is handy in not getting bogged down after a hearty meal.
- The lipolytic effect, i.e., promoting weight loss. Caffeine stimulates the use of fat for energy purposes and thermogenesis, increasing the number of calories the body burns.
- Anorectic effect. It means that coffee taken in large doses decreases appetite.
In addition to caffeine, coffee contains many substances whose potential beneficial role on the body is still under study. In particular, various components with strong antioxidant, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties have been isolated, which are insufficient to compensate for the risk deriving from the high consumption of coffee.
But the benefits of coffee don’t end there!
5 Crucial Coffee Benefits
1. Coffee Improves Energy Levels And Stimulates Certain Brain Functions
Thanks to caffeine, the most well-known psychoactive substance in the world, coffee can help you feel less tired and thus increase your energy levels.
Being able to block the action of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, caffeine favors the action of other neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and dopamine) with an energizing effect.
Furthermore, many scientific studies show that coffee can stimulate some brain functions, including memory, mood, attention, reaction times, and general cognitive functions.
2. Coffee Helps Increase Metabolism And Burn Fat
Did you know caffeine is found in almost all weight-loss and fat-burning products? As demonstrated by various studies, caffeine can increase the metabolic rate by 3-11%, effects which could, however, be less in those who have been drinking coffee for a long time.
Being able to stimulate the nervous system, caffeine can also induce the sending of signals to fat cells to burn fat reserves.
3. Contains Countless Nutrients
Coffee is much more than water-dyed black. Just think that a single cup of coffee contains:
- Vitamin B2 is essential in metabolic processes and keeps nervous tissue, skin, and eyes healthy.
- Vitamin B3 is essential in the functioning of the nervous system.
- Vitamin B5 and manganese are fundamental elements in transforming food into energy.
- Potassium and magnesium are very important minerals for some functions of the organism, such as the production of energy, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the efficiency of the cardiovascular system.
4. Lowers The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in the world, currently affecting around 300 million people, and is characterized by high blood sugar levels. The cause of this chronic disease is an alteration in the quantity or functioning of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas which regulates the entry of glucose into the cells.
As the scientific literature demonstrates, coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Specifically, according to a massive review that examined data from 18 researchers, each cup of coffee drunk would be associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 7%.
5. Coffee Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are the two most common neurodegenerative diseases worldwide. In both cases, there is no cure. Therefore, prevention through lifestyle care is certainly one of the most effective and important tools.
According to various studies, coffee can also be a valuable tool for prevention. It would help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s onset by up to 65% and the risk of Parkinson’s disease between 32% and 60%.
Rich in precious nutrients for the body, coffee can be considered a true ally of well-being, starting from the fact that it represents the greatest source of antioxidants in the Western diet.
According to scientific literature, coffee drinkers extract more antioxidants from this drink than from the fruit and vegetables consumed daily.
What Are The Risks of Caffeine?
The effects of caffeine on human health are dose-dependent. High consumption of coffee, which we will define in quantitative terms in the next paragraph, exposes the body to various risks:
When it is excessive, the stimulatory effect on gastric secretion can cause damage to the digestive system due to the high acidity of the juices poured into the stomach. This is why coffee is contraindicated if you suffer from ulcers, gastritis, or gastroesophageal reflux.
The tonic and stimulatory effects on cardiac and nervous function can harm people suffering from insomnia, hot flashes, and hypertension. As the dose increases, caffeine causes tachycardia, sudden changes in blood pressure, and tremors, even in healthy people.
The lipolytic effect, i.e., promoting weight loss, is canceled and even reversed if sugar is added to the coffee (+ 20 calories per teaspoon) or milk (+ 10 calories if the coffee is macchiato).
The inhibitory effect on the absorption of calcium and iron can favor the onset of anemic and osteoporotic conditions.
How Much Coffee To Drink
A reasonable limit is set at 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. Since an espresso provides an average of 60 mg of caffeine and a mocha type of 85 mg, the math is quickly done. However, since caffeine is present in over 60 plant species, including chocolate and tea, the contribution of other foods must also be taken into account.
Based on these considerations, a limit of three cups of espresso a day is generally set for women and men with a slender build and four cups a day for men with a more robust build. For the record, Robusta is also one coffee species – Coffea robusta – richer in caffeine.
During pregnancy, it is preferred to limit the consumption of coffee as high doses of caffeine are dangerous for the fetus’s health.
Coffee Benefit On The Brain
Many of us drink coffee in the morning before starting the day, and we make one or more coffee breaks as the hours go by to recoup the energy needed to get to the evening. The reason behind these habits has been known for some time. When taken in moderate doses, 40 to 300 milligrams, caffeine can reduce fatigue, increase alertness, and shorten reaction times.
Benefits of this type have been repeatedly observed among those who do not habitually consume coffee and those who have had a short withdrawal period. Benefits are known to all but above all to those used to carrying out routine, demanding, and long-lasting jobs, such as assembly line workers or aircraft pilots.
High caffeine consumption should not be taken as a substitute for sleep – fatigue beyond a certain limit cannot be canceled by one or two extra cups of coffee a day. At the same time, it must be remembered that excessive consumption can upset a good night’s sleep.
Furthermore, caffeine also has an analgesic function at the central nervous system level, which must be considered when taking painkillers.
Coffee And Parkinson’s Disease
While talking of the correlation with brain health, in addition to the evidence emerging from some research conducted on animal models, several studies have also highlighted the hypothesis that caffeine protects against the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
Instead, coffee appears ineffective against other neurodegenerative diseases, from Alzheimer’s to other senile dementia. Despite some encouraging results from preclinical and animal model studies, as ultimately documented by a Chinese study published in the journal Geriatrics, Gerontology International, daily coffee intake is not associated with a reduced risk of developing any of these diseases in humans.
Coffee Benefits And Risks On Cardiovascular Health
There is available evidence regarding the relationship between caffeine and cardiovascular health. In the short term, caffeine, the psychoactive substance contained in coffee, can raise blood pressure levels.
However, by engaging in regular overconsumption, the body, over time, develops a form of tolerance that puts the most enthusiastic consumers at risk of developing hypertension due to excessive caffeine.
There is no evidence to support a ban on drinking coffee if you tend to have high blood pressure. As for the effects on cholesterol values, the most at risk are consumers of unfiltered coffee, followed by those who prefer espresso, mocha, and instant coffee.
For this reason, based on the available evidence, the takeaway that emerges is the following: by limiting the consumption of unfiltered coffee and respecting the quantities indicated for the other variants, the cholesterol levels in the blood can be kept under control.
Finally, coffee consumption does not seem to increase the risk of getting atrial fibrillation, developing coronary artery disease, or stroke.
Coffee Benefits Against Chronic Diseases
For several reasons, coffee consumption (with and without caffeine) also appears to ward off other chronic diseases. Multiple studies have documented this link in terms of incidence and mortality, regardless of a person’s ethnicity: one of the most robust studies appeared in 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine columns.
Most coffee benefits were found among those who used to drink 2-5 cups of coffee a day, while the same response was not obtained beyond that. The most solid evidence concerns type 2 diabetes, the incidence of which would be disadvantaged by a range of chain effects induced by caffeine – from the reduction of appetite and the energy contribution to the consequent management of body weight.
However, this argument stands valid only if coffee and tea are taken. This is not the case if the two drinks are sweetened or if the caffeine is consumed from soft and energy drinks or enriched with added sugars.
While it is true that caffeine can reduce insulin sensitivity in the short term by slowing down the storage of glucose in the muscles in the form of glycogen, over time, the other molecules we absorb by drinking coffee seem to mitigate this effect.
Hence the assertion that all pros and cons being reviewed, regular coffee consumption can be considered irrelevant for the risk of developing diabetes.
Any Coffee Benefits In Regard To Cancer?
What effect does coffee consumption have on cancer risk? As sanctioned by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the consumption of the drink is not linked to a greater risk of getting sick or dying from cancer.
On the contrary, those who drink coffee daily seem to be more protected in some cases. The most significant evidence regards the relationship between liver cancer and the uterus.
But several prospective studies have found that regular coffee consumption is associated with a reduced likelihood of developing skin, breast, or prostate cancer.
In any case, the liver seems to be the organ that benefits the most from the mix of substances in a cup of coffee. Liver cirrhosis, if left untreated, can pave the way for the onset of hepatocarcinoma, which is less frequent among those who drink coffee daily.
Coffee And Pregnancy
While it is safe to say that moderate coffee consumption is rarely harmful to health, pregnant women must exercise greater caution. This is because caffeine can pass inside the placenta and thus reach the fetus, which has a reduced capacity to metabolize it.
Experts recommend pregnant women not to go beyond two cups of coffee a day because several studies have shown a correlation between high levels of caffeine in the blood and a greater risk of miscarriage and low birth weight in newborns.
My name is Jay Fielding. I gained an interest in fitness since I was a child, and eventually developed my passion into a career path. I am now a Certified Personal Trainer with a natural ability to program customized body recomposition and motivate people in achieving their goals, be it gaining muscle or losing fat.