If you are like most people, the first thing you do in the morning is to brew a coffee cup. The popularity of this beverage is unmatched, mostly due to the unique flavors it has. For instance, it is estimated that more than 400 million cups of coffee are consumed in the United States. That is equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year. Globally, it is estimated that over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are taken daily.
There are good things to talk about coffee. For instance, its antioxidant property has been found to reduce the risk of numerous diseases. However, it also has caffeine, which disrupts sleep. That leaves you in a dilemma. Is coffee good for you or not?
A simple answer to your question is that the beverage has both pros and cons, as proven by different studies. Keep read to learn more about the health effects of coffee.
The Pros – Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee is an excellent source of energy
Coffee has caffeine, making it a perfect energizer. Caffeine functions as a mild stimulant, thus speeding up messages between the body and the brain. Rapid transfer of these messages means the slightest deficit is communicated as a matter of urgency. Therefore, whenever you feel you need additional energy, the brain’s responsible parts transmit signals for the metabolic function to start. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, about 200ml of coffee is sufficient for an adult aged 19 – 50 to take per day.
If you rarely take caffeinated drinks, small amounts will have a significant impact on your energy levels. However, if you are a big fan of taking coffee, you may have to increase the coffee dosage to achieve the desired energy levels.
Typically, it would take about 5 to 30 minutes before the effects of coffee start to kick in, and these can last up to 12 hours. However, the extent to which you get impacted depends on other factors such as caffeine tolerance, metabolism, and body mass index.
Coffee can support your weight loss efforts
If you have been struggling with losing weight for a long time, you will be happy to hear that coffee can help in your efforts. Even though it is not the ultimate solution to your weight-loss approaches, the small role that it plays proves worthwhile in the long term. According to a 2019 Scientific research, the caffeine in coffee stimulates the rate at which extra fats are broken down, thus shedding significant weight in the process.
One thing to note about the mentioned health effects of coffee is that your beverage should not contain cream, sugar, or double mocha latte macchiato. Instead, it must be black coffee. Taking bottled milkshakes in the pretense that it is coffee will not benefit your efforts at all.
If you want to reduce your overall calorie intake, replacing high-calorie beverages such as sweetened iced tea, soda, chocolate milk with plain coffee can lead to your weight loss in just a few months.
Coffee mitigates the risk of cardiovascular disease
Among the most important health effects of coffee is the beverage’s ability to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The British Medical Journal reviewed over 200 past studies of coffee and found that in most cases, coffee was associated with at least one benefit. The authors noted that moderate coffee drinkers had fewer cases of cardiovascular diseases and premature death due to factors such as stroke and heart attacks.
The research further supported a previous study submitted to the American Association’s Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California. In the mentioned peer-reviewed submission, it was agreed that coffee has protective effects on the heart and arteries.
University of Colorado researchers studied data provided by the Framingham Heart Study that monitored over 15,000 people’s eating habits. Their focus was to note any unknown risk factors associated with stroke and heart failure. Of all the potential risks to cardiovascular disease, they observed that coffee was associated with reduced coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.
Coffee reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes
Numerous epidemiological studies agree that taking three to four cups of coffee per day can cut back 25% risk of type 2 diabetes. That is in comparison to not consuming any or less than two cups daily. Furthermore, the body of knowledge agrees that there is a dose-response relationship.
In a separate study surveying 910 diabetes-free participants as a baseline and published in the Diabetes Journals, 593 recorded normal glucose levels while 317 had impaired glucose. Coffee drinkers who did not have diabetes as the baseline recorded a significant reduction in type 2 diabetes risk over eight years. Similarly, those without diabetes and had impaired glucose levels also benefited from the cited health effects of coffee.
However, if you have diabetes and have a hard time controlling your blood sugar levels, caffeine’s effect requires close monitoring. That’s because it will affect different people differently. In most cases, you need to aim at reducing the amount of caffeine in your diet.
Coffee has protective properties against AD and PD
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) are major health challenges to the country’s healthcare system and worldwide. As the number of elderly citizens continues to increase, scientists have revamped research into dietary factors that can prolong mental agility. Most of the focus has been placed on the ingredients in coffee, with studies showing that one of the positive health effects of coffee lies within the AD and PD scope.
Coffee contains alkaloid trigonelline in addition to byproducts of the roasting process like N-methyl pyridinium and nicotinic acid. These are bioactive and serve as potential neuroprotective agents. However, it is essential to highlight that the use of coffee for AD and PD benefits is not conclusive. Some studies hold that the positive health effects of coffee regarding Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease may have to do with the incidence of lowering type 2 diabetes.
Other researchers have also linked coffee drinking with at least a 65% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, different epidemiological studies show that drinking coffee reduces Parkinson’s disease by 32% to 60%. The reviewed studies’ underlying message is that coffee seems to be facilitating AD and PD development, and caffeine appears to be the main factor in play.
Coffee could reduce the risk of different types of cancer
Some of the latest studies regarding the health effects of coffee on cancer suggest that taking the beverage holds the potential to lower risks on some types of cancer. These include endometrial cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, and some throat and mouth cancer.
The coffee benefits to cancer mainly impacted people who took between four to five cups of coffee. When taking coffee to reduce the risk of cancer, it is paramount that you monitor your approach. Consuming the beverage with cream and sugar may expose you to other types of cancer. Thus, black coffee would be the best use in this case.
Even more beneficial is that coffee has biologically active compounds like diterpenes, chlorogenic acid, and caffeine. Consuming these in moderate amounts brings about health benefits such as protection against the different types of cancer.
The Cons – Health Risks of Coffee
Coffee can negatively impact your sleep time, efficiency, and satisfaction levels
There is enough evidence to support the adverse health effects of coffee on an individual’s sleep habits. You may have heard that people typically take coffee so that they can stay awake for an extended period of the night. That’s because the caffeine in your beverage interrupts sleep. As much as that makes you not sleep at night, it can have disruptive effects on your day. It causes fatigue, decrease productivity, and challenges with memory, emotion regulation, and problem-solving.
A study was designed to investigate the effects of taking coffee zero, three, and six hours before going to bed. The researchers found that consuming coffee six hours before bedtime reduced sleep by one hour. Additionally, those who had consumed caffeine zero to three hours before going to bed faced significant sleep deprivation. If you have sleep problems, it is best to reduce caffeine intake six hours before bedtime.
Coffee can result in increased cholesterol levels and unwanted jolt
There is a strong link between coffee and cholesterol, as proven by numerous studies. One particular study highlighted that coffee oils, also called diterpenes like kahweol and cafestol, are the main culprits. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee contain coffee oils.
When you consume coffee, you take in cafestol, which has been found to inhibit your body’s metabolism and cholesterol regulation ability. Further studies also show that coffee oils decrease neutral sterols and bile acids, which in turn causes cholesterol to increase. Based on these facts, researchers concluded that cafestol is a dangerous cholesterol-elevating compound that can ever be in a diet.
Coffee can be upsetting to the stomach
Sometimes coffee may not be that gentle on your digestive system. Different studies indicate that it could trigger acid ingestion, heartburn or dyspepsia, and reflux. That arises mainly due to coffee’s property of increasing stomach acid. That is why some people who take coffee may report issues with stomach upsets. Luckily, you can try out different coffee tips that would not irritate your stomach.
But it does not mean that it’s just the coffee you took that can upset your stomach. In some cases, it could be due to the additives such as sweeteners, cream, or sugar. Close to 65% of the global population is incapable of digesting lactose, and that can cause such problems as diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Taking coffee may lead to pregnancy complications
A largescale 2017 study found that a high intake of coffee, instead of zero intake or low intake, leads to increased chances of pregnancy loss, pre-term birth, and low birth weight. The study explained that coffee intake is safe as long as you take it within normal levels.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued guidelines regarding coffee intake and pregnancy. Backed by other experts, the ACOG guides that pregnant women can safely consume coffee within the limit of 200 milligrams per day.
A different study supported the advice given by the ACOG. It found that taking more than 400 milligrams per day increases the risk of miscarriage. Thus, scientists generally agree that taking large amounts of coffee is harmful to pregnant women.
Bottom line: Moderately consuming coffee has overall health benefits
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees that healthy adults can safely take up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. You would need to consume about 5 cups of coffee in a single day before hitting this target. Most people rarely take that much coffee, but some do. Try to keep your intake beneath the mentioned amount to avoid triggering adverse health effects of coffee.
The popularity of coffee worldwide is triggered not just due to its exotic taste but also associated health benefits. Positive health effects of coffee such as weight loss, reduced risk to type 2 diabetes, mitigation of cardiovascular diseases, and reduced risk to certain types of cancer make it the second most popular liquid consumed worldwide. Also, your coffee grinder has a huge impact on the taste of your coffee. Just like you wouldn’t skimp on the quality of your beans, you do not want to cut corners with the quality of your grind.
If you love the taste of coffee, its benefits, and tolerate its caffeine content, why don’t you get started with pouring yourself a cup per day?