I drink coffee – is it good or bad?
There is always debate around the health effects of drinking coffee, because as we know, it contains a stimulant drug, called caffeine. The health effects of drinking coffee can be a controversial subject because there is always concern around the consumption of socially acceptable drugs. Especially where there is a risk of becoming addicted to the consumption of those drugs.
Is caffeine addictive?
There are some mild effects on the body when we drink coffee in low to moderate amounts. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can increase the heart rate, it can increase attention, and it can decrease the effects of tiredness and fatigue. When we consume coffee in moderate amounts, there is only a mild sensation of alertness. Apart from that, there is very little risk of becoming addicted to coffee in moderate amounts. As long we enjoy coffee in moderate amounts, there is little risk of having severe withdrawal symptoms.
What are the Benefits of coffee?
On the positive side, it has been known for a long time that there are health benefits of coffee – from drinking moderate amounts of coffee. Historically, it has been observed in some cultures, that there have been health benefits from the regular consumption of coffee each day.
Coffee contains nutrients
There is no doubt that the coffee extraction process draws many nutrients that are essential for health. Many vitamins and nutrients are delivered in every cup of coffee, such as Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) as well as folate, which are all valuable elements in our daily intake. Coffee also contains a number of essential elements such as Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese, in trace amounts, which add up over the course of a day.
Coffee contains antioxidants
Without a doubt, the biggest benefit from drinking coffee every day is from the antioxidants which are derived from the coffee bean. Antioxidants have been recognised as an essential part of removing dangerous free radicals from the body. Antioxidant molecules can actually attract and bond to cancer causing free radicals in the bloodstream, thus eradicating them from the body. These potentially dangerous and disease causing elements need to be removed otherwise they can lead to cancer and disease in the future. Coffee should not be underestimated as a source of beneficial antioxidants, which battle against disease and harmful waste products in the body.
Coffee acts as a stimulant
Scientific studies have proven that coffee can be beneficial in the short term providing a boost in brain functions such as mood enhancement, better alertness, faster reaction times, and generally improved cognitive functionality. Coffee can also increase the metabolism, and in a not very well understood mechanism, can even provide a significant boost to physical performance.
Coffee may be beneficial against Dementia
There are several types of brain disease associated with increasing age, such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. From the European Journal of Neurology (link). These degenerative conditions reduce the effectiveness of brain function. The important news is that these conditions have been shown to be less common amongst those who are regular coffee drinkers. So although the reasons are not yet understood, there is another potential benefit of drinking coffee, as it may lead to a reduced risk of Dementia.
Coffee drinkers have less depression
Despite the widespread and debilitating problem of depression and anxiety, there are scientific studies that show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of suffering from the effects of mental illness. From the Archives of Internal Medicine (link). People who drink 4 to 5 cups of coffee per day seem to have a much lower risk of suffering from depression, or less chance of suffering from a recurring incidence of the problem.
Coffee may be beneficial against Type 2 Diabetes
Statistically, there is a potential for coffee drinkers to experience a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Although the potential benefit is not well understood, there is a small correlation between drinking coffee and avoiding this nasty disease. By no means a cure for the condition, but it appears that moderate consumption of coffee every day may ward off the chances of contracting Type 2 Diabetes.
Coffee may be beneficial for the liver
Most people assume that the liver is at risk from most of our modern lifestyle, including the processed foods we eat and the socially acceptable drugs we take. For example, drinking too much alcohol can cause cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to life threatening consequences. However, drinking moderate amounts of coffee seems to have a beneficial outcome for the liver, and can even reduce the risk of developing liver cancer in the long term. From the Archives of Internal Medicine (link).
Drink coffee and live longer!
With the health benefits that we have discussed above, it should come as no surprise that people who enjoy daily cup of coffee or two can look forward to a healthier life. Better than that, with reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved outlook for degenerative diseases, coffee drinkers actually live longer!
Now we have to include a statement here about moderation, because it would be misleading to suggest that drinking too much coffee is a good thing. We believe that anything in moderation is a good thing; therefore there is a limit to how much coffee is a good thing. There seems to be a natural limit around the 4 – 5 cups of coffee per day, and anything beyond that is likely to cause a problem with too much caffeine.
Beware – too much of a good thing
Too much caffeine is likely to cause problems with sleeping, and in extreme cases can affect the heart and cause heart rate irregularities. As with anything, too much of a good thing is never a good thing!
Here is a list of the essential requirements to make a perfect Barista coffee every day:
- You need quality coffee beans (list some products)
- K cup coffee pods (list some products)
- Coffee Grinder – list some products
- Espresso machine – picture link to coffee machine
- French Press coffee maker – product link to French press page
- Single serve coffee – picture link to Keurig page
- Drip filter coffee maker – list some products