We all know that coffee can have amazing health benefits – but did you know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what’s in coffee and whether or not it’s good for you?
Coffee can be good for your health if you consume it in moderate amounts (no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine or about 4 or 5 cups).
It can help to boost your mental alertness, energy, metabolism and even lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
But drinking too much coffee is a big no-no.
There’s no doubt that coffee has many positive effects on our bodies and minds. It’s a natural stimulant and caffeine is well-known for helping people to stay awake throughout the day.
In this article, we’ll answer the most pressing questions about coffee – whether it’s good for you or not, and if so, how much of it you should consume.
The Health Benefits of Coffee
It’s no secret that coffee is good for us. Coffee contains a lot of nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, iron, antioxidants, and more.
But many people don’t know why. So here are a few of the benefits of drinking coffee that science backs up:
Boosts Energy and Keeps Your Brain Sharp
There is no doubt that caffeine is a great way to boost energy.
However, some experts say that caffeine’s positive effects on cognition aren’t entirely due to its stimulant effect.
Studies have shown that coffee drinkers perform better on tests of memory, visual processing, and attention than non-coffee drinkers.
Researchers at McGill University state that caffeine improves cognitive function because it enhances the transmission of dopamine throughout the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the transmission of signals from one brain cell to another.
Coffee helps you stay awake and keeps you from getting sleepy. It also gives you a sense of alertness and focus. You feel better about yourself.
Overall, it can help you to deal with stressful situations better.
Improves Your Metabolism and Aids in Weight Loss
The caffeine in coffee can speed up your metabolism and burn calories faster.
The effects of caffeine on the metabolism are most obvious when you drink coffee in the morning, but it also works if you drink it throughout the day.
If you want to lose weight, drinking caffeine could be a good way to do it.
Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
The antioxidants in coffee have been shown to protect the heart against oxidative stress.
Research has shown that drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by 10-15%.
The same scientific article states that caffeine can also reduce the risk of having arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). People who drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day are 20% less likely to die from an arrhythmia.
However, there is no proof that drinking lots and lots of coffee can protect your heart. People who drink a lot of coffee are still at risk of developing heart problems.
Overdosing on caffeine is not something you want.
Can Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
Coffee contains the antioxidants chlorogenic acid and quinones that can help your body to metabolize cholesterol, according to the Phytotherapy Research journal.
Chlorogenic acids are natural compounds that are found in coffee beans. They have anti-inflammatory properties. So they can help your body to metabolize cholesterol.
In addition, quinones are also found in coffee. They help your liver to produce bile salts which help in the process of eliminating fat from your body.
Can Lower Your Risk of Colon Cancer
A study published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal found that coffee drinking was found to be associated with a 26% reduced risk of developing colon cancer.
In fact, caffeine may not be the component responsible for these colon cancer-lowering properties and these benefits weren’t found when drinking filtered or instant coffee.
This amazing health benefit of coffee is primarily caused by its antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are natural compounds that can prevent us from getting sick and help fight diseases. They protect our bodies against free radicals and chemicals that cause cancer.
Lowers Your Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Caffeine can help you to regulate your blood sugar levels, which can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
You may have heard that coffee can help prevent diabetes. This is true and relevant scientific data backs it up.
A study published in the Diabetologia journal has shown that people who increase their coffee intake by 1 cup per day have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
However, people who cut out drinking 1 cup of coffee each day may increase their risk of getting diabetes by 17%.
Can Help Protect You Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers have been studying the effect of coffee drinking on Alzheimer’s disease for years.
One particular study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that caffeine consumption lowers the risk of cognitive impairment and may even prevent the onset of the disease.
These effects have been linked to caffeine’s ability to block the action of adenosine – a substance that normally acts in the brain to inhibit nerve signals, thereby promoting relaxation and improving memory.
The results of this study showed that people who drink at least 3 cups of coffee per day have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who do not.
There are many ways to improve brain health and one of them appears to be to drink coffee.
Can Help You to Cope with Stress
Research looking at the connection between depression and coffee found that it can actually reduce stress and anxiety.
It turns out that people who drink more coffee tend to have lower levels of depression when they’re exposed to stress continually.
The most common way to use coffee as a stress reducer is by having a cup of coffee after lunch. This is known as the “lunchtime caffeine boost”.
How Coffee Affects Your Body
Studies have shown that coffee is a stimulant, but it also affects our bodies in numerous ways, including:
- Improving our moods
- Increasing blood flow
- Regulating our body temperature
In addition, caffeine increases the amount of oxygen that reaches our muscles and brain cells.
Coffee helps us feel awake and alert because caffeine increases the amount of dopamine available in our brains, leading to increased activity in the part of the brain that controls reward and motivation.
Also, caffeine increases the amount of oxygen that reaches our muscles and brain cells.
Additionally, caffeine increases the amount of dopamine available in our brains, leading to increased activity in the part of the brain that controls reward and motivation.
Caffeine also reduces stress and improves our mood. People who drink coffee tend to have more energy throughout the day.
So if you want to increase your energy levels, drink coffee – but not too much.
The Potential Health Risks of Drinking Coffee
In sensitive individuals and according to The Nutrition Source, coffee can:
- Increase anxiety or a jittery feeling
- Irritate the stomach
- Disrupt sleep
Although many people appreciate the temporary energy boost after drinking an extra cup of coffee, high amounts of caffeine can cause unwanted heart palpitations in some based on the same study.
Even though the benefits of coffee outweigh the negative effects, it’s best to limit yourself to no more than 2 or 3 cups of coffee a day.
If you’re addicted to coffee, talk to your doctor about ways to stop drinking it.
The bottom line: The more you drink, the greater the risks.
How Much Coffee Should You Drink?
The recommended daily maximum for a healthy adult is 400 milligrams of caffeine, which is about 4 or 5 cups based on the FDA’s official recommendations.
However, this variation also applies to how fast your body metabolizes caffeine.
This means that it can take some time before your body is able to break caffeine down completely, making it available for your central nervous system to use.
But does drinking coffee actually hurt your heart? The answer is no.
Research shows that moderate coffee drinkers don’t have higher risks of heart disease than people who drink alcohol or who abstain altogether.
Drinking too much coffee can cause other health problems.
A recent study showed that coffee has very little short-term effect on your blood pressure.
It only affects your heart rate, which is why you may feel more tired after drinking coffee than normal. Also, drinking too much coffee can make you gain weight.
But if you drink regular amounts of coffee, there’s no need to worry about having too much caffeine in your system.
Why Some People Are More Sensitive To Coffee
There are two common explanations for why some people are highly sensitive to coffee:
- One is caffeine sensitivity, which results in headaches, nausea, anxiety, and other unpleasant reactions.
- The other is a genetic predisposition to produce more of the caffeine metabolizing enzyme called CYP1A2.
The latter explanation is backed up by studies showing a correlation between people with high levels of CYP1A2 activity and those who have more sensitive reactions to caffeine.
According to a study in the Pharmacogenet Genomics journal, if someone has an over-active metabolism of the caffeine metabolizing enzyme, they may experience more of its effects than someone who has a normal amount of activity in that enzyme.
Researchers found that this difference was due to differences in the activity of the CYP1A2 enzyme in the blood.
They also found that people with high CYP1A2 activity were more sensitive to caffeine’s effects.
So what does this mean for your body?
Well, if you drink coffee every day, it means that your body has adapted to having coffee in its system and can handle the effects of caffeine on a daily basis.
If you drink coffee just once or twice a week, however, you are probably going to feel the effects of caffeine more than someone who drinks coffee every day.
So How Can You Tell if You Have an Over-Active Metabolism?
Try this: Have a cup of coffee at around 3 PM and then go for a run.
If you notice that you are sweating more than usual, chances are you have a higher metabolic rate than usual.
It’s also important to know that not everyone reacts the same way to caffeine.
Some people can drink it and still function normally, while others may start to feel tired, anxious or have other side effects.
This is why I always advise people to talk to their doctor before they start drinking coffee if they’ve not used to it.
In conclusion, the health effects of coffee depend on many factors, such as the type of coffee consumed, the amount consumed, and whether it’s brewed or decaffeinated.
While the most common side effect of caffeine intake is increased anxiety. So if you take too much, it may give you jitters and nervousness.
If you drink coffee regularly, you will get used to the feeling and will not have to worry.
In small doses, caffeine is considered good for the heart. Some people are sensitive to caffeine, so you should check with your doctor before drinking coffee.
Are you one of those caffeine-sensitive people? Let me know in the comments below.
Also, if you’re looking for tips on what coffee to buy, check out this honest and helpful guide!
Did somebody say coffee? Two shots of espresso for me, thanks. Oh, nevermind – I’m Simon, nice to e-meet you, dear CoffeeLifior! I like to write, drink coffee and I believe in Jesus. Highly-caffeinated drinks are my thing, but you can occasionally see me sip on decaf (my wife never finishes her coffee). Speaking of which, I’m off to grab another cup of caffeinated goodness now, laters!