“Everything gets better with coffee.”
Does it? Well, the debate about whether coffee is good or bad is an ongoing one, and the effect of coffee on your body is still controversial. Before we get to the verdict, it is important to understand more about this beverage and its constituents.
Coffee is widely known for its active ingredient: caffeine – which happens to be one of the most widely consumed psychoactive ingredients in the world, and causes your mind to be alert. But, that’s not all that coffee contains.
Coffee, derived from coffee beans, is actually a rich storehouse of many essential vitamins and minerals that include:
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B3
- Potassium, and
Caffeine, that coffee is famous yet infamous for, along with these nutrients, makes coffee a complex concoction. Here’s how it is beneficial for your body!
Positive Health Effects of Coffee
- Enables fat burning
Coffee increases the process of fat burning in the body and uses it as fuel. This results in the burning of excess fats and thereby, helps you lose weight.
- Boosts performance levels
Caffeine in coffee increases the level of adrenaline in the blood. Having a cup of black coffee can increase your workout performance by as much as 10-12%. However, ensure it has zero sugar and dairy for best results. Caffeine also provides a short-term boost of energy, and improves the metabolic rate and brain function.
- Increases mental alertness
Caffeine is a psychoactive substance that helps increase your mind’s alertness and helps you focus better. It is due to this reason that most people swear by their morning and mid-noon cup of coffee, so that they can get a lot of work done during their day.
- Reduced chances of stroke
Having moderate amounts of coffee (up to 3-4 cups) per day has been associated with a lower risk, or reduced chances, of stroke.
- Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
Minerals like magnesium and potassium present in coffee increase the utilisation of insulin in your body, and regulates your blood sugar levels. Having coffee also suppresses hunger, and you are less likely to go looking for sweet treats during the day.
Caffeine in the beverage reduces insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance, thereby, reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Protects your brain
The psychoactive effect of caffeine on the brain’s receptors is not all that coffee does for your brain. It has a protective function as it prevents degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and age-related dementia from setting in.
- Elevates mood
Coffee makes people very happy, and this is indeed one of its many health benefits. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and increases the production of mood-elevating substances like serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. These make sure you are in a good mood, thereby reducing the chances of depression.
Negative Health Effects of Coffee
While coffee is good for your body, there are some evident negative health effects of it too.
- Can trigger insomnia, anxiety and restlessness
In optimum quantities, caffeine keeps your mind awake. However, in excess, the same caffeine can cause mental restlessness, anxiety, and contribute to sleeplessness or insomnia.
- Causes acidity and acid reflux problems
A common concern with coffee is that it causes heartburn. Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that occurs due to aggravated acidity, that results in acid reflux. Many people experience heartburn while drinking coffee because the beverage is said to relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, allowing the acid to regurgitate upwards. So, if you experience increased acidity or acid reflux problems, it is best to avoid coffee in all forms.
- Affects bone density
Did you know there is a connection between drinking coffee and your bone health? Well, not many people are aware that coffee leaches out calcium from your bones, making them weak. However, this is true for those of you who consume over 300mg of coffee per day. If you love coffee, make sure you limit the amount you consume every day. Also, getting your daily requirement of the mineral is also important.
- Increases hypercholesterinaemia
Two components present in coffee – cafestol and Kahweol increase bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood. So, if you have high cholesterol levels, it is best to choose coffees that are filtered or cooked.
- Can be addictive
Coffee can be addictive, in the real sense. This is commonly seen with frequent coffee drinkers who tend to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking coffee or significantly reduce their quantity of intake per day.
- Interacts with medications
Caffeine in coffee can interact with medications. If you are a coffee drinker and have been advised medications for conditions like those of the thyroid, etc., it is best to consult with your doctor about it.
So, is coffee good or bad for you? Coffee, when consumed in optimum quantities (a maximum of 2-3 cups a day) is beneficial to your body. However, consuming over 6 cups a day can be detrimental to your health.