Humans have been drinking coffee for centuries, at home, and in coffee houses, once known as “schools of the wise”. Ever since, many swear by it to start their day and marvel at the health benefits of coffee. But we’re not about to trust idle coffee house gossip about its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad, according to science!
When is Coffee Good for You?
Coffee is good for you… until it’s not. Why? Because whether you receive more benefits than side effects depends on your coffee intake. It also depends on whether you like the taste of coffee or if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
Read this article about how much caffeine is in different types of coffee drinks to know how many cups you can drink each day. As for general dietary guidelines: the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends no more than 400 mg a day . More significant amounts have a greater association with adverse effects.
However, that’s an average. Certain medications or differing sensitivity levels can change your minimum (or maximum) caffeine consumption. How much coffee you drink can be impacted by drinking it black or adding creamer, milk, or sugar.
There’s also no recommended level for underage consumers, but caffeine is discouraged. That doesn’t mean banning chocolate and soda for little Susie and little Jimmy, but kids (and their guardians) should limit how much caffeine they ingest.
If coffee is good for you, you generally feel good when you drink it. When it puts that pep in your step or helps you stop a headache, coffee shines with benefits.
When is Coffee Bad for You?
Coffee is bad for you when you exceed your body’s tolerance for caffeine. This might also lead to increased blood pressure. Most adults with average coffee habits don’t need to worry, but it can help to know when you’ve crossed the line over to too many cups.
It’s also no secret that adding heaps of sugar to your coffee can have negative health associations.
We typically think of coffee as the go-to for caffeine, but there are many surprising sources of caffeine in the things we eat and drink every day. Besides your morning cup of joe, chocolate is another well-known source. The darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine content.
Many sodas, weight-loss pills, and even pain relievers give you a jolt through caffeine.
It can also make a difference in how you prepare your coffee. Cold brew coffee has the highest concentrations of caffeine, with instant coffee containing the lowest. While Robusta beans typically have more caffeine than Arabica beans, it can also depend on your brand.
How many cups of coffee is too much?
If you’ve ever experienced a coffee buzz or seen someone else experiencing jittery behavior, you probably know there is such a thing as too many cups of coffee. For some, it takes a single 8-ounce cup of coffee before they feel awake, while others take espresso shots by the gallon before they begin to perk up.
If you’re not sure how to tell if you’ve had too much, whether you’ve reached that recommended limit or not, there are a few common side effects:
- Increased heart rate
- Upset stomach or nausea
- Dysphoria (feeling of unhappiness)
- Increased blood pressure
If you’re concerned that you’re experiencing symptoms, try cutting back on your caffeine intake. Examine some of the food you regularly eat for caffeine content. With minimal trial and error, you can find out if cutting back makes you feel better. Be careful though: if you usually drink a lot of coffee, you might suffer from withdrawal symptoms. These will go away after a couple of days, though.
Take note if your symptoms go away after drinking your coffee or if they occur after. Enjoy your coffee responsibly and protect yourself from a caffeine overdose.
Coffee may well fit the definition of a ‘functional food,’ a consumable with the ability to improve your quality of life. Coffee health benefits are for the mind and the body, making your daily cup of coffee a well-rounded treat.
1. Improves Physical Performance
While many of us feel like we need a cup of coffee to endure a long day or waking from a sleepless night, did you know it can also help you last longer during a workout? Coffee can enhance your endurance for physically rigorous activities, like aerobics.
2. Improves Focus
Coffee increases your ability to focus by removing one problem-solving obstacle: fatigue. While your latte or cappuccino might not inspire you to create the next Mona Lisa, it makes it easier to access the energy you need to get it done.
As a stimulant, caffeine can boost the body’s central nervous system, which is part of why coffee makes you feel energized. Individuals with ADHD can experience improved concentration because of this boost.
3. Contains Antioxidants
Coffee continues to increase in popularity worldwide, making it a significant source for your daily dose of antioxidants.
While there are many foods and drinks with antioxidants, coffee has an advantage because it’s popular and contains more antioxidants than other known sources. With a regular source of antioxidants, your body reduces your risk for several diseases.
4. May Prevent Heart Failure
Research has frequently correlated coffee with a reduced risk for heart failure, including stroke and coronary heart disease. Now, this is not your invitation to start drinking gallons a day. The research featured participants who regularly drink between one to six daily cups, no more.
With moderating coffee drinking, some studies suggest positive effects on cellular activity in your heart. Coffee intake within recommended amounts can protect your heart muscle cells and improve heart function. So yes, that cup of liquid black gold does help reduce your risk of heart disease!
5. Lower Risk of Diabetes (Improves Insulin Sensitivity)
Regular devotees of roasted coffee beans can count on a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. A 2013 study showed an 11% lower risk to participants drinking three to four 8-ounce daily cups of coffee.
Coffee fights the adverse effects of impaired glucose tolerance for improved insulin sensitivity and helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.
6. Fights Parkinson’s Disease
Coffee can lower the risk of Parkinson’s Disease, and this time it’s not just because of the caffeine. While coffee contains more than 1,000 compounds of interest, such as organic acids, amino acids, and fatty acids, EHT (Eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide) has been a new highlight in research journals.
Caffeine may protect those with a specific genetic mutation from developing Parkinson’s disease, as well as helping identify the mutation.
7. May Help Prevent Depression
Besides a warm cup making you feel ready to wake up and face the day, it can also help alleviate depression. Caffeine is a psychostimulant. It stimulates the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which make you feel awake and motivated, and lift up your mood.
Some research also suggests that the antioxidants in coffee reduce inflammation in the brain, which helps with alertness and lessens one potential cause of depression.
8. Fights Alzheimer’s Disease
Studies have shown favorable effects against cognitive decline, including research into how coffee’s boost of the central nervous system can fight Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. Drinking three to five cups a day lowers the risk by 65% for older coffee drinkers, with a mildly reduced risk for midlife coffee drinkers.
Through coffee consumption, caffeine has been used as a therapeutic treatment to decrease harmful Abeta levels on Alzheimer’s. Caffeinated coffee, but not decaf coffee, can protect and treat some adverse effects.
9. May Help You Burn Fat
Coffee can help you with your weight loss goals by burning body fat. It stimulates adipose tissue, which is that fat in your body that burns calories. This stimulant effect increases your metabolic rate for increased fat burn and weight loss.
The trendy “Coffee Diet” was created based on coffee’s ability to boost metabolism and cardiovascular function. Coffee consumption increases your energy levels and motivates you to be more active.
Coffee is also an appetite suppressant, meaning you won’t feel hungry. The combined benefits of coffee to burn calories, reduce hunger, and improve energy helps you make room for healthier choices
10. Reduces Cancer Risks
Findings have shown that moderate coffee consumption can reduce cancer risks.
Protects Against Gastroesophageal Cancer
While it was once an old wive’s tale that hot drinks caused esophageal cancer, new findings point to coffee consumption protecting against gastroesophageal cancer. East Asian participants in studies benefited the most from a reduced incidence of esophageal cancer.
Protects Against Oral Cancer
Serious coffee drinkers have an advantage against oral cancers, as results suggest it has a protective role. Higher consumption rates are 1.45 times less than those who drink less coffee.
A Harvard study found that a few cups a day can reduce the risk and the progression of colorectal cancer.
A few studies conducted have linked reduced risk factors for Breast Cancer for women who regularly consume coffee. Women with specific receptors may have up to a 57% potential decrease in their chances of diagnosis.
11. May Strengthen Your DNA
Your cup of coffee changes your DNA the same way daily exercise does. While coffee doesn’t alter your DNA, according to preliminary research from Erasmus University Medical Center, it can change DNA behavior. The associated change is what allows for stronger structural and metabolic reactions in your muscles.
12. Protects Against Liver Disease
Coffee beans are magic for liver disease. It reduces the risk of various chronic liver diseases (like fatty liver disease and hepatitis) because of its many positive effects on crucial liver enzymes. As a consequence, regular coffee intake can help prevent cirrhosis. On top of that, some studies show coffee reduces the risk of liver cancer.
13. Could Help You Live Longer
We’ve mentioned more than a few benefits that prevent risk factors and strengthen your body, mentally and physically. With all that in mind, it’s no surprise, coffee can help you live longer. It’s a small bean with a big impact.
In this case, even decaf coffee can add years to your life.
14. You’ll Have More Fun in Life
While the coffee health benefits are enough to make any outlook a little brighter, there’s also a chance you can have more fun. Experiment with coffee beans. Enjoy latte art. Discover which types of coffee make you smile.
However you roast your beans, you can use that energy boost to enjoy your day.