How do you take your coffee this morning?A cup of coffee is just the thing to start the morning right and get energized for the day. There's even a proverb about it: "A cup coffee begins a 40-year friendship."
Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia when people noticed how goats became highly energized after eating the fruits of a certain kind of tree. With a history dating back to 500s, there is a new study every day that highlights the health effects of coffee. Despite that, the question still lingers on the minds of consumers as to whether drinking coffee is good or bad.
Benefits of Drinking CoffeeAfter being picked from a coffee tree, coffee goes through the processes of drying, roasting, and grinding and is brewed with hot water before making it to our cups.
The most consumed drink in the world following water and tea, coffee not only offers a delicious aroma and flavor but also supports a well-balanced diet, providing magnesium, potassium, important minerals, and vitamin B3. Caffeine, which is responsible for the most talked about health effect of coffee, increases attention and concentration while reducing feelings of tiredness. These are coffee’s most commonly known benefits, which are felt right after drinking it. The other benefit is its antioxidant properties. Various phytochemicals, particularly clonogenic acid and other polyphenols (which are not nutrients, but rather aids in improving health), in the composition of coffee fight against many harmful free radicals in the body. The phytochemicals contained by coffee provide antioxidant effects and also prevent sudden drops in blood sugar levels, speed up the metabolism, and help contract and relax blood vessels, which helps protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Possible Risks of Excessive Coffee ConsumptionEric Rimm, ScD, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states that caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee consumption does not affect health provided that it does not exceed five cups, or 300 mg, a day. He adds that in some cases, even this amount can result in caffeine-related sleeplessness, tension, and tachycardia in some people. In addition to these risks, recent studies suggest that LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, may increase due to the consumption of coffee, especially when brewed using the unfiltered French press method. It has been claimed that regular and excessive consumption of coffee or other caffeinated drinks can result in calcium discharge through urinating, and thus lead to an increase in bone loss. Pregnant or nursing mothers are recommended to not exceed 200 mg of caffeine per day due to the risks of excessive caffeine intake.
How Should We Drink It and How Much?People who are exposed to the adverse effects of caffeine due to drinking coffee may prefer decaffeinated coffee. In order to make sure that daily caffeine consumption does not go over the daily limit, the consumption of other caffeinated drinks such as cola and sports and energy drinks must also be taken into consideration. The content of coffee changes depending on the type of coffee and the brewing method. For instance, one cup of filtered coffee contains 80 mg of caffeine while one cup of dissoluble coffee contains 50 mg of caffeine and a single-shot espresso contains 120 mg of caffeine.
In addition to the aforementioned possible risks of coffee consumption, cream and sugar or sugar syrups added to coffee increases coffee’s saturated fat and energy content, which can in turn lead to spikes in blood sugar and increases in body weight.
In conclusion, you don't have to give up your coffee habit! If you don't drink other caffeinated foods or drinks, you can drink up to five cups a day, and if you have to want to decrease your overall caffeine intake you can switch to decaffeinated coffee.
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Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Procter SB et al. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014
Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Letter. Coffee: Love it or leave it? May 2016. http://www.health.harvard.edu/