Is coffee good or bad?
Many people perceive it as a harmful and dangerous drink. Often, such information is passed by word of mouth and has no reasoned justification. We wanted to adhere to statistics that are confirmed by numerous scientific studies.
Coffee is one of the most enjoyable morning rituals for people around the world. About 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consuming every day in the world. In terms of consumption, it is ranking as the second-largest beverage in the world after water. And if the value of water at all times was undeniable, then coffee, on a global scale, has a rather controversial reputation.
How does caffeine work?
Arabica beans contain about 1.5% caffeine and 98.5% other substances, including vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, tannins, and many others.
Caffeine is a substance from the group of alkaloids that plants synthesize to protect against pests. Caffeine is found not only in coffee but also in cocoa, tea, mate, cola. The effects of caffeine are mainly associated with the stimulating effect on the body systems - nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary.
The devil is in the details.
Before diving into scientific data, it is important to note that the benefits or harms of coffee are associated not only with it but also with the individual characteristics of the body, lifestyle, the presence of concomitant diseases, and bad habits. Your habit of drinking coffee also matters. The freshly roasted in beans or instant, brewed in a Turk or using a paper filter, the frequency of consumption during the day.
Coffee reduces the risk of death from all causes. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition covered 10 European countries and lasted 16.4 years. It is attending by 521 550 people. The data of such a large-scale study in the scientific world are considered representative, that is means results can be trusted and broadcasted to the entire population.
After analyzing the data, the scientists concluded that those who drank three cups of coffee a day or more had a lower risk of death from all causes than people who did not drink coffee at all. This ratio was maintained in all countries participating in the study.
We are talking specifically about the use of natural coffee beans. According to one of the authors of the study, it is not yet known which chemicals in coffee can affect life extension. It is already clear that moderate consumption of coffee could be included in a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Benefit or harm?
There are more than 19 thousand scientific studies on the effects of coffee on the body. It is interesting to note that according to most studies, beneficial effects are associating with regular and moderate consumption of coffee. We are talking about 3-4 cups of filtered coffee drunk during the day. It is noting that two mugs a day will also have a positive effect, but less than 3-4 cups.
Excessive consumption (more than 6 cups a day), the use of a low-quality product, and the method of preparation will contribute to the manifestation of the spiteful effects of coffee.
The relationship between drinking coffee and the occurrence of spiteful effects
The graph shows the dependence of the increase in the risks of negative consequences on the number of cups drunk. Source: https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/180/8/763/2739131
- Coffee reduces the risk of cognitive decline, including in old age, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and the likelihood of developing depression.
- You may have heard about the spiteful effects of coffee on tooth enamel. Coffee does color it, but when using a high-quality whitening toothpaste, this effect can be minimizing. On the plus side, coffee reduces the risk of tooth decay, provided you drink sugar-free coffee.
- Another common stereotype was associating with the spiteful effects of coffee. The development of cardiovascular disease studies has shown that coffee reduces the risk of its development in the long term. It reduces the risk of vein thrombosis and calcification of the arteries.
- Also, coffee reduces the likelihood of developing kidney stones and liver disease.
- You've probably heard that in addition to caffeine, coffee contains antioxidants. Their content in coffee is so high that in a typical Western diet, an adult gets more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined.
The list can be continuing for a long time, but we will restrict ourselves to the fundamental and repeatedly proven facts.
- Coffee increases the content of "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoproteins), but this effect is neutralizing by using a paper filter during preparation. It means that coffee made in a drip coffee maker or pour-over is healthier than coffee made, for example, in a Turk or using an espresso machine.
- Coffee increases the metabolism of calcium. It is excretion from the body increases the rate of bone loss and reduces bone density in the elderly - the risk of fractures.
- Increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer when drinking an excessively hot drink (temperature above 150 degrees Fahrenheit). It is, by the way, applies to any hot beverage.
- During pregnancy, it increases the risk of fetal loss (according to WHO, when consuming more than 10 oz of caffeine/day, which roughly corresponds to two cups of filter coffee).
The WHO recommends no more than 13 oz of caffeine per day. It is about three cups of coffee. But if your health worsens after the second, then you need to limit yourself to one cup and observe the body's reaction. If everything is fine and after five cups you feel great, then this amount of coffee is quite adequate for your body.
For example, people from Finland, Denmark, and Norway drinking 10 cups a day, while the average life expectancy in these countries is ten years higher than in the US. It is not related to coffee, but to health care, stress levels, and lifestyle, which proves that if a large amount of coffee does not prolong life, at least it does not shorten it.
How to make your coffee healthier
Avoiding sugary coffee drinks will reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes.
When making black coffee, use a paper filter to remove coffee oils containing cafestol (a substance that causes an increase in cholesterol levels).
For the prevention of calcium leaching, it is recommending to use milk or fermented milk products.
It is also worth giving up the habit of drinking very hot coffee. Iy will save your esophagus from unpleasant consequences.
Listen to your body if you feel overexcited, feeling uncomfortable or sleepy, perhaps cutting back on coffee or limiting it in the afternoon.
It is important to remember that all effects are individual for each person. Sometimes, the pleasure of one cup of coffee brings so much joy and happiness that it is impossible to refuse it. The very case when the benefits of the drink convincingly outweigh the possible harm.
- Research on the relationship between coffee consumption in European countries and all-cause mortality - https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/180494/drinking-coffee-reduces-risk-death-from/
- Another study on the same data on the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality - https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M16-2945
- Research on coffee's high antioxidant content - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coffee-worlds-biggest-source-of-antioxidants
- Research on the inverse relationship between caffeine use and the development of Parkinson's disease - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20182023/
- Study on the lack of relationship between coffee consumption and depression in women - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8604958/
- Study on the lack of relationship between coffee consumption and the occurrence of coronary heart disease - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18707777/
- Research on the benefits and risks of coffee - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21432699/
- Research on the long-term effect of coffee on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The risk is reducing - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24201300/
- A study on the anti-diabetic properties of cafestol, a substance found in coffee. So far, only on mice - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.7b00395
- Study on the effect of caffeine on oxytocin neuron firing and dietary obesity in mice - https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15904
- Research on the Possible Effect of Too Hot Drinks on the Risk of Esophageal Cancer - https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/very-hot-drinks-probably-cause-cancer-un-health-agency-announces-a7082991.html
- Study on caffeine intake during pregnancy. It is better not to use it, but you can use it a little. The main thing is not to replace with something more harmful - https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2316
- Research on antioxidants in coffee - https://coffeedorks.com/coffee-and-antioxidants/