Millions of people around the world start their mornings with coffee. Back in the early 17th century, coffee was sold only in pharmacies in Europe. It was a favorite drink of musicians, poets, and thinkers. For example, the French writer Honoré de Balzac drank more than 20 cups of coffee a day and believed that it inspired him to write.
The debate over the effects of coffee on the human body continues to this day. But it has been proven that coffee can be both beneficial and harmful to human health. Read more about the benefits and harms of coffee below.
Health benefits of coffee
In 2016, coffee was removed from the list of potentially carcinogenic compounds and added to the list of substances with anti-tumor effects. Now coffee is considered an element of a healthy diet. Studies have shown that coffee reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and alcohol-induced pancreatitis. It reduces the risk of liver cancer in people carrying the hepatitis C virus by 40%. In people whose caffeine breaks down quickly, i.e. “coffee doesn’t work on them,” coffee reduces the development of cardiovascular disease. Regular and moderate coffee consumption reduces the likelihood of premature death by 15%. Coffee drinkers are less likely to get diabetes, and in diabetics, coffee prevents the formation of visceral fat (on the abdomen). Coffee increases blood pressure and improves cerebral circulation. But sometimes it is harmful to health. Another well-known effect of coffee is that it helps you focus, fights drowsiness, and improves your mood.
But coffee can be harmful to your health!
First of all, because caffeine is slow to neutralize. Caffeine, like medications and steroid hormones, is neutralized in the liver. The enzymes (cytochromes CYP1A2) that do this work differently in different people. If you have the genes for “powerful” cytochromes, then coffee will have almost no effect on you, and you can drink a lot. Owners of “slow” cytochromes take a long time to neutralize caffeine, so it works longer and stronger, and causes tachycardia, hypertension, heart pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
If coffee has a strong effect on you, makes your heart pound, makes you anxious, makes your mouth dry, and makes you lose sleep, don’t drink it. You can drink decaffeinated coffee, which has antioxidants but no caffeine.
Besides, coffee can be addictive. Sometimes we drink a lot of coffee when we are not sleepy, but there is a great need to concentrate. At first, coffee helps, but eventually it stops working. If you feel that you have become addicted to coffee and need to increase your dose, you should do the opposite – not drink coffee for a few weeks.
Doctors do not recommend drinking coffee for people with coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis. It is also not recommended for kidney disease, as well as for increased excitability, insomnia, hypertension, and glaucoma. In addition, children and the elderly should not drink coffee.
How much coffee can you drink?
There is no unanimous answer to this question. So it’s better to be guided by your own feelings. If coffee doesn’t work for you, you can drink up to 6 cups of espresso a day. If coffee excites you too much, then you shouldn’t drink more than one serving a day. When you drink coffee, pay attention not to the size of the portion, but to the amount of ground coffee taken for preparation.
Can I drink coffee while pregnant?
You can, but no more than once or twice a day. During pregnancy, caffeine breaks down more slowly, and this should be taken into account. High doses of caffeine during pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage or having a low birth weight baby. However, coffee is not banned – overconsumption is prohibited.
What is the best way to consume coffee?
It is better to drink coffee with water, without sugar, sweets, or milk. A large latte with sugar should not be a substitute for a timely and nutritious meal, although it is close to a serving of spaghetti in calories. Do not drink coffee or other drinks that are too hot. This increases the risk of esophageal cancer. Avoid energy drinks containing caffeine. They have a very high dose of caffeine, and they contain too much sugar and additional stimulants.
Remember, for coffee to be beneficial and remain an element of a healthy diet, consume it in moderation and be guided by how your body feels.