Advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee every day

Advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee every day

Guest post by Sofia Souiri, Wellness and Mental Health Practitioner

Coffee is the favorite first order of the day and also the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Coffee lovers are probably not thinking about its health benefits and risks. Yet, coffee has been the subject of debates and much research has been published regarding this topic. The world health organization added it to its list of carcinogens in 1991. By 1996 it was removed and its health benefits started to be promoted instead. It was in 1998 that it became mandatory that coffee must bear a cancer warning label in the US. What makes coffee so complex? 

About Coffee 

Coffee contains caffeine, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), magnesium and plant chemicals (polyphenols including chlorogenic acid and quinic acid, and diterpenes including cafestol and kahweol). 

Caffeine, which is a marked stimulator of the nervous system, is found in abundance in coffee. It initially gives a ‘buzz’ to the system and creates an increase in the energy level, concentration as well as a sense of euphoria. Coffee (due to its high quantity of caffeine) raises the blood sugar levels giving a short-term boost to the energy level. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and boosts production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. The latter elevate your mood. Risk of suicide can be prevented by 50% by consuming two cups a day. Researchers have found that coffee could also help you live longer since coffee drinkers have a lower risk of many deadly diseases as well as suicide.  

Additional benefits can be named: it can help you burn fat. Many studies have shown that caffeine can increase the metabolic rate by 3-11%. Other studies show that caffeine can increase burning fat by as much as 10% in obese people and 29% in lean people (it is no surprise since most fat burning supplements contain caffeine). 

As for vitamin B2, it is crucial to break down food components, absorbing other nutrients, maintaining tissues and helping you feel less tired.  Magnesium plays many crucial roles in the body, such as supporting muscle and nerve function and energy production. 

A Harvard study has shown that coffee can help reduce the risks of Parkinson disease. There are many health benefits to drinking coffee from protecting against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases to lowering rates of depression among women.  

Yet, it is not clear if coffee is truly beneficial. 

Coffee and health 

The type of coffee you drink at home varies from the type of coffee you order from a coffee shop. Coffee is a mixture of more than a thousand chemicals. The use of additives in certain countries may offset any potential benefits coffee has on health. What defines a cup of coffee is the type of been used, how it is roasted, the amount of grind and how it is brewed. Increased alertness, energy and ability to concentrate can result from low to moderate (50-300mg) doses of caffeine, while higher doses might have a negative effect. 

Coffee must be avoided in case of intolerance as well as certain conditions. Certain people suffer from caffeine sensitivity which can trigger rapid heartbeats, insomnia, headaches, an increase in high blood pressure and a susceptibility to dehydration. Sensitivities are highly influenced by genetic factors and can develop over time (the body’s tolerance to a steady consumption). According to Harvard Medical school, a high consumption of unfiltered coffee can cause cholesterol levels to increase. Coffee beans contain cafestol and kahweol, two ingredients that appear to raise LDL cholesterol levels.  Besides, if you have a genetic mutation that slows down how quickly your body breaks caffeine, drinking two cups daily might increase the risk of heart disease.  

Negative interactions must also be taken into consideration. There may be negative effects from drinking coffee daily if you are taking certain medication and supplements. For example, certain antibacterial medications can hinder caffeine’s breakdown and increase the amount of time that its effects remain in your body. 

Coffee and brain health is the largest study of its kinds. Researchers have found that too much coffee has a negative impact on our brain health: smaller total brain volume and an increased risk of dementia. Thus, moderation is the key.  

Bottom line 

Coffee has to be consumed in moderation and ideally pick the best quality of coffee: with less chemicals and heavy metals (yes coffee can be toxic). A large body of evidence suggests that moderate consumption of coffee does not increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. 

However, caffeine being a stimulant, anxious people tend to be hypersensitive to any form of stimuli so coffee can be triggering. Some people get jitters (and even panic attacks) after drinking too much coffee. Some people do well with one cup of coffee in the morning so it is important to do some personal experimentation to find ‘your sweet spot’ (which can also be zero). 

So, what about decaffeinated coffee? 

Well, they are rarely completely free of caffeine and the chemicals used to remove it might be themselves carcinogenic. In addition to that most coffee makers use pesticides and insecticides that will be fed into the coffee drinker’s system. If you can give it up totally this would be ideal. If you experience withdrawal effects and find it difficult, well you might be addicted and long-term effects of addiction can be detrimental to well-being. You could think of substitutes such as juices or chicory coffee to start the day. 

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS

I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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