We love our coffee and it has become a fundamental element of our lives. What is better than a cup of warm coffee to start the day? Its rich aroma and taste are very provocative to the senses. As per World Resources Institutes approximation, the average American drinks 3330 ounces of coffee per year. That is approximately 416 cups of 8 ounce coffee annually! A good number of studies have been carried out to determine the beneficial and harmful effects of coffee. Some tests relate the consumption of this drink to a variety of diseases. On the other hand other researches also showed the coffee is far healthier than we perceive it to be. Whether coffee is detrimental or best for a person’s health is a hotly debated topic.
Let us start with the purported health benefits of this popular drink. Researches have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Incidences of certain cancers are also relatively lower among coffee drinkers compared with non-drinkers. Coffee contains high levels of antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals. This drink’s strong antioxidant capacity may be responsible for curbing the likelihood of developing liver cirrhosis, breast, colon, and prostate cancer up o 50%. These antioxidants prevent cell and tissue damage that are brought about by oxygen-free radicals. The minerals magnesium and chromium for example are vital in the in the proper use of the blood sugar controlling hormone, insulin. Because insulin is responsible in the effective regulation of the blood, inefficient production or utilization of this hormone in the body leads to diabetes. Another compound present in coffee that helps prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes is chlorogenic acid.
Caffeine is responsible for the reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Researchers are still doing experiments to ascertain the exact role of and biochemical pathways taken by caffeine in preventing the said diseases. International studies revealed that regular coffee drinkers had 65% lower chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than non-drinkers and occasional drinkers.
Sleeping disturbance, osteoporosis, addiction, increased risk of heart diseases, dehydration, and heartburn are coffee consumption’s common harmful effects. Most of these problems can be attributed to the excessive intake of the addictive compound found in it, caffeine. Caffeine is a potent diuretic, increases heartbeat, constricts blood vessels, and overstimulates the central nervous system. It also stimulates the creation of the stress hormone, cortisol. Elevated amounts of cortisol lead to insomnia and tension. Coffee is also closely related to magnesium and calcium loss leading to osteoporosis. It is also a highly acidic drink which degrades the intestinal lining to some extent. An excessive amount of acid relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter causing heartburn. Moreover, studies show that caffeine has detrimental effects on fetuses. Drinking 8 or more cups of coffee weekly adds to the possibility of miscarriage among pregnant women to up to 59%.
The researches concerning the beneficial and harmful effects of coffee are somewhat equivocal. One study may claim one thing while the other contests it. It is all your decision to weigh in on the facts. But one thing is for sure, you must follow the law of balance and moderation: take everything in moderation as too much of anything is does more harm than good. And how moderate is moderate? They claim consuming 2 cups of 8 ounce coffee per day is moderate enough.
If you love to drink coffee, learn more about beneficial and harmful effects of coffee and stop by Larry P. Henry’s site.