Coffee is a daily choice of beverage for many across the world. With its delicious aroma and taste combined with its ability to perk us up in the morning or help us focus during late night study or work sessions, it does not come as a surprise that we now drink about 145 million bags of coffee worldwide every year
Like with any stimulant, it is essential to drink coffee in moderation to reap its benefits while still avoiding causing potential adverse effects for yourself.
Here’s 10 pros and cons of drinking coffee to help caffeine lovers better understand their daily cup of joe.
Studies have begun to suggest that daily, moderate coffee consumption may help to reduce the risk of developing brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, thanks to its antioxidants.
The antioxidants in coffee may help to prevent damage to brain cells while also raising cognitive function. While you may not notice these benefits as you drink your daily cup of joe on a regular basis, these positive effects are long-term benefits.
As usual, drinking coffee in moderation is key, as these projected benefits are based on consuming three cups of coffee per day at most.
Coffee is a stimulant for the bowels as well as a natural diuretic, which can help to regulate our bodies digestion cycle.
Many today resort to weight loss or chemically created fat burning pill. But coffee is natural and possibly more effective than weight loss pills. As a bonus, calories are burned more quickly after drinking coffee due to a boosted metabolism thanks to both the coffee and your efforts.
A study conducted in 2011 suggested not only that coffee may be beneficial for our mental health, but that frequent coffee drinkers may have a significantly decreased risk of developing depression.
The study showed a 15% reduced risk of developing depression in women who drank two to three cups of coffee per day, compared to those who drank one cup of coffee per week or less.
This study included women who drank four or more cups of coffee per day, who showed an even more decreased risk, at 20%.
Coffee can have positive effects on your cardiovascular system over time when in moderation, or in this case between two and six cups per day.
Drinking coffee has been linked in studies by the American Heart Association to a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease (as far in the future as ten years) and may even have the potential to protect against stroke and heart failure.
However, it still is not clear whether higher coffee consumption may have a significant impact, as nearly every individual who took part in the study usually consumed six or less cups of coffee per day
Before studying the potential long-term cognitive benefits of consuming coffee. A study was performed in Strasbourg, France on the more short-term mental and cognitive effects of coffee.
This study showed that while coffee does not always enhance cognitive function, such as while intentionally trying to learn a task or subject. It can help in cases where coffee drinkers are in a situation to passively receive information since their levels of alertness are often higher.
For the same reason, these heightened alertness levels may even lead to improved reaction time when consumed in moderation.
Scientists are studying coffee’s antioxidant compounds (more specifically, chlorogenic acid and quinides). This led them to theorize that they contribute to our cell’s’ insulin sensitivity, which our bodies use to regulate blood sugar.
It is possible that coffee’s natural caffeine content may limit this benefit, giving decaffeinated coffee an added benefit despite its lack of energy boosting power.
In this case, consuming in moderation still allows you to drink two to four cups of coffee per day to enjoy this benefit
The antioxidants in coffee may be quite powerful, depending on your grounds and brewing method. Antioxidants aid our bodies in removing harmful toxins from our system, which in turn can help give our skin a healthy glow.
Coupled with coffee’s natural caffeine content, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, can help with acne or other red breakouts. And finely ground coffee can even be used as a natural, gentle, exfoliator.
You do not have to limit this to the skin on your face, as it may help smooth and reduce cellulite when used topically thanks to its ability to help break down fat and to increase blood circulation.
The consumption of coffee may actually improve your focus in more than one way. Studies have shown that the caffeine content in coffee may increase not only our ability to keep focused on a particular task for an extended period but also our ability to focus on the task itself with minimal distractions.
Moderation here is critical, as both not enough and too much coffee consumed will negate these effects, so it is best to keep your consumption at around a 75mg serving of caffeine.
As an added bonus, the study showed no sign of change in this effect in those who drank coffee regularly versus those who did not, meaning this coffee benefit is based on serving size alone.
Caffeine is a stimulant which affects our central nervous system, giving us a decreased perception of effort while keeping our minds alert.
For those who can survive a gym or other work out session without eating first, weight loss professionals have recommended drinking two cups of coffee before working out in the morning.
Caffeine content in coffee can prolong fatigue, giving a feeling of boosted endurance. Combined with an empty stomach, those trying to workout to lose weight will be able to burn off excess body fat, rather than their morning meal.
Coffee generally grows in tropical and subtropical forests. Shade-grown coffee, or coffee which has grown naturally in the shade created by the canopy of the forest, has a cultivation process that is not only environmentally friendly but can actually be beneficial for the environment.
Shade-grown coffee does not deplete the nutrients in the soil, it helps to prevent soil erosion and decreases runoff of chemicals, and yields more coffee that is generally of better quality than sun-grown coffee.
It may be difficult for some to find their “right dose” of coffee. Not only does the size of a “cup of coffee” vary depending on who you speak to, but the amount of caffeine present in coffee varies.
Caffeine speeds up the activity of our cells and constricts our blood vessels. Generally, this leads to a light caffeine “buzz” for some but may cause irritability, jitters, or anxiety for others.
This is especially so for those who may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, where a smaller serving or fewer servings of coffee may cause irritability or anxiety.
IBS is a digestive condition which has been on the rise, as has the consumption of coffee. While coffee will not cause digestive conditions like this, they can contribute to them and may not be an ideal choice of beverage for those with an existing digestive problem.
In these cases, consuming coffee can flare-up existing or hidden symptoms, like bloating or burning feeling in the stomach.
Coffee also increases the muscular activity in our colons. Individuals who have been diagnosed with IBS or a similar digestive problem should limit their coffee consumption to 3 or less cups per day.
It is common for coffee drinkers to consume more than one cup of coffee throughout a work or school day to keep themselves perked up throughout the day.
The Wayne State College of Medicine in Michigan has studied the disruptive effects of drinking coffee before bed.
It led them to find that consuming caffeine any time within six hours before bed could affect not only the amount of sleep that you get but also the quality of sleep that you get. And this is regardless of how late you plan to try to sleep in in the following day.
It is clear that some individuals will feel the effects of caffeine more than others (known as caffeine sensitivity), but did you know that you can actually be intolerant or allergic to caffeine?
If you are overly sensitive to the caffeine molecule, you may experience symptoms of an allergic reaction after consuming coffee, such as pain or breaking out in hives.
Depending on the level of your sensitivity, it may be best to avoid consuming coffee as much as possible as even an 8oz serving of decaffeinated coffee generally still contains between 2 and 12 milligrams of caffeine.
In areas where coffee does not grow naturally in the shade, farmers grow and cultivate sun-grown coffee.
This is often the cheaper coffee bean or ground options that you may find on local shelves. This coffee cultivation method can generally only continue for 15 years on the same land, as sun-grown coffee depletes and sometimes strips the nutrients in the soil.
As the quality of the soil declines so does the quality of the resulting coffee. In this case, it is not uncommon for farmers to clear an entirely new area of land just to start a new plot of coffee.
Many coffee lovers will steer towards filtered coffee by habit, where other coffee lovers are loyal to their French press.
Unfortunately for those who opt for boiled but unfiltered coffee, the consumption of coffee may actually raise your levels of “bad” cholesterol (Lipoprotein Cholesterol, or LDL).
Using paper filters has been tested, and we have seen that boiled coffee that has been strained through commercial paper coffee filters can significantly limit this effect by removing what is called the hypercholesterolemic factor.
Or in other words by filtering and therefore limiting the amount of cholesterol that ends up in your cup of coffee.
Coffee is commonly known as a popular drink for students and business people trying to survive sleepless mornings or nights of studying or work.
While you may feel the effects of a caffeine boost, coffee is no match for those who have been deprived of sleep for multiple days in a row.
Focus required tasks, such as driving, should not be performed due to a false sense of trust in caffeine’s ability to keep you alert.
While, of course, there are many benefits to drinking coffee for a boost in energy or alertness, getting enough sleep is still an important factor to make sure you get the best of your brew.
It is generally safe to consume between two and four cups of coffee per day without the negative side effects, depending on the caffeine content of your specific blend.
While it is not the case that a single cup of coffee will cause you to urinate more, and therefore lead to dehydration. It is possible to feel the effects of dehydration if you consume relatively large doses of caffeine (about 500mg or more).
A single cup of caffeinated, brewed coffee usually contains between 95 and 20mg of coffee, which is higher than instant or single serve coffee options.
If you already suffer from hypertension or if you do not consume coffee regularly, it is possible to experience elevated blood pressure levels for 2 to 3 hours after consumption.
Similar results were found during studies completed by the American Society of Hypertension and The Mayo Clinic who provided patients with 250mg and 160mg doses of caffeine respectively.
These dosages equate to 1 to 2 servings of brewed coffee, so instant or single serve coffee may be a more ideal coffee choice for those already suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Since caffeine is a stimulant, and therefore technically a drug, it is possible to experience a withdrawal period for a frequent coffee drinker trying to quit or cut down their coffee consumption.
Painful headaches and lethargy are commonly experienced until your next dose of caffeine as your body adjusts to the lack or lower levels of caffeine in your system (your blood flow will increase in velocity, and your brain activity will be reduced).
Luckily, when coffee is consumed in moderation, even if on a regular basis, these side effects are rarely experienced.
Coffees extensive list of benefits, which even animals and insects can benefit from, may make consuming coffee in moderation an excellent advantage for many lifestyles and routines.
While some of the cons of consuming too much coffee may be eye-opening, it is clear that these adverse effects are primarily caused by either excessive consumption of coffee or by an existing caffeine sensitivity.
To conclude, use your coffee consumption to take in the most of the benefits from your favorite brew; just don’t let your love of coffee get so strong that you over-consume and lessen the enjoyment and benefits of your delicious grounds.