Do you like coffee? I do, its taste and aroma make my mornings so much better!
However, coffee is not always considered as a healthy food. It has a long history of being blamed for many ills. But some recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all. So which is it – good or bad for your health?
First, let’s look at the good news. Coffee really can help you be more alert for a longer period of time. It is most effective if you drink it in small amounts throughout the day. For anyone who suffers from low energy or fatigue, this can be a great benefit! Coffee can pull you out of an emotional slump as well.
Coffee can even help with more serious health issues. Men who drank more than six cups per day had a 54 percent lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes; the risk for women was lowered by 30 percent. Your risk of getting Parkinson’s disease can be lowered by up to 80 percent, just from drinking coffee on a regular basis. Other benefits include lowered risk of gallstones, liver disease, and colon cancer. Surprisingly, coffee is thought to help prevent cavities and to be an aid in managing asthma. (for more health Benefits, see CTS2)
Clearly, this morning favorite can be a big help to your health. Instead of being a harmful habit that many people make it out to be, drinking coffee seems to bring some great benefits to the table. As with other foods, the key is moderation. Anything can be harmful if consumed in excessive amounts.
Coffee is a complex mixture of compounds that may have either beneficial or harmful effects on the cardiovascular system. On one hand, diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes, which may contribute to the risk of coronary heart disease. Besides that, coffee consumption is also associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
Interestingly, the researchers did find that people who drank more coffee were more likely to be smokers, drink more alcohol, drink less tea, take vitamin supplements, or exercise regularly, all of which have been linked to increased risks of heart problems.
2 Increased Cholesterol Levels
Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL cholesterol levels. Unfiltered coffee is a significant source of cafestol and kahweol, which are diterpenes responsible for cholesterol-raising effects of coffee. Diterpenes are extracted by hot water but are retained by a paper filter. This explains why filtered coffee does not affect cholesterol, whereas Scandinavian boiled, cafetiere, and Turkish coffees do.
3 Damage to Arteries
Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function (increases arterial stiffness and wave reflections). Greek researchers recently proposed that caffeine increased aortic stiffness and, subsequently, the risk of heart disease
4 Heart Rhythm Disturbances
There is experimental evidence that caffeine causes cardiac arrhythmias.
5 Blood Pressure
Although coffee consumption is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavorable effects on blood pressure. No doubt caffeine is responsible for blood pressure increase. However, there is some evidence, that when caffeine is ingested from coffee, it has a small effect on blood pressure. People prone to hypertension may be more susceptible to coffee blood pressure elevating effects. Recent Italian study found that coffee drinking can slightly increase the risk for development of sustained hypertension in persons with elevated blood pressure.
6 Osteoporosis (bone loss)
Coffee intake may induce an extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (4 cups=600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake.
7 Disrupted Sleep, Nervousness and Anxiety
Excess caffeine can over-stimulate the central nervous system. High amounts of caffeine produce negative effect on sleep onset and sleep quality. However, there are large individual differences in the effects of caffeine on sleep. Many people consume coffee during the evening and have no problems falling asleep. Some people find that the mild stimulation of caffeine consumed shortly before a bed time delays the time to fall asleep.
Some people suffer from heartburn after drinking coffee. Coffee promotes gastro-oesophageal reflux, but is not associated with dyspepsia.
The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase the volume of urine excreted. However, this effect can be easily counteracted by the drinking extra glass of water.
10 Coffee & Pregnancy: A Bad Mix (raises miscarriage risk)
The effects of coffee during pregnancy is extensively researched – and the results of the various studies into the effects of caffeine and coffee on pregnant women, fertility and the development of the growing baby are contradictory. Drinking a couple of cups of coffee a day has long been considered safe during pregnancy, but a new study finds that even this modest amount of caffeine could double a woman’s risk of miscarriage. A team led by Dr. De-Kun Li, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., conducted one of the first studies to take into account morning sickness. They concluded that a daily habit of drinking 200 milligrams of caffeine – the amount typically found in just two cups of coffee – significantly increases the risk of miscarriage.
11 Rheumatoid Arthritis
Decaffeinated coffee may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers speculate that rather than the presence or absence of caffeine being the culprit, there may be something in the way decaffeinated coffee is processed that triggers an arthritic response, perhaps industrial solvents. Another study found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with those who drank less coffee.
The bottom line is that coffee can be enjoyed as long as you don’t overdo it. Even drinking several cups per day will usually not harm your health. Heavy coffee drinkers that experience unpleasant side effects (high blood pressure, etc.) should cut back their intake, but average coffee drinkers have very little to fear – and even some health benefits to gain!
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