Last Updated on August 14, 2020 by Layla Lily
The coffee is the most traded food product in the world. We could say that it is the most popular soft drug, or at least the one that is most socially accepted.
Originating, like Homo Sapiens, from the African Rift, coffee has become one of the most popular drinks in the world. Its consumption has practically doubled in the last 40 years and it has traveled from Africa to the most varied corners of the planet. In the market there are many types coffee maker like French Press, Vacuum Coffee Maker.
Today, the world leaders in coffee consumption are the Scandinavian countries, with Finland at the head with 12 kg of coffee per inhabitant and year.
Billions of people around the world start their day, and many continue it, with the ritual of a cup of coffee. And even so, it still carries the stigma of creating dependency and being one of those “bad for health” substances.
Coffee is good for health
Most of the scientific evidence in favor of coffee comes from epidemiological studies that look at large populations, so it seems that we can conclude that coffee generally has positive effects on health, well-being and performance. Just some examples and studies:
- A study concludes that a higher consumption of coffee (with caffeine) may be associated with a lower risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
- Coffee consumption has been linked to a lower rate of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Coffee also appears to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes .
A study of the male population in the United States concludes that drinking coffee can help prevent gallstones.
- It seems that coffee is also directly related to a lower rate of oxidative stress and better DNA repair in women.
- Another study concludes that caffeine consumption is associated with significantly lower levels of Parkinson’s disease incidence
- Drinking coffee can decrease the risk of prostate cancer .
- This meta-analysis associates moderate coffee consumption with a lower risk of cerebral stroke .
- A study done among Japanese women concludes that the consumption of coffee and polyphenols is associated with less pigmentation of facial sun spots and that it can have an anti-aging effect on the skin .
Aside from the long-term health and longevity benefits of coffee, highlighted in these and many other studies and meta-analyzes, let’s take a closer look at the immediate positive effects and other important aspects of coffee. Read More Coffee Grinder for French Press
Coffee is a great source of antioxidant
Polyphenols are abundant antioxidant compounds in vegetables. More than 80,000 polyphenols have been described , with very important effects on health and well-being, and we can find them in fruits, vegetables, chocolate, olive oil, coffee or tea.
Although the concentration of polyphenols in coffee is low compared to other foods, coffee consumption is one of the most important sources of polyphenols for humans.
By weight, the concentration of polyphenols in coffee is well below that of fruits such as berries. However, being practical and realistic, we have to be aware that most of us do not spend the day adding goji berries to the salad or eating blueberries with nuts, but it is easy and pleasant for us, and it is very well accepted socially , have one or several cups of coffee a day. In fact, for the Spanish, coffee is the main source of antioxidant intake .
It is true that animal studies tend to give not so positive results, but perhaps the difference should be interpreted bearing in mind that these animals (laboratory mice) have not had the history of exposure to these compounds that humans have enjoyed, and they have been unable to develop the hormonal response against the potentially negative substances in coffee.
Coffee and sleep
Many people drink coffee to stay awake or wake up, although it must be remembered that in the long term nothing can or should replace the adequate hours of sleep.
It is true that in the short term coffee compensates for cognitive and concentration loss derived from not getting enough sleep, but it is important to keep in mind that several studies conclude that coffee can have a very negative effect if we drink it throughout the day and especially in the last hours of the day.
Drinking coffee at night prevents the correct secretion of melatonin , a hormone that regulates the day / night cycles of wakefulness and sleep, with the consequent degradation of the quantity and quality of sleep.
Drinking coffee continuously throughout the day effectively helps maintain our attention and cognitive performance, but it also puts at risk our ability to reconcile deep and restful sleep , an essential element of our health.
Caffeine tolerance is somewhat genetic
The capacity with which a person metabolizes coffee is genetically determined. Caffeine is metabolized in the liver by an enzyme encoded by the CYP1A2 gene .
This gene has three variants: AA, AC, and CC. Each of these variants determines how quickly a person will metabolize caffeine in their body:
- The variant AA determines the expression of the so-called fast metabolizers , which can ingest larger amounts of coffee without suffering an alteration or a decrease in the quality of their sleep. Their liver processes caffeine very quickly, and they can even drink coffee at night without being kept awake.
- On the other side of the spectrum are those people who have the CC variant, the slow metabolizers . To these people a single espresso lights them up like a Christmas tree, increasing their heart rate and even altering their nervous system . If you are in this group, you are probably one of those who cannot sleep if they drink coffee beyond the early afternoon.
- Those with variant AC are average metabolizers , caffeine does not affect them as much as those with CC, but they do not reach the tolerance levels of those with AA.
How does caffeine interfere with sleep?
Adenosine is a by-product of brain activity that is part of the variables that affect wake and sleep cycles. The more brain activity there is, the more adenosine is produced, and it accumulates throughout the day, binding to receptors outside the cell; when levels rise and reach a certain level, they bind to their receptors and we feel sleepy.
When we ingest caffeine, it binds to the same receptors as adenosine and takes its place, preventing adenosine from accumulating, stimulating cognitive activity and limiting the appearance of sleep.
By binding to and filling in for adenosine receptors, caffeine also inhibits another important effect of adenosine: vasodilation, with increased blood flow to the corresponding tissue.
As a consequence of this, it seems that those slow caffeine metabolizers tend to suffer more from diseases related to impaired vasodilation, such as hypertension, so it may not be advisable for these people to drink more than one or two cups of coffee a day and even be recommended to avoid it completely.
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Coffee protects the brain
Among other mechanisms, caffeine (and 23 other compounds present in food) have been shown to activate an enzyme known as n- icotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 or NMNAT2 , which protects the brain from neurodegenerative disorders.
This enzyme protects neurons from stress and binds to so-called tau proteins through “companion function”: NMNAT2 prevents tau proteins, which are similar to plaques that accumulate in the brain due to aging, from folding incorrectly and causing cell death over time.
This effect is very interesting since incorrectly folded proteins are known to be associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Furthermore, caffeine appears to increase levels of the brain-derived growth factor (BDNF) responsible for the development of new neurons and new synaptic connections between them, which I already discussed in this article .
Coffee protects against cancer
A large number of studies indicate that coffee provides benefits in the prevention and treatment of cancer .
- One study showed that drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day reduced the risk of death from colon cancer or its recurrence by 52%.
- A meta-analysis on coffee and cancer risk published in 2016 concluded with this statement: “coffee consumption can reduce the risk of oral, pharyngeal, colon, liver, prostate, endometrial and melanoma cancer by 31% , 13%, 54%, 11%, 27% and 11% respectively according to the highest and lowest coffee consumption. In addition, drinking coffee could reduce the risk of liver, prostate and endometrial cancer by 27%, 3% and 12% with an increase in the consumption of 2 cups of coffee ”.
- Another research reported that drinking at least 5 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of some brain cancers by as much as 40%.
All about to know about Benefits of Coffee
Coffee in sport and physical activity
It seems that it is difficult to find a physical activity or a sport in which our performance does not improve having before a cup or two of coffee, be it an endurance sport such as running or cycling, a HIIT type training or an explosive activity such as sprinting. 50 m in a pool .
But remember that before drinking coffee to improve physical performance you must take into account the type of metabolizer you are.
Coffee in pregnancy
Caffeine can cross the placenta and reach the fetus, and it has been shown in numerous studies that this can have negative effects on the unborn boy or girl. Among other complications, it seems that the mother’s intake of certain amounts of caffeinated coffee during pregnancy can produce a subsequent increase in low weight in the newborn and even predisposition to the development of obesity in the child .
With this scientific evidence, it seems that the most advisable thing would be to do without coffee during pregnancy or strictly limit yourself to decaffeinated coffee.
Due to the possible harmful effects of substances added in the decaffeination process, we believe that it is best to use other drinks, such as theine-free infusions, until the pregnancy has reached its term.
What you add to coffee is what causes problems
What you add to coffee is what causes problems and that is why I recommend reducing its consumption: because if you reduce coffee, you reduce at the same time the consumption of milk, fats and sweeteners, which is how most people drink coffee.
Adding some milk can interfere with the absorption of beneficial chlorogenic acids for the organism , and the added sugar contributes to the development of insulin resistance , origin of overweight, obesity, diabetes and numerous chronic diseases.
Coffee quality matters
Coffee quality is paramount: Conventionally grown coffee is one of the most chemically contaminated foods in the world . It is one of the most fumigated and pesticide-laden crops.
In contrast, organic coffee does not contain chemicals or synthetic fertilizers, the beans taste better and are rich in natural antioxidants. Choose organic, pesticide-free or freshly ground coffee as rancidity increases exponentially once beans are ground.
And a good roast: artisan roasted coffee has been shown to contribute to the slimming effect in obese people and to reduce gastric acidity.
Choose organic, whole bean, artisan roasted coffee whenever you can … and drink it without sweeteners, alone or with healthy fats. You will have breakfast benefits for your health! 😉
Conclusion: coffee is good for health
Despite not having a consolidated image of ¨healthy drink¨, more and more scientific studies and extensive meta-analyzes seem to support coffee as a good health drink, to be taken into account not only for its short-term benefits in terms of improves cognitive , memory and mood , but also because of the long-term positive impact it seems to have on health and longevity. That yes, to the good metabolizers and always of the best quality!