Is coffee good or bad for you? 7 benefits and 3 harms
If there is one product that is controversial in France, it is coffee. Is it good or bad for your health?
It is a question that worries many people: one day, coffee has all the benefits and the next day, we should avoid it like the plague. But after reading this article, you’ll know exactly what the answer to this question is.
In order to put an end to this controversy once and for all, I’m going to explain to you what nutrients coffee contains and whether it is good for your health or not. You will be surprised by the amount of aberrations that can be found on the internet.
You will also find out:
What are the benefits of coffee
What mistakes most websites make
For which group of people coffee is not so good for the health
An amazing and delicious coffee recipe
1- What is coffee made of?
Coffee comes in all kinds.
We know in particular the soluble coffee and the filter coffee. But you can also drink coffee with milk and sugar.
Soluble coffee is coffee in powder form, to which you only need to add hot water or hot milk. It is a fast and convenient product: no need to “make” coffee.
But all kinds of coffee are made from the coffee bean. The coffee tree grows mainly in tropical regions, especially in South America, Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
As you probably know, coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It is usually drunk hot and often with added milk and sugar.
2- The making of coffee
To make coffee, mature coffee cherries are harvested and hulled. Once dried, the coffee beans are roasted, a process that is called roasting.
To determine if the coffee cherries are ripe, they are soaked in a basin of water. Unripe cherries float while ripe cherries sink. The ripe coffee beans are then dried in the sun. After drying, they are roasted in a special oven until they develop their aroma. The coffee beans are then packaged or ground and ready for use.
3- Nutritional values of coffee
The nutritional values of coffee are quite interesting.
As you know, coffee is a product of vegetable origin. Coffee does not contain any calories, but it is rich in nutrients that are good for your health. Yes, I know this sounds strange.
Filter coffee is 98.8% water. And as you know, water has no calories. Coffee does not contain protein, carbohydrates, sugars or fats. Coffee does have 0.1 g of fiber per 100 g, but this is a negligible amount.
The oil in coffee beans contains compounds called cafestol and kahweol. In the case of filter coffee, these oils are retained by the coffee filter. But in the case of soluble coffee, these substances are present and the nutritional values may vary slightly.
When we only look at the nutritional values of coffee, we can conclude that it is a very healthy drink.
4- Benefits of coffee
This brings us to the most important part of this article. Does coffee have any benefits, and if so, what are they? Above, we have seen that coffee does not contain calories, which is an advantage in itself. However, it is legitimate to ask how coffee can be good for your health when you know that it does not contain calories.
I will explain this in detail:
* Benefit #1: Coffee contains caffeine
This is probably the main benefit of coffee for most people. It is also the main reason why most people start drinking coffee.
You know the story…
… You are a student and you forgot that you have an important exam tomorrow. You decide to pull an all-nighter, otherwise you can forget about the exam.
No other solution: you have to stay awake and focused all night. And that’s where caffeine comes in.
Caffeine improves concentration and keeps you awake.
You drink a cup of coffee. After about half an hour, the caffeine starts to take effect.
Caffeine owes its stimulating effect to its similarity to adenosine, a substance present in the body. Adenosine induces sleep and slows down nervous activity.
When you go to sleep, adenosine binds to receptors, making you sleepy. When you drink coffee, however, it is the caffeine that binds to these receptors. Adenosine can no longer bind to them and can no longer do its job.
Caffeine has no inhibitory effect on nerve activity, which means that it prevents drowsiness.
Since these receptors are present throughout the body, it is not only the brain that is stimulated, but also :
The respiratory system
Blood vessels dilate and fat burning increases. Caffeine therefore promotes weight loss. But I will come back to this point later.
Because caffeine blocks adenosine, it also affects serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These can then act, which causes a feeling of well-being in the coffee drinker. It also has a positive effect on cognitive functions.
Caffeine therefore acts on concentration from two different angles.
* Benefit 2: Coffee contains antioxidants
Yes, coffee also contains antioxidants.
In fact, all plant substances on earth contain antioxidants. This is the main reason why plant-based products are so healthy.
A lot of people get scared when they read that word because they don’t really understand what it is. So I’ll keep it simple.
Antioxidants are compounds that are slightly toxic to the body. When you ingest them, your body does everything it can to fight them. This makes the body more efficient at fighting free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals in our bodies are by-products of physical processes. It is a natural process and there is not much we can do about it. Free radicals react with healthy cells in the body, causing damage.
So ideally, free radicals should be avoided as much as possible. That’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals, so they can’t harm healthy cells.
In addition to eliminating these free radicals, antioxidants also allow the body to eliminate pathogens more effectively. This is because antioxidants activate our defense mechanisms.
Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, a compound in the polyphenol family. It is an antioxidant that protects the body by activating the immune system.
These antioxidants provide many benefits and reduce the risk of many diseases.
* Benefit #3: It protects against age-related diseases
When I say that coffee reduces the risk of many diseases, you are obviously wondering what diseases I am referring to.
It is mainly age-related diseases.
What are age-related diseases?
It’s all in the name: we are more likely to develop certain diseases as we age. These diseases are a consequence of aging. This is mainly due to the accumulation of proteins in the body.
As we age, the body becomes less efficient at eliminating certain proteins. This leads to the accumulation and clumping of proteins. When these proteins hang around healthy cells, they suffocate them and cause them to die. This is called amyloidosis.
This happens more as we age. However, due to poor lifestyle habits, these diseases are occurring earlier today.
Research has shown that the antioxidants in coffee have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes
Coffee contains substances that activate the Nrf2 protein present in our cells. This protein is a kind of switch that controls the activation of all sorts of other proteins that eliminate free radicals. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes are diseases in which an excess of free radicals plays an important role.
Benefit #4: It helps reduce muscle pain
If only for the above benefit, I recommend drinking coffee. Still not convinced? Maybe you will be when you learn about the next benefit.
Are you an avid athlete who suffers from frequent muscle pain? In that case, coffee could be good for you.
Caffeine consumption seems to be beneficial in alleviating delayed onset muscle pain. It does not occur until 24 to 48 hours after training and is caused by microfractures in the connective tissue of the muscle.
In one study, a group of men were given 5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. They then performed an intense weight training session that could cause muscle soreness. The men in the other group did not take caffeine before the workout.
This study found that the group that took caffeine before training was less affected by DOMS muscle soreness than the control group.
Also, taking caffeine before working out can’t hurt because caffeine makes you more active.
After all, caffeine blocks adenosine receptors. So caffeine increases the heart rate and the lungs are more active. These two phenomena have a positive effect on sports performance.
* Benefit #5: It reduces the risk of depression
Depression is a serious mental illness that significantly reduces quality of life.
Unfortunately, more and more people are suffering from it.
Most people who experience this disorder go to their general practitioner. The doctor then prescribes a pill that is supposed to eliminate the disorder. Of course, there are many people who benefit from this. However, antidepressants only treat the symptoms. They increase serotonin levels, but they do not always address the cause of the problem.
Also, some foods reduce the risk of depression. And you may have guessed it, coffee is one of those foods.
Coffee has been shown to do wonders. A study conducted at Harvard University showed that women who drank more than 4 cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to suffer from depression.
Another large study showed that people who drank more than 4 cups of coffee a day were 53% less likely to commit suicide due to depression.
Why is this? The caffeine in coffee affects the serotonin and dopamine systems in the brain, thus improving the coffee drinker’s well-being. Caffeine increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. And as you probably know, depressed people lack serotonin and dopamine.
* Benefit #6: Coffee helps you lose weight
The impact of coffee on weight loss is twofold:
The first is perhaps the simplest. After all, coffee has no calories. When you’re trying to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body expends.
A 250 ml cup of BLACK coffee contains 1 kilocalorie. In short, it has no calories. I wrote black in capital letters because of course milk and sugar do contain calories. That’s why I recommend that you drink black coffee if you are trying to lose weight.
If you think that milk and sugar are low in calories, think again. Especially since we often don’t stick to one cup of coffee a day. Without even realizing it, the calories add up quickly. But with black coffee, this is not a problem.
Benefit #7: Coffee increases good cholesterol
If you thought that was all, you’re wrong.
The risk of cardiovascular disease is strongly determined by the blood level of cholesterol. However, this reasoning is subject to widespread misconceptions. Here are 3 preconceived ideas that I would like to dispel:
Misconception #1: Too much cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is incorrect. Total cholesterol is not an indicator of health. Cholesterol is not as unhealthy as once thought.
Misconception #2: Most cholesterol comes from the diet. This is incorrect. In fact, most cholesterol is made by the body itself. This is precisely why saturated fats cannot be bad for your health, as we have seen before.
Misconception #3: The main indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease is high LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). This is not correct either. The main risk indicator for cardiovascular disease is low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) (4 times better indicator). It is only after the age of 50 that a high LDL cholesterol level seems to be an indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease.
5- What is the link with coffee?
But the reason I’m telling you this is because research shows that coffee increases HDL cholesterol levels. This is good news because, as I just told you, this is the main indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease.
This is because of the good antioxidants in coffee. This study showed that drinking 8 cups of coffee a day increased good cholesterol by 7%. What also came out of this study is that drinking 8 cups of coffee reduces the amount of inflammation proteins by up to 16%.
6- How much coffee to drink?
Now that you are convinced of the benefits of coffee, you need to know how much coffee is good for your health. In many studies, a considerable amount of coffee is used.
However, coffee can also have adverse effects, especially when you drink too much of it. It should be noted that these effects vary significantly from person to person. In addition, addiction plays a major role.
People who are not used to caffeine may experience side effects even with a moderate amount of caffeine.
** What are the side effects of excessive coffee consumption?
Anxiety and nervousness. Caffeine blocks adenosine. This substance tranquilizes and tires the brain. At the same time, it causes the release of adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone, which results in more energy. So you can see why too much caffeine makes you nervous and anxious.
Insomnia. Caffeine is popular because it keeps you awake. In short, it’s perfect when you have to pull an all-nighter. But too much caffeine can also prevent you from sleeping and deteriorate the quality of your sleep. I’ll come back to this point later.
Intestinal problems. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, this problem will probably ring a bell. Coffee seems to have a laxative effect. Large amounts of coffee can cause diarrhea.
These are the main side effects of excessive caffeine consumption. If you hardly ever drink caffeinated beverages, limit your intake to 3 cups of coffee per day. Of course, if all goes well, you can increase the dose.
If you are used to coffee, I recommend that you stick to 5 cups of coffee a day. If you don’t have any side effects, you can always drink more.
However, it is important to know that black coffee is the best for your health. Skip the milk and sugar. If you only like coffee with milk and sugar, try to drink as little as possible.
7- What are the harms of drinking coffee?
As we have seen, coffee has many benefits. But like any product, coffee also has a number of harms. Fortunately, these are few in number. So you don’t have to worry about flushing your coffee down the toilet.
Harm #1: It increases blood pressure
This is a harm that, fortunately, many people are aware of. However, it should be noted that this effect is not as significant as once thought.
Are you in perfect health? Then coffee will have virtually no effect on your blood pressure. You can continue to drink it without worrying.
In people who don’t drink much caffeine, caffeine can cause a slight increase in blood pressure. This is especially true when you drink two cups of coffee at once. However, it quickly returns to normal values.
On the other hand, coffee can increase the blood pressure of people with high blood pressure for some time. These people are advised not to drink coffee at all.
Harm #2: It interferes with sleep
Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. In fact, poor sleep leads to the following consequences:
As you know, caffeine keeps you awake. It is ideal in the morning if you need to concentrate for the rest of the day, but it is not recommended at night.
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and prevents you from relaxing. It inhibits the action of adenosine. And if you drink a cup of coffee right after dinner, chances are you’ll still feel the effect at night.
For example, research has shown that drinking coffee up to 6 hours before going to sleep significantly reduces sleep quality. In addition to drinking caffeine in the evening, too much caffeine can also cause insomnia.
Harm #3: It attacks the teeth
This is not a health hazard, of course. But it is a real nuisance.
Coffee is not bad for your teeth. It does not cause tooth erosion like soft drinks. Unless you drink coffee with added sugar, which can affect your teeth.
On the other hand, drinking coffee stains tartar and plaque. Teeth then become yellowish in color. However, the belief that coffee stains the teeth themselves is a misconception.
To avoid tooth discoloration, it is necessary to get rid of tartar or to prevent it from appearing. This can be done by brushing your teeth thoroughly, flossing and making regular check-ups with your dentist.
Tooth whitening is not necessary to remove the yellowish layer left by coffee. A good cleaning and scaling of your teeth at the dentist should be enough to get rid of it.
8- How to make bulletproof coffee?
Prepare a cup of black coffee. Add 10 g of butter and 10 g of coconut oil. You can also add a pinch of cinnamon for flavor.
Put everything in a blender and blend. You will get a delicious creamy coffee with a layer of foam on top.
This drink will give you a more lasting satiety than a simple black coffee. It is the ideal drink for those who practice intermittent fasting because it provides lasting satiety without increasing insulin levels.
One note, however: this coffee now contains fat and is therefore much higher in calories than black coffee. You have to take these calories into account because they provide a lot of energy. A bulletproof coffee as the name suggests already reaches 160 kilocalories.