For most of us, coffee is just a beverage we drink in the morning to jolt us awake and give us the necessary boost of energy we need to last a busy day. Unknown to us, whenever we drink coffee we actually do more for our body than just keep ourselves on our feet.
A lot of studies have been devoted recently towards understanding the effects that coffee has on the human body, and most of these studies have only kept discovering that coffee is not as bad as it was thought to be, but actually provides many health benefits.
The Role of Antioxidants
Research studies have found out that coffee is rich in antioxidants, and it is the top source of antioxidants in a typical American diet. Antioxidants are compounds found mainly in plants that can help repair and prevent further cell damage caused by free radicals in the human body. Coffee extracted from green beans of the Arabica plant are said to have highest concentrations of antioxidants.
Antioxidants found in coffee are polyphenols; these are the same types of antioxidants found in berries, honey and vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.
One of the important antioxidants in coffee is methylpyridinium which has possible anti-carcinogenic benefits. This is one of the reasons why coffee has been found to reduce the risks of various types of cancer, particularly liver cancer. Methylpyridinium is developed in coffee during the roasting process as an offshoot of the chemical reaction of trigonelline.
Aside from reducing the risk of cancer, antioxidants found in coffee also have the potential of reducing the risks of other chronic illnesses like Type II diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases and more!
Coffee Loves Your Heart
Despite many years of flak that coffee has received pertaining to its effects on the cardiovascular system, it has recently been negated by new studies that show that coffee does not actually cause a significant increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Although it is true that coffee does indeed raise blood pressure levels, this only occurs for a very brief period after the coffee is consumed and the longer term effect is that it helps to lower it. A study in Japan showed that coffee consumption had an inverse relation with blood pressure among men.
Moreover, antioxidants in coffee ease the effects of ageing on blood vessels and lower the risks of cardiovascular illnesses related to ageing, thereby also increasing longevity. Polyphenols, in particular, are known to have the effect of lowering activated blood platelet levels preventing blood clots that could lead to stroke.
Meanwhile, research has also shown that coffee does not lead to increased cholesterol levels when filtered during the brewing process. Using paper filter to brew coffee, instead of the popular filter-free methods of espresso, French press and Scandinavian boiling, rids it of cafestol which is a compound known to increase LDL or bad cholesterol.
Purging Your Liver
The benefits of coffee are greatly seen in its effect on the liver. Primary results of studies have shown that coffee has the ability to protect the liver from developing cirrhosis, particularly caused by overconsumption of alcohol. The findings showed that people who consume up to four cups of coffee regularly were at lower risk for contracting liver cirrhosis.
It has been pointed out that the presence of a compound called paraxanthine slows down the growth of tissues that lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis. Other elements in coffee that can protect the liver from diseases such as Hepatitis include chlorogenic and caffeic acids which have anti-viral properties that prevent Hepatitis B virus from progressing in the body.
Coffee for Weight Loss
One of the latest breakthrough news regarding coffee is that it can aid in losing weight, specifically when consumed black. There are different explanations to how coffee does this. First of all, coffee is an appetite suppressant so drinking it will make one eat less, thereby leading to weight loss. A second rationale is that coffee is a diuretic so the constant flushing out of water from the body can cause a decline in weight. Thirdly, coffee increases metabolism causing the body to burn more fat.
Another explanation is that coffee, which contains chlorogenic acid, has the characteristic of slowing down the production of glucose within the body so that the body is able to process them more thoroughly and prevent the development of new fat cells. This is most evident and effective when coffee is consumed after a meal, since it also encourages the body to generate more gastric juices for improved digestion.
Of course, it is important to note that for coffee to be truly effective in helping lose weight it has to be taken without all the added components of cream and sugar as these can just cancel out the benefits to be gained from drinking coffee. This is why only black coffee is seen as a valuable means to achieving weight loss, and evidently it has to be done along with a good diet and regular exercise.
Bye Bye Blues with Coffee
There have been many conflicting observations with regard to coffee and depression. Some experts say that although coffee can boost a person’s energy, it is only for a brief period and the longer term effect of coffee can lead towards depression.
However, a very recent study showed that coffee has the capacity to ward off depression among women. The study, which involved female nurses and covered a period of ten years, discovered that the more coffee a woman consumed the less risk there was of experiencing depression. This study was specifically directed at women because more women have been diagnosed with depression compared to men.
The Forget Me Not Drink
Another important discovery about coffee is that it can push back the onset of dementia as a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. This is attributed to a component in coffee that is yet to be identified and further studied. The study showed that caffeinated coffee induces the body to produce higher blood levels of a certain growth factor which is linked to better memory.
A separate study also showed that drinking coffee three to five cups of coffee during middle age can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease during old age. This is also probably linked to the fact that coffee boosts cognitive function which is strongly related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Live Longer with Coffee
Even though coffee has several side effects, the benefits that can be reaped from drinking coffee regularly are enough to outweigh all these negativities. Because of coffee’s huge capacity to reduce the risks of numerous diseases, it is but natural that coffee can also lead to longer life spans and a better quality of life as well. A 13-year study of over 400,000 individuals discovered that men who drank two or more cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to be dead within that period, while women who drank up to six cups of coffee were 15 percent less likely to have died.
Before Diving Into Coffee
These are just some of the advantages that can be gained from having coffee in your regular diet. More studies are presenting greater evidence that coffee can indeed be a healthful beverage for as long as this is consumed moderately, that is to say, no greater than 4 cups in a day. Coffee, as we all know, does have some negative side effects like sleeping disorders, heart palpitations and increased anxiety.
Another major side effect to drinking coffee is increase in acidity. But thankfully, there is a solution – low-acid coffee. With the advent of low-acid coffee like Hevla, it is now possible for people with acidity problems, such as heartburn and acid reflux, to indulge in their favorite morning and afternoon beverage without the worries of experiencing discomfort. Low-acid coffee is probably the best news to come to people who suffer from acidity problems, particularly those with GERD, because now they know they don’t have to give up their coffee! Cheers to a healthy you!