Here’s What Just 2 Cups Of Coffee Per Day Will Do To Your Body.
The impact of coffee on our health is controversial to say at the least: some will say it’s healthy, and others will say it’s dangerous. Whatever you have heard, coffee offers some positive health effects. It is rich in antioxidants and can reduce the risk of various diseases. On the other side, it contains caffeine, a stimulant that is known to cause problems and disrupt sleep in some people.
Coffee is rich in antioxidants and contains essential nutrients
A standard 240 ml. cup of coffee contains:
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of the RDA
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 6% of the RDA
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 2% of the RDA
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2% of the RDA
Folate: 1% of the RDA
Manganese: 3% of the RDA
Potassium: 3% of the RDA
Magnesium: 2% of the RDA
Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA
Yes, it doesn’t seem like much, but if you take into consideration that we drink 2-3, even 4 cups of coffee daily that number multiplies and rises. With several cups of coffee a day, it adds up to a considerable portion of the recommended daily allowance.
The best part of the coffee are the antioxidants. The usual western diet actually provides people with more antioxidants from coffee than fruit and vegetables.
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that enhances the brain function and boosts metabolism
Coffee is the best source of caffeine, a strong psychoactive substance. The average cup of coffee contains about 90-100 mg. of caffeine, which is a known stimulant that can boost your metabolism and improve the brain function. It does so by blocking adenosine and increasing the brain activity, releasing neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. That’s why coffee helps when we are tired and makes us more alert.
According to studies, coffee temporarily boosts the brain function and improves the mood, reaction time, vigilance and the general cognitive function. Caffeine boosts the metabolism by 3-11% and increases the exercise performance by 11-12%. However, the effects are short lived, and by drinking several cups of coffee daily, we develop a resistance to coffee’s benefits.
Coffee may protect your brain as you get old, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia and a common neurodegenerative disorder. According to studies, people who drink coffee regularly have a 65% reduced risk of this disease.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and is caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. People who regularly drink coffee have a 32-60% reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. The more coffee you drink, the more the risk of Parkinson’s decreases.
Coffee drinkers have a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is caused by elevated blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance. This is a common disease which has considerably increased numbers over the last few decades. People who drink coffee have a significantly reduced risk of diabetes, with some studies showing that they are 23-67% less likely to develop the disease. One meta-study looked at 457922 people from 18 studies, and the results showed that a daily cup of coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%.
People who drink coffee have a lower risk of liver disease
The liver is one of the main organs in the body, responsible for many crucial functions. It is sensitive to alcohol and fructose intake. If a liver disease progresses too much, the final stage is called cirrhosis, replacing most of the liver with scar tissue. However, the risk of developing liver disease can be reduced by drinking a cup of coffee every day – the more coffee you drink, the more you reduce the risk of liver diseases. Liver cancer is also a common disease and is the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. By drinking coffee, you can reduce the risk of liver cancer by a big 40%.
People who drink coffee are at a lower risk of depression and suicide
Depression is a rising problem and one of the most common mental disorders. A Harvard study from 2011 suggests that drinking coffee every day reduces the risk of becoming depressed by 20%, and a review of three studies found out that 4 or more cups of coffee daily can lead people to a 53% lower chance of committing suicide.
According to some studies, coffee extends your life
As it lowers the risk of many ailments, it makes sense that coffee can help you live longer, and there is evidence to back this up. A study from 2012 published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 402260 people between 50 and 71 years of age. The study showed that people who drank coffee regularly had a lower risk of dying over the period of the study (12-13 years). The sweet spot appeared to be 4-5 cups of coffee daily, putting men at a 12% lower risk of dying and women at 16%.
Coffee can cause anxiety and disrupt sleep
Besides the positive effects, coffee has some bad ones as well. Consuming too much of it leads to anxiety, heart palpitations and even panic attacks. Sensitivity to caffeine can make you overstimulated, so you should avoid coffee in these cases.
The worst effect of coffee is that it disrupts sleep. Make sure you don’t drink coffee after 2PM so you can sleep better. Caffeine also has diuretic and blood pressure increasing effects, but they usually go away after you become a regular. However, people have reported a 1-2mm/Hg increase in blood pressure even after starting to drink coffee regularly.
Caffeine is addictive and missing a few cups can lead to withdrawal
Caffeine has an effect similar to drugs. When you consume coffee every day, you become tolerant to it. After a while, either it stops working as it used to, or you need a larger dose for the same effects. If you abstain from caffeine, withdrawal symptoms such as headache, tiredness, brain fog and irritability can occur and last for a few days. Tolerance and withdrawal are the trademark of physical addiction. Many people don’t like the idea of being dependent on a chemical to function properly.
Difference between regular and decaffeinated coffee
Many people drink decaf coffee nowadays, which is prepared by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals. When this happens, a percentage of the caffeine dissolves into the solvent and is repeated until all the caffeine is removed. However, even decaf contains a small amount of caffeine, although less than regular coffee. As such, it doesn’t have the same health effects of the regular coffee, with studies showing that decaf cannot reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s or liver disease.
Things to keep in mind in order to maximize coffee’s health benefits
There are some things that can maximize the health benefits of coffee. The first thing (make it a rule), is to not add anything unhealthy into your cup of coffee – this means that sugar and artificial creamers are forbidden. Always brew coffee with a paper filter, as unfiltered coffee (Turkish coffee or French press) contains cafestol, a substance that can increase the cholesterol levels. Keep in mind that Starbucks and other coffee brands have a lot of calories and sugar in their coffee, so these drinks are not healthy.
Should you be drinking coffee?
There are people which should avoid or cut down on their coffee, like pregnant women. If you suffer from insomnia, anxiety or high blood pressure, limit your coffee intake to see if it can help. People who metabolize coffee slowly are at an increased risk of heart attack.
However, the average person should not have any negative side-effects from drinking coffee. If you enjoy coffee, the benefits outweigh the negatives. I personally drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day and I am in perfect health.
When taking the aforementioned studies in consideration, remember that they are observational studies, which can’t prove that coffee is the main reason for the positive effects. However, as the effects were strong and consistent enough through the studies, there is a fair chance that coffee may have played a role. For the majority of people, coffee is a healthy and energizing beverage, and is often put into the same corner as green tea.