A question that almost every coffee drinker asks themselves at some point. Is coffee bad for your health? There are a multitude of studies with opinions both for and against supported by many nutritionists. What is certain is that to understand whether this drink is healthy or not for the body, we can start by understanding what coffee is and exactly what substances it contains.
What is coffee?
We all know it’s that delicious drink we consume either in the morning to get an energy boost or as an excuse for a well-deserved break. But what is it exactly?
Coffee as we know it actually comes from a fruit, more specifically coffee beans are the seeds of a fruit. Those green beans that are about to be roasted can actually be planted to produce a coffee tree.
The coffee tree is a tree that belongs to the angiospermous, dicotyledonous, and apopetalous Rubiaceae family. It can reach a height of over 15 meters, but in cultures designed for coffee production, it only reaches 2-3 meters due to frequent pruning that facilitates fruit production.
This tree takes about 3-5 years from planting to produce fruit, but it depends on each variety individually. Being a complex tree, it is found and grown in over 100 varieties.
What does coffee contain?
Even to this day, researchers have not been able to identify all the components of a coffee bean. Its composition is extremely complex and heavily depends on the soil it is grown in, the variety of the tree, and the processing.
One coffee bean contains more than 1000 different substances, the most prominent being caffeine, and depending on the variety, some contain more or less. For example, Robusta contains three times more caffeine than Arabica.
The most important substances in a coffee bean are: carbohydrates, fats, water, proteins, acids, alkaloids (caffeine), antioxidants, minerals, and flavors. The quantities of these vary depending on each variety and it is not possible to establish a universal measure.
Health benefits of coffee
When it comes to health, coffee has undergone various interpretations in medicine over time. While some studies show that a properly brewed coffee, without milk or sweeteners, can be beneficial for the body, other studies focus more on the influence of caffeine on the body.
From the beneficial side, coffee can help in many ways. Here are a few of them:
Coffee increases noradrenaline levels.
One of the obvious benefits is that a cup of coffee raises the level of noradrenaline, which is an important hormone in the functioning of the body. In small quantities, noradrenaline helps to maintain focus, but can also help to prevent depression or to burn body fat.
Helps maintain an optimal level of glucose in the body.
There are various studies that show that a cup of coffee helps the body to process glucose (sugar) better, thus preventing type 2 diabetes.
Regulates blood pressure.
As a result of more detailed studies, it has been demonstrated that it helps to regulate blood pressure by producing hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline), which is positive for people who suffer from hypotension or depression, thus helping the heart to function optimally.
Helps prevent Parkinson’s.
Caffeine is a substance that targets the central nervous system, thus stimulating the entire body. This has been shown to work on patients with Parkinson’s, helping to alleviate some of their symptoms.
Helps regenerate cells.
Certain studies have shown that a cup of coffee is an excellent source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant with a very important role in the body, protecting cells from the effects of free radicals on the body.
However, besides the numerous studies that highlight the benefits of coffee for health, there are also some contraindications to be aware of.
- Caffeine has a diuretic effect and can force the body to produce urine too quickly. This effect can lead to dehydration.
- Children cannot process caffeine in a short period of time and can have adverse effects on them.
- Caffeine is a strong stimulant, consumed in large quantities (more than 6 cups a day) can cause agitation, anxiety and headaches.
- Some studies have shown that in the case of pregnant women, caffeine can also stimulate the nervous system of the child, which is contraindicated.
Coffee can certainly be beneficial to the body under certain conditions. It can stimulate certain organs in the body, such as the brain or liver, to work better.
It can help maintain tone, burn fat in the body, but in too large quantities it can have unwanted effects. The secret of the benefits is moderate consumption.
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Life is too short to drink bad coffee