What Are the Health Benefits of Coffee?
So many people are surprised that I advocate for a cup of good coffee*, since the debate certainly persists about whether coffee is good for you or bad for you.
Coffee is certainly not discluded on the Eat Burn Sleep lifestyle and there is one major reason for that (and you may guess why). So I decided to write about it.
I am going to tell you what I have learned about the world’s most widely consumed drink, that often gets a negative rap.
If you are a coffee lover, you will like this post!
How Does Coffee Affect Your Health?
Coffee is equated with caffeine which is associated with so many health conditions (like reducing asthma symptoms). Some people are more sensitive to its effects, depending on their genetics and tolerances.
Caffeine is also renowned for its cognitive enhancing effects and isn’t just found in coffee. It is used in medications, like pain relievers and migraine medication.
There’s caffeine in tea and unregulated, unsafe soda drinks that are dubbed as ‘energy drinks’ (which have the equivalent of two cups of coffee and a mountain of sugar in one serving!).
There is so much more in the amazing coffee bean than caffeine.
Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, nitrogenous compounds, carbohydrates and alkaloids – among many other biologically active compounds.
The antioxidant activity depends on the chemical composition of the coffee but all ingredients have far-ranging health effects!
Not only rich in antioxidants but coffee is anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic and has anticancer effects. In particular, the effects of the polyphenol compounds in coffee, on the immune system, are associated with extended health benefits for different chronic inflammatory diseases.
Studies show that the biological active compounds play a beneficial role in the prevention and progress of chronic diseases related to inflammation, such as:
Diabetes (reduces impaired glucose tolerance, hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity), obesity (chlorogenic acid also appears to protect against metabolic syndrome through its antioxidant activity, which is linked to obesity), cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, skin conditions, cancers and neurodegeneration.
Gut microbiata composition has shown to be improved with coffee consumption and digestion is enhanced.
Coffee is also associated with gastric, biliary and pancreatic secretions which are all necessary for a healthy digestion.
It is found to stimulate the production of the digestive hormone gastrin; and hydrochloric acid – both of which break down food in the stomach.
It also stimulates cholecystokinin secretion which is a hormone that increases bile production, which is a part of the digestive process.
Consuming light-to-moderate amounts of coffee may prevent a wide range of non-communicable diseases, when compared with not drinking coffee.
There are studies that are suggesting that coffee has a positive disease modifying effect on chronic liver diseases, instigating further studies to evaluate the potential causative agent.
Vitamin B3 in coffee supports a healthy digestion, skin and nervous system. The magnesium aids the synthesis of proteins, carbohydrate and lipids. Magnesium is good for heart health, calcium homeostasis, DNA repair and the modulation of muscle activity.
The potassium, which is present in the seeds, remain the same concentration when brewed. This means that coffee is good for water balance, hormone balance, blood pressure and muscle and nerve health.
So, you can see why I advocate for a cup of coffee in the morning!
How Much Coffee is Good For You?
It is recommended that you don’t drink more than 400mg of caffeine in a day. So that means no more than 2 x 8oz freshly brewed cups a day but we are all unique. Some people may be sensitive to caffeine and a light amount could be too much.
The reason for this is that you could be genetically sensitive to caffeine. Studies show for instance, that a certain component called polymorphism that is in certain genes, could make one little sip absolutely enough for you. You would know if this was happening to you, as your body will react.
Also, see the cautionary note about caffeine and pregnancy.
How Much Coffee is Bad For You?
Studies show that there isn’t enough information to support that coffee has negative effects on the cardiovascular system. In fact, some studies have shown quite contradictory results and state that consuming caffeine daily, in moderation, actually reduces cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Judit Simon of the Heart and Vascular Centre, Budapest, discovered: “[…] compared with participants who did not drink coffee regularly, daily consumers had healthier sized and better functioning hearts. This was consistent with reversing the detrimental effects of ageing on the heart.”
Contrary to some assumptions, digestive conditions are not linked with coffee, as indicated above. In many cases, coffee has positive effects on digestive conditions. Eg. Stimulation of colon motility, for instance. There are studies also that show improved levels of gut bacteria through coffee consumption.
Should You Drink Coffee Every Day?
I love a good cup of freshly ground coffee and I am talking about pure coffee in the morning and not in the afternoon or evening, due to its stimulatory effects.
If you are a big coffee drinker, you can reduce the amount, despite long-term habits, trust me. Reprogramming your mind and habits are one of the key successful tools on this lifestyle, which is why this optimum health method is good for removing addictions and long, hard habits.
In fact, beverages that you may have a lot of, like coffee or wine, become more enjoyable. Making a conscious effort to be healthier and seeing the results quite quickly invoke enthusiasm and inspiration.
As you move through the reset, your gut microbiata is improved, inflammation is reduced and your liver is detoxed. Brain fog and anxiety lifts, and you gain energy, symptoms are reduced and as you are seeing and feeling positive results, it all kicks in. Every day, it gets better. Believe me.
However, if you don’t drink coffee already or don’t like it, you don’t need to start.
It isn’t essential that you start drinking it because if you are following an optimum health plan, this should provide you with the nutrient compounds that I have talked about.
If you fancy a cup of coffee:
The key message is that habitual coffee consumption, in the morning, in moderate doses (without all of the additives and extras), is associated with a lower risk of many chronic diseases.
So, if you are meeting a good friend for a coffee, you will be maximising the health benefits by triggering happy neurotransmitters and lowering cortisol; reducing any stress.
Have you tried my recipe: Moroccan Spiced Coffee, yet?
Try it with a slice of delicious microbiome-friendly Coconut Yogurt and Almond Cake. Increase your nutrition and your cognition!
*Unless you are pregnant. Caffeine, which is in coffee, crosses the human placenta, which rapidly reaches a similar concentration in the fetus, which can cause implications.