Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee – Health Benefits and Risks of Consuming Coffee

Coffee Cup and BeansWhen I was younger, I used to drink a lot of coffee, I mean a lot. Not a lot of cups, the weak drip you would get in the coffee shops, I could never drink that stuff. Even at work, the drip machine was operated by folks who needed tea, and not coffee, so I had to make my own. When I passed by with my Turkish coffee style concoction, all heads turned around looking at the black thing in my mug. And that happened a few times a day.

Back to present days, I can’t drink too much coffee anymore, and certainly, I avoid it in the afternoon. My body told me I was drinking way too much of the stuff, and I started to think if I shouldn’t stop drinking it all together. I haven’t stopped getting my daily cup of joe, instead, I made a bit of research and found a few interesting things.

Health Facts about Coffee

Is coffee good or bad for your health? Over 50% of the American adults drink coffee on a daily basis. Mildly addictive and found under many forms such as latte, cappuccino, or espresso, it’s the drug of choice of many people.

The average consumption per day of coffee per person is estimated at 3.4 cups. With such high consumption of coffee in North America, it makes us wonder: Is coffee healthy? Is it beneficial to our health or are we slowly digging our grave?

This article will take you through the pros and cons of drinking coffee, and the direct connection between coffee and your health. I am warning you, you might not get a definite answer, as in “Yes you should drink coffee.”, or “No, don’t drink it, coffee is bad for you.” That is because everyone is different.

Cons of Drinking Coffee – Ten Reasons Why is Coffee Bad for Your Health

  1. Espresso coffee cupHeart Attack: Coffee contains a compound named terpenoid that is well known to harden your arteries. This causes the blood vessels to either expand/swell or narrow or block off completely. Both effects are negative and can cause a heart attack.
  2. High blood pressure: Although it is clear that coffee causes high blood pressure, scientist and doctors aren’t certain how it does it. A circulated idea is that caffeine blocks a hormone that prevents your arteries from narrowing. Another theory suggests that caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline which would increase your blood pressure. Caffeine has a short-term effect on blood pressure and it has a stronger effect on people over 70 or who are overweight.
  3. High cholesterol: Another negative aspect that coffee does is that it raises your cholesterol level. This is caused by essential oils called terpenes, and not from caffeine, unlike popular belief. These oils can be easily removed from coffee with filters.
  4. Heartburn: We all know that to digest food, our stomach produces acid. When drinking coffee, it has to produce even more acid that normally causing stomach problems and heartburn.
  5. Osteoporosis: Caffeine from coffee decreases calcium absorption in your body by discharging it through urine. This causes the bones to be thin and fragile causing osteoporosis. This disease affects 33.33% of women above 50 years old.
  6. Dehydration: Water is essential to our body. It counts as half of our body weight and is vital to our survival. Coffee is diuretic and when drinking a lot of coffee, (5/7 cups per day), your body urinates more afterward. If you don’t consume enough water with your coffee you can suffer dehydration.
  7. Bad breath: We all know the reputation of coffee concerning a person’s breath. So chances are that if you do drink coffee, you have it too.
  8. Stained teeth: Ever wonder why your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be or why they are getting yellow? It’s most certainly because you drink coffee.
  9. Lack of Sleep: Caffeine stimulates your body making you more aware, energetic and attentive. While this can be a pro, it can also be a con, especially when trying to sleep. As a result, there should be no surprise when you cannot fall asleep after a coffee drunk after 13:00.
  10. Addiction: This should come as no surprise especially since coffee has been classified as a drug. Although it’s not highly addictive and very dangerous, it does create dependence due to the contained caffeine that stimulates the central nervous system.

Pros of drinking coffee – Nine Reasons Why is Coffee Good for Health

Old man Drinking coffee in Harar
Photo credit Gustavo Jeronimo from Aranjuez
  1. Prevents Aging
    Although this is still controversial, researchers say that coffee prevents aging. That is due to the antioxidants contained in coffee that prevent oxidation, a process that destroys cells and stimulates aging. Caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid are only two of the phenolic compounds in coffee, and the scientists have discovered a great absorption rate of the two phenols. Here is an abstract from the Journal of Nutrition.
  2. Prevents Dementia
    disease is the most common form of dementia. It has been proven that drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day decreases the chances of developing that disease by 65%. This is again attributed to the antioxidants in coffee that prevent tissue damage.
  3. Prevents Parkinson’s disease
    This disease is also prevented by the antioxidants in coffee.
  4. Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
    Magnesium and Chromium, two minerals, found in coffee are essential to the prevention of diabetes. Using the insulin in our bodies, they regulate our blood sugar. Chlorogenic acid and antioxidants are also attributed to the prevention of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Here is a study that validates the suggestion that coffee reduces type 2 diabetes.
  5. Stimulating
    As we all know, coffee also improves mental performance. It is one of the great effects of coffee. It helps us wake up, be alert, and more attentive. For this same reason, coffee is great when staying up late to study for an exam or finish an urgent job. Caffeine is the substance that gives us this rush of energy and that stimulates our brain.
  6. Social
    Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Coffee Time, Second Cup… All these coffeehouse chains, where you and your friends spend your afternoon talking are the perfect place to socialize.
  7. Prevents colon cancer
    The chlorogenic acid and other phytochemicals in coffee might be an effective preventative help for colon cancer.  Here is more about this.
  8. Prevents diseases
    Coffee can prevent a whole lot more diseases than the ones listed above. It has been also attributed to the prevention of liver cirrhosis, kidney stones, Gallstones, and Asthma.
  9. Improves Memory and Cognition
    There is some evidence that coffee can improve cognitive functions, and prevent cognitive decline.

Is Coffee Bad for Your Health?

Moderation Is the Key

Coffee can be very beneficial to your health as well as very hazardous. Depending on the quantity consumed every day, you can prevent a lot of diseases as well as develop new ones.

Coffee can affect all of our body’s systems from the nervous system to excretory and endocrine systems. Maintaining a great balance and drinking in a moderate way can be very beneficial for your health.

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