Are you fond of coffee?Have you been advised to limit its intake?Coffee has been a part of the human diet for more than 1000 years now, during which it has stimulated quite a controversy. While some swear by its positive effects on the human body, others would advise you to give this drink a miss completely.In this day and age of numerous coffee chains opening up in India, coffee is not just a brew one makes at home, it is fast becoming a lifestyle for some people. Hence, the dispute of coffee being good or bad for health has blossomed from a tempest in a coffee pot to grounds for serious debate. Most of the negative press for coffee comes from the common belief that anything that tastes good must be bad for the health, but there is a serious side to that debate.
Wake Up To The Research
Coffee is steadily growing as the most favourite beverage in India, what with coffee chains turning this into a much-appreciated lifestyle. Going to a cafe and enjoying catch-ups with friends and family, having business meetings at the coffee shops that offer various caffeinated beverages and an assortment of snacks is something that has become a fad.
What we need to determine is that, is it good for the health too?
Moderate coffee consumption is safe for the health and does not appear to increase the risk of death from cancer
and CVD. In fact, it has been recorded that coffee intake may actually be good for the health as it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
. Regular coffee drinkers often show signs of enhanced glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity which are often hypothesised as mechanisms of diabetes prevention
. Some research also indicates that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis and Parkinson’s disease.Is it good or is it bad for health, let’s use research to de-mystify the properties of coffee for health.The following points, based on the latest research on this matter, may help you filter out fact from fiction –
Doctors usually advise people to avoid coffee before having their blood pressure
checked.This is due to the notion that caffeine can raise the pressure which results in an inaccurate measurement.Coffee has also been noted to increase the adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol, both of which are stress hormones present in the body. This makes the blood pressure
rise as well. The circulatory effects of coffee are however quite complex which makes the medical research on this matter a bit murky.While some studies are showing a link between hypertension and coffee drinking, others suggest that coffee intake can reduce the blood pressure. The fact that remains clear from these studies is that regular coffee drinkers are so habitual to the effects of caffeine and its other substances on the body that they may not even realise its effect on their blood pressure.
Many studies have suggested that coffee has anti-cancer properties
.A recent Japanese research concluded that coffee drinkers were half as likely to get liver cancer as non-drinkers. Coffee has been recorded to protect people against many other forms of liver diseases as well. Coffee has also been known to reduce the risk of colon cancer.However, one cannot assume this generalization. One study has shown that while coffee may reduce the risk of breast cancer in women, it seems to increase it in heavier women.
Although habitual coffee drinkers are likely to experience rapid pulse, it is not associated with any major heart disorders. Coffee contains antioxidant
properties which offer heart protection.A Scottish Heart Health Study reported a reduced risk of heart disease in regular coffee drinkers. While coffee may have its minor benefits for the heart, it also has a few negative reviews as well.Coffee intake also increases homocysteine levels in the body which have an adverse effect on the aorta. So, since this vote is split in two, while coffee may have its positive effects on the heart it also has some negative reviews in this matter, thus any harm or benefit to the heart is pretty minor and should be taken with a pinch of salt.Studies have concluded that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from diabetes as the chlorogenic acid found in coffee lowers the blood sugar levels in the body. Regular intake of coffee also increases the metabolic rate of the body keeping diabetes at bay.
A recent Harvard study suggested that regular coffee drinkers enjoy a reduced risk of kidney stones
. Reports also suggest that coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from symptomatic gallstone disease as coffee alters the cholesterol content of the bile produced by the liver.Coffee has been noted to protect men from potential Parkinson’s risk but not women. If caffeine is the reason then the sex differentiation could be based on the fact that the caffeine present in the coffee needs the same enzyme as oestrogen to metabolize. Supporting this hypothesis, women who have never used postmenopausal hormones are at a lesser risk of getting Parkinson’s if they drink coffee.
Coffee has been noted to protect men from potential Parkinson’s risk but not women. If caffeine is the reason then the sex differentiation could be based on the fact that caffeine
present in the coffee needs the same enzyme as estrogen to metabolize. Supporting this hypothesis, women who have never used postmenopausal hormones are at a lesser risk of getting Parkinson’s if they drink coffee.
Grounds For Concern
While coffee has its proven health benefits, it has not been exonerated completely. Studies dating back to 20 years ago suggest that some pregnant women
should avoid coffee intake due to the prospective risk to the health of the foetus and miscarriages. Whether these fears are unwarranted are still blurry, but why take a chance?In addition to this study, while some people benefit from the increased alertness for others coffee is a trigger for insomnia, tremors and anxiety. If habitual coffee drinkers suddenly stop drinking coffee, it may result in headaches or even depression. A sudden withdrawal can lead to migraine as well.So what’s the bottom line? It all boils down to this: Does the brew bother you? Then cut down your consumption. On the other hand, if you enjoy the moderate coffee consumption of a cuppa (or two or even four), go ahead and drink to your heart’s content.