If you were to do a straw poll based on whether people think coffee is good or bad for you, I can guarantee that opinion will be divided. Even some regular coffee drinkers will probably doubt that it is a healthy beverage. But what is the truth about one of the world’s most popular beverages?
For many drinking coffee is an essential part of life. It helps get people going in the morning and gives them the boost they need to get through a long working day. In fact, it is estimated that more than 2 billion cups of the stuff are consumed every day! That is a lot of java!
Let’s get the bad side of the beverage out of the way first shall we? We will avoid any talk over the use of fair trade coffee etc. and focus purely on the physical health of coffee drinkers rather than the ethical treatment of people who produce it.
Caffeine is a stimulant. Which in itself isn’t always a bad thing. But if you are not a regular coffee drinker and you have a strong coffee it can lead to heart palpitations and an annoying jittery feeling. This can be quite disconcerting.
It does increase your blood pressure and if you are somebody with high blood pressure this can make strong coffee a big “no-no”. It has also been linked with an increase in ulcers. While studies have shown this is probably erroneous it is clear that coffee can irritate existing ulcers.
Finally, it can stain your teeth although this can be combatted if you drink your coffee with a splash of whole milk as the proteins in it bind with the chemicals in coffee that leads to stains.
I can’t get no sleep
If you are an insomnia sufferer than a coffee can be your worst nightmare. Because of it’s stimulating nature it can prevent a good nights sleep.
Of course, there are some positives to the drink too, you know aside from the fact that it is delicious! First of all, let’s start with the fact that it contains a great deal of caffeine. Caffeine is used in a lot of medicines due to its many medicinal benefits. But primarily it gives you a boost. This is why a lot of people drink a cup of joe with their breakfast to give them a kickstart to the day.
Whereas coffee can be a hindrance to those with high blood pressure, the opposite is true for those with low blood pressure. Which stands to reason, right?
My head hurts
It has been shown that caffeine has pain killing properties and can help with headaches and migraines. Having said that, for regular caffeine ingesters a caffeine withdrawal can lead to headaches.
Studies have shown that coffee can help to aid the immune system. It is also a great source of anti-oxidants. You have probably heard people extolling the virtues of anti-oxidants. In case you haven’t, they destroy free radicals which lead to cancer. So while it is a bit of a stretch to say that coffee prevents cancer, as part of a balanced diet it can give you a boost in that area.
Studies have also shown it provides a quick boost to brain power due to the effects of caffeine on the central nervous system. While these effects are notable they are also short-lived.
So should I drink it?
As with anything, it is okay in moderation. Beware of fancy coffees though, popular additions such as flavoured syrups make your regular brew far less healthy and introduce the risks associated with a high sugar diet.