Coffee and health

We all love our coffee. Well I do, and the day does not really start until I have some caffeine in my system. Forgetting for a moment that being addicted to anything is hardly optimal, is it actually bad for me?

Coffee is one of those things that in moderation is very beneficial to our health, and in excess can be quite harmful. Pretty much every health practitioner will have a different take on the health implications of drinking coffee. Here are some of the pluses and minuses of this ambrosia.

Health benefits of caffeine

  • For asthma it is good as it dilates the lung and nasal passages making it easier to breathe. Often cough medicine will have caffeine in it for this purpose. It reduces wheezing generally.
  • Headaches. The niacin in coffee reduces headaches.
  • Digestion. Coffee helps digestion by stimulating bile secretion. Too much coffee can cause heartburn or a 'nervous' stomach.
  • It is an energy booster by encouraging a greater efficiency in energy production.
  • It promotes clarity by boosting the production of serotonin which aids in the release of adrenalin, plus also makes you happy.
  • It helps in weight loss, aiding in the conversion of fat into energy.
  • Coffee is high in tannins which prevent cavities.
  • Caffeine relieves muscle fatigue and improves endurance.
  • Coffee is also good for jet lag. Westbound travellers should have three cups in the morning, while eastbound travellers should have their coffe in the evening.
  • The smell of coffee actually functions as an anti-oxidant, counteracting its acidifying quality.

Negative impacts of coffee

Most negative impacts relate to drinking five or more cups a day at which the health negatives start to outweigh the positives.

  • It can cause calcium depletion which in turn reduces bone health.
  • Coffee increases the amino acid homocysteine which has been linked to heart disease.
  • Excessive coffee can lead to high blood pressure and feelings of anxiety.
  • While one cup a day does not impact a woman's fertility, caffeine should be avoided during pregnancy, even tea.
  • It can cause a build up of oxalic acid that creates health problems.
  • It can make the body more acidic which has many ramifications.
  • It leaches essential nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium and potassium from the body.

Taken from

Related to - Food and Nutrition

By Mark O'Brien

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