One coffee in the morning, one at lunch and one at each work or social meeting. Coffee seems to be the best source of energy, it saves us when we have not managed to sleep enough, and for many of us it is also a habit.
We do not necessarily feel the need for it, but we are accustomed to having it in the morning, when we smoke or when we visit our best friend.
Dark coffee, without sugar or milk, is healthy. Particularly rich in antioxidants, it can help us be healthier. And the link with the increase in energy is not a myth – coffee really helps us to be more alert, more energetic, to pay closer attention.
Coffee reduces the risk of diabetes, dementia, heart attacks, strokes and liver cancer and can help us lose weight.
But to what extent? When should we stop and what is the limit?
Because of the caffeine content, excess coffee may also have side effects: dizziness, hot flashes, insomnia, and anxiety.
Not to mention the side effects that occur when you suffer from certain conditions for which caffeine is not recommended: hypertension, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, gastric reflux etc.
Specialists say we should limit ourselves to 400 mg of caffeine per day. If we prepare the coffee with an average concentration, this means up to 5-6 cups a day, or if you drink coffee in larger mugs, up to 2-3 mugs. The rule applies only to a healthy adult.
And if you drink concentrated coffee, such as espresso, limit to 3 cups (or one mug and a half) a day.
Beneficial ingredients in coffee
Caffeine is not the key ingredient that turns coffee into a healthy drink. Researchers have found that there are hundreds of natural substances in coffee beans, with positive effects on the health of the cardiac and cerebral system.
Many of the natural coffee compounds are effective antioxidants in protecting cells against the destructive action of free radicals.
A Japanese study found that people who drink at least a cup of simple coffee a day reduce their risk of developing brain haemorrhages or strokes by up to 20%. Coffee remains a healthy drink if it is decaffeinated. In fact, scientists say too much caffeine can lead to dehydration and increased anxiety, which is why stronger coffee can bring more of a disservice to the body than a benefit.
Coffee drinkers receive daily an important amount of antioxidants, chrome and magnesium, which help regulate blood glucose levels, helping the body to properly inject insulin secretion. The main ingredients in coffee are:
– Citric acid
– Chlorogenic acid
Benefits of coffee:
1. Coffee helps fight depression
A study by the National Institutes of Health in the USA found that people who drink on average four cups of coffee a day are 10% less prone to depression than those who never drink coffee.
Since the effect in question could not be observed following the consumption of other caffeinated beverages (fizzy drinks, for instance), the positive mood is not generated by caffeine, but by the antioxidants in coffee beans.
2. Coffee reduces the predisposition toward suicide
A large-scale study by the Harvard School of Public Health has highlighted an impressive statistic that consumption of 2-4 cups of coffee per day reduces the predisposition to suicide for men and women by up to 50%.
On the other hand, a Finnish study highlights the effects of excess coffee on mental health. The results of the research show that people who drink between 8 and 9 cups of coffee a day have a higher susceptibility to committing suicide, compared to the moderate drinkers.
3. Coffee helps regulate liver activity
Several specialized studies suggest that daily coffee consumption can help the liver to regulate its functions. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US have found that daily coffee intake can reduce the risk of developing primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes liver cirrhosis, liver failure and even liver cancer.
Another research of 125,000 participants shows that alcoholics who drink a cup of coffee a day reduce their chances of developing alcoholic cirrhosis by 20%.
4. Coffee is a powerful stimulant of the brain
Coffee increases cerebral and physical performance substantially, being used by many athletes before entering competitions.
Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids circulating in the blood stream, thereby enhancing sports performance.
5. Coffee reduces the risk of developing type II diabetes
According to Science Daily, consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee per day may be associated with 25% fewer chances of developing type II diabetes. Researchers have not been able to formulate a concrete explanation of the phenomenon, although it has been observed that chlorogenic acid in coffee inhibits early glucose and insulin response.
6. Coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
There is sufficient scientific evidence to prove the efficiency of coffee in prevention of the installation of neurodegenerative diseases. A study has shown that coffee drinkers are 60% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia, and another research in the field suggests that this drink reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 32 to 60%.
Neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao, a representative of the University of South Florida, motivates coffee efficiency by the fact that a sufficient dose of caffeine in the body inhibits the secretion of a protein called beta-amyloid that accumulates in the brain cells of Alzheimer’s sufferers. With aging, the protein becomes more difficult to metabolize. Excess beta-amyloid damages brain cells, so caffeine is useful in eliminating it.
Some rules you should follow:
Avoid drinking coffee after 5 o’clock in the afternoon to prevent inducing insomnia or anxiety
Always watch your body’s reactions – if you have any discomfort, without reason, try to drink less coffee and see if you feel the difference
If you suffer from certain chronic diseases, talk to your doctor about coffee consumption; any generalist or nutritionist who knows your medical history can help with this information; in diabetics, for example, caffeine influences the level of sugar in the blood
Buy quality coffee; even if you invest a little more, it’s best to know that you only have to control the effects of the coffee, not the effects of added dyes, additives or flavours
Do not add sugar or milk to prevent increasing caffeine consumption without realizing it; if you still cannot drink black coffee, try to choose healthier options of sweeteners; in addition, a weaker coffee can help you get used to the taste more easily
The effects of coffee pass after a certain period, so if you drink more coffee, split consumption throughout the day; 2 coffees in one go in the morning will give you a very high boost of energy, that will drop quickly and after only 3-4 hours you will feel tired and you may even suffer from headaches.