How coffee affects your body
The most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world is caffeine and the most effective way of ingesting it is by drinking coffee.
Scientists have been trying to make sense of the various effects that coffee has on our bodies. A recent study shows that women who drink four cups of coffee per day have a 20% lower risk of depression in comparison to those who drink one cup or less per week.
This is great news for all the coffee drinkers out there, but before you relax, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of drinking coffee and whether it is really beneficial in the long run.
Caffeine for pain relief
If you’re an avid coffee drinker like myself then you probably suffer from the headaches and withdrawal symptoms if you don’t have it. The fact is caffeine can actually speed up pain relief, make pain relievers 40% more effective and also speeds up the body’s reaction to medications. This is why most of the over the counter headache medications contain caffeine.
A 2007 study conducted at Baylor College of medicine determined that ingesting the molecules kahweol and cafestol, both found exclusively in coffee beans – can significantly increase LDL levels in humans.
However, paper coffee filters can bind kahweol and cafestol during the brewing stage. So if you’re concerned about your LDL levels, filtered coffee is the way.
There are many studies that have demonstrated connections between consuming coffee and the reduced risk of cancer – the rates of oral/pharyngeal, liver, breast, esophageal and prostate cancers all show a lower tendency among coffee drinkers.
Coffee can give rise to ulcers and other forms of gastric irritation and damage, by wreaking havoc on the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. Too much coffee consumption can bring on irritability and anxiety, which is the perfect recipe for many devastating stomach pains.
Studies have pointed to a connection between pregnant mothers and coffee consumption and an increased likelihood of miscarriage. A study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, found that the risk of miscarriage is more than double in women who consume over 200 mg or more of caffeine per day.
Type 2 diabetes preventative
Harvard epidemiologist Frank Hu confirms that the data on coffee and decaf can prevent type 2 diabetes, based on over 15 recently published studies. The minerals chromium and magnesium, in particular, help the body utilise the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar.
Decrease in cognitive disorders
Coffee has been associated with decreased risks of cognitive impairments such as dementia and most notably Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study conducted, followed regular coffee-drinkers for 20 years and found that out of 1400 people – those drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease opposed to those who drank 2 cups or less.
Coffee is a stimulant and it stimulates peristalsis — the muscle contractions in your gastrointestinal tract. According to a study published in the journal Gut:
They suspect coffee may induce a “gastrocolonic response” by acting on the epithelial receptors in the small bowel or stomach. Such a mechanism can be mediated by gastrointestinal hormones or by neural mechanisms. Coffee promotes the release of Gastrin which increases motor activity and colonic spike.
High blood pressure
Coffee raises the blood pressure, although this is a temporary increase in blood pressure. Only if you have naturally high blood pressure or if you are pregnant, limit your coffee intake to 2 cups a day.
Consuming over 5 cups of coffee a day, increases the likelihood of thinning of bone marrow. So if you are susceptible to fractures, particularly if you’re elderly, limit your consumption to a sensible level.
Beside all the above drinking coffee is great for staying alert, both mentally and physically. It helps waking up in the morning, aids your productivity and relieves stress in the workplace. The effects of coffee are different from person to person. And since coffee has a positive impact on your health, it should be enjoyed.