Here at The Wellness Place, we sure do love our coffee! In fact, after water, coffee is reported as one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. There is nothing better than a good ol’ cup of coffee first thing in the morning, however, only a few years ago we were learning about the dangers of coffee consumption particularly regarding blood pressure, racing heart and impaired sleep. Luckily for our energy levels, the research is now suggesting some interesting health benefits linked to coffee.
Coffee is produced from the dried seeds of the Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora (known as “Robusta”) plants. These are then roasted and ground to create our beloved espresso.
Interestingly, the World Health Organisation used to have coffee listed as a carcinogenic agent but was removed from this list in 2018 in light of updated research where the International Agency for Research on Cancer (2016) found that it is unlikely that coffee has any effect on the risk of developing cancer of the pancreas, bladder, prostate or breast. In fact, they also found in this review that coffee may exhibit a protective effect against the development of liver and endometrial cancers.
Coffee beans are rich in certain plant constituents such as polyphenols, soluble fibre and potassium which may exert a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system which is made up of the heart and blood vessels. Coffee is also rich in antioxidants which help to fight free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation. Among its beneficial constituents, is an alkaloid we all know very well as caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases activity of the brain and nervous system. It also increases circulation so it is important to note that it can increase circulation of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Caffeine is well absorbed by the body and you may notice it’s effects within 5-30 minutes after consuming it. You may notice an increase in mental alertness, focus and physical exertion and reduced feelings of fatigue after a cup of coffee.
In recent years, research has shown coffee consumption to be associated with a decreased risk of developing the following:
– type 2 diabetes
– cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke)
– Glucose tolerance
– Insulin sensitivity
– Parkinson’s disease
– Liver cirrhosis
Should you drink coffee?
If you do not like coffee or are more susceptible to side effects, it is probably best to stay away from it. For those of us that do like coffee however, growing research has shown the potential health benefits of coffee consumption but it is important to avoid it in the afternoon where possible to prevent any sleep disturbances.
As you have probably experienced, going overboard with your coffee consumption can produce some uncomfortable side effects including:
– Digestive disturbances including diarrhea, nausea and heartburn
– Jitters and heart palpitations
If you already have anxiety or insomnia, it’s probably best to avoid drinking coffee while you address the root cause of these issues due to the risk of exacerbating your symptoms.
Like pretty much everything, the effect coffee will have on you is variable from person to person and should not be consumed in excess.