Coffee: 6 Health Benefits and 3 Common Risks
We all know what coffee is. It has been an important part of our human culture and it still is an important part of this date. Why is it so important? Well, there are a few reasons but the base is that it is a stimulant and has been helping us to feel active so it has its own value. As we said just now coffee is a stimulant.
If you don’t know what a stimulant is, in simpler terms it is any substance that makes our mind hyperactive for a short duration. This means nicotine is a stimulant as well but we won’t go into nicotine here. Back to the topic so far we know that coffee has been an important part of our history because it is a stimulant. But does it have any other health benefits besides making it feel active for a short duration? The answer is yes.
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Coffee does have lots of health benefits, some of which are purely from it while some health benefits happen when you add an extra element to the coffee. In this case, coffee acts as a catalyst. We do understand however that it is not something not everyone’s drink of choice but seeing their health benefits you may just start drinking it and it will be just a matter of time before you become a coffee person.
1. Coffee is a stimulant
This is the first thiamine we mentioned here. That it is a stimulant. We will go a bit into detail here. So stimulants are substances that stimulate our senses and nerves and give us a temporary boost. Mostly this does the boosting thing for our mind but this stimulating effect can also be seen on our body as well. Your physical performance will be boosted to some extent if you drink coffee.
That is the main reason why people who do night shifts rely on coffee more than they rely on water for the most part. It keeps our minds active and prevents our bodies from being sluggish. This is all because of the chemical called caffeine which is where most of this comes from. Along with this the antioxidants also have a small role here. Fun fact caffeine is also the chemical that wakes us up after drinking tea but it is in much less amount in the tea.
2. It Helps in losing weight
Did we mention earlier that in some cases coffee acts as a catalyst right? Well, this is among those cases. Losing weight is not an easy job and it takes a lot of effort and time and energy as well. How does coffee help you in losing weight then? You see coffee has very low calories in it but has a high energy output for a short duration. To be fair it doesn’t really give you energy but rather uses the dormant energy sources inside your body and use it to extract as much energy as possible. Regardless the energy will be produced. This means more energy to function with almost zero calorie intake.
What does this mean for losing weight? It means that you won’t be putting on extra weight while you are in the process of losing weight as all the calories that normally will be stored as a reserve will be used by coffee and as you will be taking in the regular amount of calorie there will be no way of storing calories which means no extra weight. Since you will be working out as well to reduce weight, the process will be a bit quicker with the coffee as a catalyst.
3. Coffee helps in burning fat
You may think that this and the previous point is the same but they are not. Fat is just a part of the weight gain and weight loss process. While people mostly blame our weight on fat, we also have to consider that we have muscle loss growth through extra calories some of which later turn into fat. With this being cleared we have to tell you that both of the points are somewhat related as well. Coffee does not allow extra calories to be turned into fat. But we have limited calorie intake due to the time it takes for food to be digested and produce calories.
What will happen when we run out of calories but still have to function? In that case, our body starts to burn fat as its source of energy. By eliminating the storage of calories in our body and forcing our body to use fat as its main source of energy, coffee helps us to burn fat and it also breaks down the fat cells as well to make it easier to burn fat. It should be noted however that a normal person takes much more calories than s/he needs to function so if a person is not active and constantly burning calories, just drinking coffee will do nothing to burn fat.
4. Coffee lowers the risk of cancers
This has been a debate for a long time but in over 1000 studies conducted in this topic majority of the results are in favor of coffee lowering the risk of cancer. You have to consider that coffee is only a part of this though as there are many factors that affect a human body getting cancer. But all in all the researches have shown that coffee does help in reducing the chances of endometrial cancer and liver cancer.
The reason mostly has to do with two chemicals which are caffeine and phenolic acid. Despite this, you have to know that both of these are somewhat toxic if taken in large amounts. Caffeine is rather addictive and phenolic acid is toxic to humans in large amounts. It is also to be noted that if you want to gain any benefits of coffee that have been mentioned in this list so far you have to take the coffee without much sugar or any other additive.
The reason is rather simple, milk reduces the effect of the acids and sugars reduce the effect of the caffeine’s calorie burnout. So in this case as well if you want to get the best benefit you have to be a regular coffee drinker (you don’t have to drink daily but regularly).
5. Coffee and Parkinson’s disease
If you don’t know what Parkinson’s disease is, don’t worry because a lot of people don’t know. This disease is basically a nervous disorder that causes uncontrollable tremors in your muscles which can affect your daily life in a bad way if this gets too much. This may not seem like a big issue on the surface but just think of what would happen if your hand starts to shake while riding a bike or while giving your final exam.
Studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers who drink 1-3 cups of coffee per day have 25% chance of getting this disease in the first place and along with this if you already have Parkinson’s disease drinking coffee also helps to reduce the frequency and the severity of the tremors. Now this is a big benefit as there have been no cure for this disease so far and just the reduction of symptoms to some degree is a big deal for now.
As for how this happens, researchers believe that this has something to do with the caffeine stimulating our brain and making it more in control of our body while also crashing with the random signals that makes the tremor happen.
6. Coffee helps in Depression
Yes, we are finally here. We know that some of you who have depression might have been waiting for this point. There really is no doubt that coffee helps in depression. The reason is straightforward and simple as well. This has all to do with caffeine stimulating our mind. Our mind being stimulated means that it is producing all sorts of chemicals to boost the performance of our body. This includes chemicals like serotonin and endorphin which are the body’s natural pain killers and mood boosters. Although this is not a long-term effect it is not a short burst either as the mood boost lasts for quite a while before slowly calming down.
It may not seem much to the regular people but for those who are in depression this is a lot and even just a few hours of feeling and being productive can be their whole reason to not feel suicidal as in those hours they will feel useful. We won’t go into the thought process of those who are depressed but in general, the feeling of emptiness and uselessness is there. So having a mood boost is really helpful for them to manage their depression while they become functional.
You do have to remember that coffee is only a short term relief for them and they still have to manage a lot on their own and take medications and use other forms of gradual but long term depression management techniques.
With all of the benefits being said you may think that coffee is a wonder drug but it has some serious drawbacks and risks as well and some of them can be life-destroying as well. As we have mentioned earlier you do have to take coffee in limit and as to why we said it, it is because of the risks.
1. Caffeine Addiction
Caffeine addiction is not exclusive to coffee. We have mentioned before that the main reason for the coffee being a stimulant is this chemical called caffeine and it is found in other drinks as well with tea being the most well-known one but did you know that there is caffeine in Soft drinks such as coca-cola as well?
The amount is way less than coffee but if you drink too much coke, you can very well get addicted to caffeine as well. But the top contender for caffeine is coffee as this contains around double the amount when compared to tea. As caffeine is a stimulant and is technically a narcotic just like nicotine it is very addictive. As a matter of fact, caffeine addiction is not a new thing and a lot of people have this addiction.
Yes, you can overdose on coffee and no this is not a made-up fact. An average cup of coffee contains 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine. In order to overdose, a human needs to have 8 grams of caffeine which is around 40 cups. But a dark coffee contains three times that amount and an espresso contains around 800 milligrams of caffeine.
Although it is rare to overdose on coffee, But there is a catch, this is the overdose limit which is fatal. Humans can overdose on way less than that. It all depends on how much tolerance one has and the symptoms of overdose ranges from gagging and puking to short-term delusion and paranoia in the extremes. So before you go chucking all those coffee, be aware of these risks.
This is the most well known risk of coffee. Insomnia or sleeplessness. A lot of people have this in the modern times and a lot of people don’t know what to do with this. If you are someone with insomnia, drinking coffee won’t affect you much in the short term but still will make it harder for you to sleep and increase the duration of the Insomnia in the long term. If you are a regular coffee drinker the chances are you already have difficulty sleeping so you know what this feels like. Although drinking coffee does not always cause insomnia it does raise the risk of getting one.
If you want to know more about food and health why don’t you check our article on “Facts and Myths About Healthy Diet“. We have one for the blood donors as well. If you are confused about what to eat and what to avoid why don’t you check out our article on “The food you must eat and must avoid after Blood Donation“