Drinking Coffee: Pros and Cons

by on September 7th, 2014
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Coffee used to be blamed for heart disease and cancer, but recent research shows that coffee, a plant-based beverage, is mostly beneficial for your health. Both, caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated coffee have health benefits. Besides caffeine, coffee contains antioxidants, polyphenols, and hundreds of other known and unknown substances. Recent research shows that coffee can help prevent stroke, dementia, depression, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer by affecting all major organs of the body. But you also need to consider the negative side effects of coffee, depending on your health status and the medications you take, and depending on whether you drink coffee regularly.

1. Brain

Caffeinated coffee is addictive and produces arousal similar to cocaine and amphetamines. The caffeine in coffee affects the activity of brain chemicals such as dopamine and areas of the brain involved in thinking, alertness, pleasure, and arousal.

Pros

Stroke – Moderate coffee drinking lowers the risk for stroke in both men and women.

Depression – Coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of depression in women.

Dementia – Coffee seems to reduce the development of beta-amyloid plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease – Studies suggest that the risk for Parkinson’s disease is less for coffee drinkers, especially for men. Caffeine appears to affect the part of the brain that is involved in the disease.

Cons

For people, who do not drink coffee regularly, there is an increased risk of stroke immediately after drinking coffee.

2. Heart

Recent studies have found an association between coffee drinking and lower risk for heart disease.

Pros

Blood pressure – People with high blood pressure are often told to avoid caffeinated coffee. However, recent studies found no increase in heart disease or abnormal heart rhythm in moderate coffee drinkers, consuming one to three cups of coffee daily.

Heart attack – A moderate intake of coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated) is linked to a lower rate of heart attacks, especially in women. The beneficial effect of coffee on the heart may be due to the ant-oxidants such as chlorogenic acid found in coffee.

Cons

Coffee may raise blood cholesterol, but this effect seems to be limited to unfiltered coffee and Turkish coffee. Cafestol and kahweol in coffee are responsible for the cholesterol-raising activity. Coffee filters remove most of the cafestol and kahweol. Short-term effects of drinking coffee may include a rise in blood pressure, artery stiffening and an increase in homocysteine, which is linked to inflammation.

3. Liver

Pros

Coffee drinking is associated with a decrease in liver inflammation and injury. Coffee may also protect against liver cancer. Interestingly, the substances that may be bad for your cholesterol status, cafestol and kahweol, are the ones in coffee that scientists believe protect your liver.

Cons

Too much coffee, containing cafestol and kahweol, may increase your cholesterol level.

4. Pancreas/fat tissue

Pros

Coffee drinking lowers the risk for type 2 diabetes. More coffee, up to six cups of coffee per day, has the greatest effect. The beneficial effect is believed to be partly due to the increase in the hormone adiponectin, which helps to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.

Cons

In the short term, coffee may raise insulin and blood sugar levels, but the effect disappears with regular coffee use.

Sources

http://www.harvardhealthcontent.com/newsletters/69,L0112b

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coffee-and-health/AN01354

http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2011/03/10/STROKEAHA.110.603787.abstract

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926165904.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14706966

http://www.coffeeandhealth.org/research-centre/overview-2/coffee-consumption-and-liver-function/


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