If you’re anything like us here at GUSTATORY then throughout your life you’re going to drink a hell of a lot of coffee. Question is though, is it any good for you? The short answer to this is that, like all things, moderation is key - unless we're talking about Rom-Coms. You should binge those at any available opportunity.
For a long time, coffee was feared to have negative health implications - we lived through this, they were dire times - such as that it caused your blood pressure to rise, considerably raised your heart beat, impaired your sleep and possibly led to the development of cancer. However, this stance has now changed due a WHO report published in June 2016, which de-listed coffee from the list of potentially carcinogenic foods. Better still, it then went on to designate coffee as a potentially protective force against cancer of the uterus and liver - how many products are you aware of that were originally listed as carcinogenic, delisted and then said to be an agent against cancer...?
What Are The Supposed Health Benefits Of Coffee?
1/ Positive implications of coffee on medical conditions and nutritional benefits
Fortunately, over the last several decades, coffee has been relentlessly investigated in a range of different scientific studies. This has led to a wealth of knowledge on the subject - some reliable, some not so reliable. All in all, the view that has developed is mostly positive. Coffee drinking in moderation, which is around 3-4 cups per day, has been linked to a longer lifespan by lowering the risk of several conditions, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, heart failure and strokes. One study even concluded that coffee consumption could reduce your risk of death by up to 15%, with the largest reductions being observed in those with higher coffee consumption. As well as the above, other studies have also found positive implications of coffee consumption on a range of other medical conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, uterine and liver cancer, cirrhosis and gout.
From a nutritional perspective, coffee contains B vitamins, magnesium and potassium, as well as a high amount of the antioxidants polyphenols. These are important for our health as they prevent our cells from being oxidised by toxins, chemicals and inflammation. They also help to rid our body of free radicals, which is a type of waste product that the body naturally produces. These waste products can lead to inflammation and reportedly the development of some of the aforementioned metabolic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and obesity - amazing. In terms of how to most effectively harness these nutrients, organic black, fresh (beans or ground) coffee is best as it is higher in antioxidants. Some research also suggests that dark roast blends have higher antioxidant levels than light or medium roast blends.
2/ Coffee towards performance
Anyone who's had a coffee before has probably noticed that it has this wonderful ability to perk you up and increase your energy levels, seemingly on the first few sips. This is due to its caffeine content and the way it is absorbed into your bloodstream, which ultimately leads to certain neutrons in the brain 'igniting' - this feeling is what we coffee people like to call a 'buzz'. According to a number of studies, the result of this caffeine injection to the brain can actually do more than simply create a buzzed feeling and can lead to improvements in memory, mood and cognitive function.
The caffeine benefits appear to be even more pronounced when it comes to athletic performance. According to various studies, caffeine consumption can help to increase the amount of oxygen consumption during exercise, which can lead to an improvement in athletic performance by as much as 12%. It also helps to stimulate the central nervous system, which can reduce fatigue and drowsiness. Athletic performance and coffee is really quite a broad and interesting area of study, so one that we feel many would be interested to read about. To fully investigate this, we'll write a further insight into over the coming months, so do keep an eye out for that.
However, for all of the positives associated with coffee that we've outlined above, there are indeed some potentially negative implications associated with its use as well - please, no, we don't want to hear it!
3/ Potential risks of drinking coffee
Whilst there is currently no limit to the consumption of coffee set out in the UK, over-consumption can certainly have negative implications. It has been linked with the development of anxiety, a speedy or jittery feeling, modest and temporary elevations in blood pressure, as well as fast or abnormal heart rhythms. As caffeine is also a diuretic, it could cause the body to produce urine more quickly. Sensitivity to caffeine may also lead to some of these side effects developing, as well as dizziness, tremors, and insomnia as side effects. Ultimately, caffeine is a stimulant and everyone will react to it differently, and so just be mindful with your consumption.
There is also a general warning with all hot drinks that has been issued by the WHO, who raised concerns about the consumption of drinks at temperatures higher than 65°C as this may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer - let it cool down guys, it will still be there in 2 minutes. Another general warning with all hot drinks, not just coffee, is that many individuals choose to enjoy them with added milk, sugar or artificial sweeteners. The cumulative effect of adding these over multiple cups of coffee or beverage throughout the day can lead to a significant increase in the calories, fat and sugar in your diet. Often it is these elements people overlook so worth evaluating the impact this is having.
Conclusion. Is Coffee Good For You?
All in all, coffee can be listed as one of those foods that is probably harmless and possibly healthy. We've outlined a few of the supposed benefits above, as well as talked you through some of the risks, so you can see for yourself where the current body of research sits. You can now go about your day and continue to enjoy this delicious beverage. All that we ask of you is to consider the following recommendations:
- Enjoy coffee in moderation. Whilst there isn't concrete evidence that drinking more than 6 cups of coffee is dangerous, we do know that the risk of the side effects we've discussed above are reduced with a lower consumption. One idea might be to subscribe to our coffee box subscriptions with it's staggered monthly deliveries to perhaps help you monitor your consumption;
- Let your drink cool down first. Beverages consumed at temperatures above 65°C may increase the risk of esophageal cancer, as well as scalding yourself as you read this whilst walking along with a coffee - eyes up and concentrate on where you are going!
Right, we're done here. Thanks for reading.
GUSTATORY (adjective): curating excellence in taste.