It has an aromatic smell and a distinct flavor. Some people cannot imagine their morning without it, others still doubt its pro-health properties. Coffee – a drink known for centuries and consumed all over the world. In this post, we take it under a microscope and answer the most frequently asked questions about whether coffee is healthy and who is harmed by regular drinking of coffee.
A brief history of coffee
Coffee is actually a fruit that comes from Ethiopia. An aromatic, black drink is made from roasted coffee beans. The largest coffee plantations are located in the regions of the tropical zone, i.e. in the Americas, Central Africa, South Asia and Oceania. The origins of the coffee drinking ritual date back to the 16th century, when the first coffee shop was established in Istanbul. Coffee came to Poland in the 17th century. Initially, it was drunk like the German – weak, without sugar or milk. Today, coffee can be drunk in many different ways. Over the years, a host of alternative brewing methods have been developed to bring out the best in it. How does the drink affect our body? Is coffee healthy?
How many mg of caffeine in an espresso?
One of the ingredients of coffee is caffeine, among other things, it is responsible for the healing properties of coffee. It is used in preparations for migraines, asthma and painkillers. Caffeine is the most popular stimulant. You will find it not only in coffee beans, but also in tea leaves and guarana fruits. The highest concentration of caffeine in the blood occurs 30-120 minutes after consumption (depending on the individual conditions of the body and the presence of food in the stomach).
Caffeine content in various types of coffee and other popular drinks:
a cup of black coffee – from 70 to 140 mg of caffeine / 200 ml,
a cup of instant coffee – 95 mg of caffeine / 200 ml,
a cup of black tea – 60 mg of caffeine / 200 ml,
cup of espresso – 40 to 65 mg caffeine / 30 ml,
a cup of iced coffee – 50-70 mg of caffeine,
bottle of coca-cola (0.33 l) – 45 mg of caffeine.
a cup of yerba mate – 72 mg of caffeine / 200 ml
The nutritional value of coffee
But caffeine is not everything. Some minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron), B vitamins, and antioxidants are also found in coffee. Their share is relatively small, although in the case of niacin and potassium, an incomplete glass of coffee covers 10% of the daily requirement for these substances. Regular black coffee does not contain significant amounts of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, 100 ml of the drink has about 1-2 calories. The number of calories increases when you drink coffee with additives (milk, cream, sugar, sweetener).
The healthiest coffee is fresh ground Arabica coffee. For full flavor and aroma, it is best to brew it in a pressure or filter coffee machine. The nutritional value of the drink is also influenced by what you add to it. If you like sweet coffee, use stevia, erythritol or xylitol (birch sugar) instead of sugar and honey. Avoid artificial sweeteners, fatty creams and powders, and flavored syrups. White coffee with milk and syrup can have the caloric value of a meal, or even 500 kcal.
The content of micronutrients in 100 ml of black coffee (without additives) of medium strength:
potassium – 92 mg,
magnesium – 8 mg,
sodium – 2 mg,
niacin (vitamin B3) – 0.7 mg,
manganese – 0.05 mg,
riboflavin (vitamin B2) – 0.01 mg.
How does drinking coffee affect our health?
Is coffee healthy? Yes! Moderate consumption of coffee has a number of health benefits. Coffee has a positive effect on the nervous system and brain function, reduces the risk of certain diseases, has a stimulating and cleansing effect. Check why you should drink coffee.
Drinking coffee improves memory and concentration
Caffeine contained in coffee (along with theobromine and theophylline) works very well on the central nervous system. First of all, it accelerates the flow of electrical impulses in the brain. Thanks to this, drinking coffee improves concentration, increases short-term memory and stimulates thought processes.
Coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s
Research shows that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a disease of the nervous system. Caffeine also delays the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers developed the disease later (aged 72) than those who did not drink coffee (64 years).
Drinking coffee reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Drinking at least one cup of coffee each day helps to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol chemical that lowers the amount of glucose in the blood. Research has shown that caffeine is also good for your heart. It helps to protect and repair the heart muscle, significantly reducing the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. In addition, coffee prevents liver diseases (such as cancer, cirrhosis).
The anti-cancer properties of coffee
Among the numerous studies in the world, the topic of coffee’s influence on the development of cancer could not be missing. It turns out that coffee has anti-cancer properties. All thanks to the antioxidants (antioxidants) contained in it. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and thus protect healthy cells in our body. Coffee improves defense processes, reducing the risk of developing cancer of the liver, intestine, breast, uterus and prostate. In addition, antioxidants delay the aging process of the body’s cells.
Coffee helps asthmatics
Caffeine widens the airways, reducing the frequency and intensity of breathlessness attacks. Therefore, drinking at least one coffee a day is recommended for all asthmatics.
Effective weight loss and better metabolism
Coffee also helps with metabolism. It improves intestinal peristalsis and accelerates the breakdown of fats (has lipolytic properties). The better the metabolism, the more effectively you can lose unnecessary kilograms. One or two cups of coffee gives you a feeling of satiety and gives you energy. Thanks to this, you can increase the intensity of training. In addition, coffee has a diuretic effect – it helps to eliminate toxins and other harmful substances from the body. Therefore, in a diet that cleanses the body, coffee is most often allowed.
The five most popular coffee theories
There are various myths and understatements associated with coffee that can affect our daily choices and health. Check which of them are not alien to you.
The coffee washes out the magnesium. Myth. Coffee itself is a source of magnesium. Excessive consumption of it increases the excretion of magnesium and other minerals (sodium, calcium, potassium) in the urine. However, it is worth noting that the increased loss occurs in the first three hours after drinking. The amount of magnesium excreted in the urine will be compensated for by the amount of magnesium found naturally in coffee. Thus, the statement that coffee causes a loss of magnesium is incorrect.
Drinking a few cups of coffee a day dehydrates the body. Myth. Studies have shown that drinking coffee does not dehydrate the body. What’s more, consuming a variety of caffeinated drinks, including coffee, can be a form of fluid replacement in your diet. Of course, it is better to hydrate the body by drinking water (especially medium or high mineralized water). However, that doesn’t mean you need to avoid coffee.
Coffee is not worth drinking when you have a cold. Myth. The dose of caffeine is unlikely to wake you up, but it will improve your mood and support the immune system in the fight against the disease. The antioxidants in coffee neutralize free radicals, helping to fight inflammation.
Instant coffee is unhealthy. Myth. The biggest concern is certainly the content of acrylamide, a carcinogen. Acrylamide is present in every coffee, but due to the thermal treatment, instant coffee has the most of it. The health-promoting properties of coffee do not change in instant coffee, on the contrary – due to the fact that it is in the form of a concentrate, the antioxidant properties are even greater than in loose coffee. However, it is worth avoiding 3-in-1 mixes – due to the addition of sugar and powdered milk, these products have a higher calorific value.
Drinking a few cups of coffee causes osteoporosis. Truth. Coffee consumption causes an increased excretion of calcium in the urine in the first hours after drinking it (1-3 hours), but this effect does not persist for a long time. Research in perimenopausal women shows that people who drink two or more cups of coffee a day have lower bone mineral density if they are not consuming dairy or other calcium-rich foods at the same time.
How many cups of coffee can you drink per day?
You already know that caffeine has a beneficial effect on health. The question remains: is it possible to drink coffee without restrictions? There is only one answer: excess always hurts. Daily consumption of caffeine in the amount of up to 400 mg does not predispose to the appearance of side effects (except for pregnant women for whom the safe dose is up to 200 mg of caffeine per day). However, excessive consumption of caffeine (over 400 mg) can lead to sleep disturbances, nervous system dysregulation and seizures. In addition, it may also contribute to the development of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and gastric ulcers. Completely safe, the optimal amount is 300 mg of caffeine, which is roughly three cups of coffee a day. People with reflux, high blood pressure and pregnant women should pay attention to coffee.
Who is the coffee bad for? Beverages with a high caffeine content are not recommended for:
people who have high blood pressure,
patients struggling with gastroenterological diseases (reflux, stomach ulcers),
people who have sleep problems,
patients who take iron preparations.
Pregnant women should exercise particular caution. If you are in doubt as to whether you can drink coffee while pregnant, ask your doctor this question. It is assumed that one or two cups a day is good for health, but you have to remember that each organism is different. People who struggle with high electrolyte deficiencies are also in a special situation. In this case, drinking coffee must be combined with controlling the state of magnesium and calcium.
How to drink coffee to keep it safe for health? It is best to reach for it after breakfast – up to three hours after getting out of bed. It is not recommended to drink coffee on an empty stomach. Coffee should also not be combined with certain medications. Taking medications with caffeinated beverages may weaken or enhance the effect of the preparations. These preparations include, first of all:
proton pump inhibitors,
preparations with magnesium,
preparations with calcium,
aminophylline and theophylline,