HealthDecoding your coffee: The health benefits, risks, and types to avoid

Decoding your coffee: The health benefits, risks, and types to avoid

Images source: © Getty Images | Photographer: Dimitri Vervitsiotis

7:50 AM EST, January 13, 2024

Impact of caffeine on health

Black coffee, a drink loaded with caffeine, stimulates our bodies, fights fatigue, and enhances our concentration abilities. In addition to these functionalities, caffeine can also help lower histamine levels associated with allergic reactions and dilate the bronchi, providing comfort to individuals suffering from asthma.

Although caffeine can increase blood pressure, it only occurs if you cross the daily recommended dosage of 400mg for an adult. The equivalent of this amount is typically four cups of coffee a day, but the coffee type and brewing method can substantially impact this equation.

For those who drink coffee throughout the day, it is advised not to consume Robusta, which contains up to twice as much caffeine as Arabica (!).

Notably, some people experience headaches and irritation after having just a single cup of coffee. This reaction is due to the efficiency of their body's metabolism of caffeine, which primarily occurs in the liver involving cytochrome P450 (isoenzyme 1A2). In certain individuals, this enzyme is less active, causing caffeine to linger in their blood longer, leading to the side effects mentioned above.

Genetics, overall health, aging, medication, and smoking influence this variation in metabolism rates.

Coffees we should avoid

Robusta coffee is not recommended for all-day drinkers, even though it carries the same health benefits as other coffees if consumed once a day. However, some types of coffee lack any health benefits, and, worse, they can potentially harm us. They include:

- Coffee with sugar and full-fat milk — It can cause weight gain, speed up the body's aging process, and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,

- 3-in-1 instant coffee (with added sugar and milk) — It contains harmful components like palm oil and glucose-fructose syrup, you won't find any real coffee in it,

- Coffee drinks — These usually contain harmful coffee extracts and additives.

Health benefits of pure black coffee

A cup of real coffee has more antioxidants than a glass of orange juice, which is associated with anti-aging properties, a decreased risk of developing diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer’s.

It can also enhance metabolism, improve intestinal peristalsis, and potentially aid weight loss. While coffee does have diuretic effects which can cause dehydration if consumed excessively, moderate intake can benefit the body.

However, all the health-related benefits of coffee can be negated if one includes the three types of coffee mentioned earlier in their diet: coffee with sugar and full-fat milk, 3-in-1 coffee, or bottled coffee drinks.

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