Coffee, what’s the verdict? Is it good or bad for us?
Coffee, what’s the
verdict? Is it good
or bad for us?
Nathan Batalion, Global Health Activist, Healingtalks Editor
Coffee and stimulating the fire within
Analogy of food subjected to fire
The degree of inner fire
What is inner fire?
Pouring “water” over fire
A forever split verdict
- 1. Antioxidants. Coffee is rich in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, a process that causes damage to cells and contributes to aging.
- 2. Parkinson’s disease. Regular coffee drinking can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies , have demonstrated that people who drink coffee are less likely to have Parkinson’s disease. But once you have the disease, again, its dietary use is questionable.
- 3. Diabetes. Coffee drinking has a potential to protect one against developing type 2 diabetes. A prospective study as part of the US Nurses Health Study found that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
- 4. Liver cirrhosis. Coffee drinking may protect against liver cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
- 5. Gallstones. Coffee drinking may be protective against gallstone formation in both men and women 
- 6. Kidney stones. Coffee consumption lowers the risk of kidney stones formation. Coffee increases the urine volume, preventing crystallization of calcium oxalates.
- 7. Alzheimer’s disease. Regular coffee drinking may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Recent study  in mice showed that caffeine equivalent to 5 cups of coffee per day reduced the build up of destructive plaques in the brain.
- 8. Asthma. Caffeine in coffee is related to theophylline, an old asthma medication. Caffeine can open airways and improve asthma symptoms.
- 9. Stroke – Recent studies show a correlation between coffee drinking and a lower risk of stoke.
- 10. Cancer – Certain forms of cancer risk, especially colon and pancreatic, are correlated to coffee intake.
More on coffee’s cons
- 1. Heart disease. Diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies  have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes. Also, coffee consumption is associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
- 2. Cholesterol. Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels . Unfiltered coffee contains two cholesterol-raising compounds cafestol and kahweol.
- 3. Blood vessels. Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function.
- 4. Heart rhythm disturbances. Coffee can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias).
- 5. Blood pressure. Although coffee drinking is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavorable effects on blood pressure  and people prone to hypertension may be more susceptible. Recent Italian study found coffee drinking increases the risk of sustained hypertension for people with already elevated blood pressure.
- 6. Osteoporosis. Coffee intake may cause extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake .
- 7. Heartburn. A cup of coffee can trigger heartburn.
- 8. Sleep. High amounts of caffeine taken before going to sleep can cause difficulty falling asleep, tendency to be awakened more readily by sudden noises, and a decreased quality of sleep. However, some people can drink coffee and fall right asleep.
- 9. Dehydration. The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase urine excretion.
- 10. Dependence. Caffeine is a mild central nervous system stimulant, and produces dependence. Caffeine withdrawal is thus a real syndrome and you may get days of headache and irritability if you choose to quit. However, it is relatively easy to break this habit.
1. Saaksjarvi K, Knekt P, Rissanen H, Laaksonen MA, Reunanen A, Mannisto S. Prospective study of coffee consumption and risk of Parkinson’s disease. PubMed
2. Hu G, Bidel S, Jousilahti P, Antikainen R, Tuomilehto J. Coffee and tea consumption and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. PubMed
3. van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study in younger and middle-aged U.S. women. Diabetes Care. PubMed
4. Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Spiegelman D, Colditz GA, Giovannucci EL. Coffee intake is associated with lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in women. Gastroenterology. PubMed
5. Arendash GW, Schleif W, Rezai-Zadeh K, Jackson EK, Zacharia LC, Cracchiolo JR, Shippy D, Tan J. Caffeine protects Alzheimer’s mice against cognitive impairment and reduces brain beta-amyloid production. Neuroscience. PubMed
6. Urgert R, Essed N, van der Weg G, Kosmeijer-Schuil TG, Katan MB. Separate effects of the coffee diterpenes cafestol and kahweol on serum lipids and liver aminotransferases. PubMed
7. Urgert R, Weusten-van der Wouw MP, Hovenier R, Lund-Larsen PG, Katan MB. Chronic consumers of boiled coffee have elevated serum levels of lipoprotein(a). PubMed
8. Winkelmayer WC, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Curhan GC. Habitual caffeine intake and the risk of hypertension in women. PubMed
9. Hallstrom H, Wolk A, Glynn A, Michaelsson K. Coffee, tea and caffeine consumption in relation to osteoporotic fracture risk in a cohort of Swedish women.
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