From containing a psychoactive substance and being called a beverage, there are many hidden facts, myths, and misconceptions about coffee and its consumption.
There are different beverages worldwide, but no one can come close to how much coffee has been consumed and is being consumed. It is also quite funny that most people who take coffee don’t know about the health benefits it possesses. The only advantage that is quite popular is its psychoactive properties, which is due to caffeine – a chemical substance that acts as a stimulant in the body. Caffeine is the most prominent and active substance in coffee and, when it is consumed, stimulates the central nervous system.
Interestingly, caffeine can be found naturally in cacao plants and tea, but coffee has the largest deposit of caffeine in the world. Caffeine is the reason most people take coffee, apart from its taste and smell, that is. It works on the brain by blocking all the neurotransmitters that make your body feel tired, and it’s why it’s the go-to drink in every office; it boosts alertness and reduces the chance of feeling tired. There are other things involved in this process, but this is basically how it works and why several people love taking it.
Some other substances are present in coffee, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fixed oils, and tannin.
In the United States, as of December 2020, over 63% of adults consume coffee, taking a little more than 3 cups on average per day. Many people aren’t even aware of the benefits that further research has revealed, like reducing mortality and the risk of getting diabetes and heart diseases, which are just a part of its benefits. It also has a role in weight loss, so the importance of coffee cannot be over-emphasized. Some of these benefits are properties of anti-inflammation. So it is essential to know what the benefits of coffee are, what inflammation is, and how they are related.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a reaction in the body. It is how your body reacts to injuries from external factors that cause infections. Everyone must have experienced this before. Whenever you have an insect bite, maybe from a mosquito or any other insect, there is always a swell around the place where you were bitten. Or in the case of any other type of injury, you feel that your skin becomes red, swollen, and hot, or the site becomes painful. These are reactions caused by your immune system when it sends specialized white blood cells to the location of the injury to reduce or fight off the infection or damage to enable you to heal. This process is inflammation.
Simply put, inflammation is a process your body takes in fighting off infections and healing diseases naturally.
By all means, inflammation is essential in the body since it’s a reaction of the body to an imminent infection or injury, but it can sometimes be dangerous to the body. The body naturally triggers inflammation when it perceives an injury or infection, but sometimes the body triggers inflammation when there’s no injury and no infection insight. What happens is that when inflammation has answered the call to action, it tarries due to some reasons such as obesity, stress, harmful diet, and autoimmune disorder. When it has achieved its purpose, it doesn’t leave, and this condition is known as chronic inflammation – a condition where inflammation occurs when it is not needed. Doctors and researchers believe that it causes some health problems and conditions, including heart issues, depression, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is possible to curb this chronic inflammation by avoiding things that can trigger it and eating the right food. There’s an anti-inflammation diet that was produced to make this possible.
Coffee and Inflammation
Recall above that one of the effects of chronic inflammation is obesity, and one of the benefits of coffee includes its participation in facilitating weight loss. Coffee alone can’t do this, but it increases your chances of losing weight in the following ways:
- Suppresses hunger: this is one of the other reasons people take coffee. When coffee is taken either black or with other materials like milk and sugar, it reduces the urge for food. Taking coffee black is the best way to ensure weight loss because it doesn’t involve any other calories, and natural coffee is low in calories. This effect of coffee is caused by caffeine. When you don’t have the urge to eat, you are not putting extra calories into your body, which aids your weight loss journey.
- Increases rate of burning calories: the caffeine present in coffee is responsible for triggering a process called thermogenesis – a process in which our bodies generate heat and energy by digesting the food we have taken. This process helps in doubling the amount of energy we use, even when we are resting. The essence of weight loss is losing calories, and this process allows us to use more fuel which burns into the reserves of food we have, thereby burning the secretly stored calories. It’s more complex than this, but this is the idea.
Coffee is also known to counteract the effects of inflammation because of some of its contents. Contents like caffeine, antioxidants, and polyphenols are chemical substances that fight against inflammation in the body.
Several compounds in our bodies are a risk to our health when their levels are becoming too high. These compounds are called free radicals, and when their story gets high, they can be harmful to our body. Antioxidants are secret molecules that help our body fight these free radicals. These radicals are perceived to be the cause of some illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. We have these antioxidants in our bodies, and we can also get them from food sources such as fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are useful in protecting our cells from being damaged. These illnesses are also caused by chronic inflammation, so we can say that coffee is an anti-inflammatory substance with how its constituents limit the effects of chronic inflammation.
Polyphenols are mainly found in food sources and can act as antioxidants because they can also counteract free radicals in the body. Other benefits of polyphenols are that they aid digestion and boost brain functions and health.
Coffee is a critical beverage in our lives, and somehow, we haven’t grasped all the benefits that it can offer. Coffee doesn’t cause inflammation, and we have established how it is an anti-inflammatory substance nullifying the effects of chronic inflammation. Although it doesn’t cause inflammation, the excessive use of coffee can lead to many things which include, insomnia – lack of sleep. Taking too much coffee to stay alert can also give you the opposite of that because it can send you to a panic mode where you become too stressed due to the actions of caffeine on the brain.
One of the effects of excessive use of coffee is on the heart. Because anytime you take coffee, it sends a signal to your brain to release cortisol and adrenaline, which would accelerate your heartbeat. When this gets too much, it can lead to a series of heart conditions, so 2-3 cups of coffee are recommended per day because this works perfectly and can’t trigger any issue in the body. Like every good thing, excessive use is what is always harmful.
Coffee has many benefits and downsides, but inflammation is not one of them. Instead, its constituents contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties, which slowly cater to the effects of chronic inflammation.
- Coffee beverage with the largest deposit of natural caffeine, and it is the most consumed beverage in the world.
- Caffeine is responsible for most of the benefits of coffee.
- Carbohydrates, protein, tannin, antioxidants, and phenols are some of the substances present in coffee.
- Inflammation is a reaction of our body due to the immune system trying to fight diseases or heal injuries. Some of these reactions include redness and swelling of the affected sites.
- Chronic inflammation occurs when the effects of inflammation persist after the defense and healing process has been completed. Or when toxins and excessive stress trigger inflammation.
- Chronic inflammation causes health issues such as heart problems, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease. Etc.
- Coffee contains antioxidants and polyphenols, which help fight free radicals that cause chronic inflammation.