Most coffee lovers drink about 5 to 6 eight-ounce cups of coffee daily. However, many people wonder whether it’s healthy to drink coffee. Since most humans are largely pessimistic, we’ll discuss whether it’s bad to drink coffee.
Essentially, coffee might be bad or good for your health depending on various variables such as the caffeine content in your brew, which is mainly dependent on the brewing method used.
Most research findings indicate that taking coffee in moderate amounts can improve physical performance, mental performance, mental alertness, and general health. If you have preexisting heart issues, it’s advised to consult your doctor before consuming coffee.
It’s important to know the amount of coffee you can consume safely and what its caffeine ingredient does to your body. Those who enjoy taking espresso shots should take note of their caffeine consumption. Espresso is extremely strong. Thus, it’s taken in shots rather than regular coffee cups. Regardless of the type of coffee you drink, it’ll help to assess the existing scientific evidence on the effects of coffee to determine whether it’s good or bad to drink it.
Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine is the main active ingredient in coffee. It’s a stimulant in nature. It blocks adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter within the brain. Adenosine is an inhibitory type of neurotransmitter. It works by dampening the activities of the brain. Since caffeine can remain active in the body system for several hours, it’ll block these neurotransmitters for quite some time. Although caffeine intake largely comes from tea or coffee, you know that it may come from other sources such as dark chocolate and energy drinks.
By blocking adenosine, it means caffeine is increasing neuronal firing, thereby making other neurotransmitters such as dopamine more active. These effects of caffeine stimulate attention, mood, and energy.
Besides caffeine, coffee contains other ingredients. However, caffeine is the most active ingredient in coffee. Thus, caffeine is responsible for most negative and positive effects of consuming coffee.
- Mental Performance
The main effect of drinking coffee is that it enhances mental performance in three key ways:
There’s some evidence in research literature suggesting that drinking coffee improves recall and memory. For instance, a study done on college students involved memorizing six lists, each containing 15 words. In some of the tests, the researchers gave coffee drinkers some caffeine beforehand while others received a placebo. Results showed that participants who took coffee beforehand recalled the memorized words more than those who received the placebo.
Something interesting about this study is that the participants who took caffeine beforehand recalled incorrect words. However, the wrong words were related to those in the list.
As a result, the study wasn’t fully conclusive. Regardless, the authors of the study concluded that caffeine may intensify the connection between list words. As a result, it may enhance both false and true memory. Thus, if you’re struggling with memory, it’ll help to take coffee regularly.
There’s also evidence suggesting that taking caffeine improves recollection. Recollection refers to the consolidation of memories. Most studies done to test this hypothesis involved giving participants caffeine before learning some words. Afterward, they’re tested on the words.
In one randomized, double-blind study, and placebo-controlled students took caffeine. Exactly 24 hours after taking caffeine, the placebo and caffeine groups were requested to learn some words. Findings from the study indicated that consuming caffeine improved performance after administration. However, the findings were specific to consolidating memories rather than retrieving memories.
Findings from the study also indicate that caffeine improved the consolidation of several long-term memories. However, the study indicates that attaining these benefits requires consuming a caffeine content of more than 200 mg, which is approximately 2 regular coffee servings. Thus, taking 2 cups of java per day is beneficial in that it improves memory consolidation.
Also, there’s scientific evidence showing that coffee may improve mood. A study involving female volunteers over a period of 10 years was done to determine the effect of coffee on depression. At baseline, the participants didn’t show any severe signs of clinical depression or depression in general.
Results from the study indicated that consuming caffeine in an increasing and dose-dependent approach reduces the overall likelihood of getting depressed. As a result, the researchers concluded that the higher amount of coffee you consume, the more the decrease in the likelihood of getting depressed. However, those findings may seem less convincing. Regardless, the study is quite interesting such that you may wonder the length of time that caffeine has to remain in your body for it to start showing reduced depression.
After analyzing studies on thousands of different people, consuming a caffeine content of 300 mg (about 3 to 4 cups) per day is shown to assist individuals who are likely to develop depression or those who’re suffering from depression. Generally, taking coffee may boost your mental ability. After all, caffeine content of 300 mg is the recommended daily caffeine consumption. This caffeine content can remain active in your body throughout the day. If you’re not sure whether coffee can boost your mood, try eating some chocolate.
- Mental Alertness
Research shows that coffee can enhance cognitive functions with respect to vigilance and alertness. A study done on healthy male participants involved giving them caffeine in different doses. The study showed that a caffeine dose of 32 mg (half espresso shot or half regular cup) was sufficient to enhance their auditory alertness.
In the study, the participants experienced more awareness about the surrounding auditory stimuli. Also, they expressed an improved visual reaction. Another finding from the study is that the participants showed quicker responses to various tasks. Probably, you experience similar benefits after drinking coffee in the morning.
Another study reviewed several placebo-controlled, double-blind, and randomized studies on whether caffeine has any effect on attention. After analyzing the studies, it was concluded that there’s a relationship between consuming a caffeine content of 75 mg and attention. Such a caffeine content is similar to taking one espresso shot or one regular coffee serving. Taking such a caffeine content increased alertness and attention among the participants.
Findings from the analysis also concluded that taking caffeine increased sustained attention and selective attention. Essentially, sustained attention refers to the ability to remain focused for long durations. On the other hand, selective attention refers to the ability to remain focused on one aspect at one particular moment. These forms of attention are very useful when performing productive tasks or when studying.
Another review that assessed placebo-controlled and double-blind trials concluded that caffeine intake affected complex and simple attention tasks. Caffeine was shown to affect the accuracy and reaction times on various simple tasks. Also, caffeine was shown to improve higher-order processes that are involved in the coordination and active monitoring of task switching, interference, and response inhibition.
Overall, the review concluded that taking caffeine offers the benefit of improved attention. These effects are now more evident than previously thought. Thus, there’s sufficient scientific evidence to show that caffeine enhances alertness. It’s a beverage that assists most people to get through tough days, especially when you want to be more alert and focused.
Most people feel more alert after taking coffee. That way, you feel more focused on whatever you’re doing. You can combine coffee with a keto lifestyle to enhance your alertness even further.
- Physical Performance
Besides improving mental performance, vigilance, mood, recall, memory, and alertness, coffee also enhances physical performance. Coffee improves physical performance through its caffeine ingredient. Caffeine works by antagonizing adenosine. Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Caffeine blocks adenosine, thereby causing increased neuronal firing.
Increased neuronal firing makes the brain feel the urge to increase adrenaline levels in the body. When the body produces more adrenaline, there’s increased blood flow toward the muscles, thereby increasing one’s heart rate. The result of these body reactions is feeling more energetic. That’s why you find it easier to perform physical activities after taking coffee.
There’s evidence indicating that taking caffeine before workout may increase the duration of exercising before you feel exhausted, that is to mean stamina. A study done on several cyclists involved the participants cycling until they got exhausted to an extent of being unable to cycle anymore.
During the tests, some of the cyclists took coffee before cycling. Another group received decaffeinated coffee. Results from the tests indicated that the group that took caffeinated coffee got exhausted after 90.2 minutes. The group that took decaf coffee got exhausted after 75.5 minutes.
Research findings indicate that the group that took caffeinated coffee had increased stamina when compared to the group that took decaffeinated coffee. The gain in running/performance was approximately 20 percent. These results are great news for coffee lovers and anyone who desires to gain more stamina for improved physical activity.
Some research findings suggest that consuming coffee may reduce how you perceive tiredness when exercising. For instance, an analysis involving controlled randomized trials assessed whether caffeine has any link to improved sports performance. Conclusions from the research indicate that there’s a relationship between taking caffeine and increased endurance. However, it’s worth noting that caffeine may remain active in the body for several hours. Thus, observe your coffee consumption to avoid drinking it excessively.
Introduces a Feeling of Tiredness
It’s not that coffee will make you feel tired, it’s that you’re coming down from your caffeine or quick sugar boost (if you take sweetened coffee). As mentioned earlier, caffeine assists in blocking adenosine receptors, something which tricks you to become more alert. Once the caffeine content in your blood starts wearing off, you’ll start feeling more drained to the extent of feeling tired and an intense urge to sleep.
Another reason why coffee might make you feel tired is dehydration. Drinking too much coffee may dehydrate your body due to more frequent urination than normal. As a result, you’ll feel drowsy. It’s advised to drink more water than coffee daily. For each cup of coffee you take, drink at least two cups of water. That way, your body won’t get dehydrated. Remember that the water content in coffee won’t hydrate you significantly.
The sugar you add to your brew can make you feel quite tired. If you like sugary coffee, then you’re likely feeling tired due to the crash that comes after a quick sugar rush. Thus, these three reasons are likely the cause of your tiredness, especially after taking coffee during lunch hour.
There’s evidence showing that coffee assists in recovering more quickly from exercise. For instance, there’s a study showing that taking caffeine may reduce DOMS, an abbreviation for delayed onset muscle soreness. DOMS is a type of pain you feel in the muscles several hours after exercising. While this pain is awful, you can relieve it by repeating the same exercise or running.
In the study, male participants were divided into two test groups. One of the groups took caffeine whereas the other group took part in the study as a placebo. The participants took several bicep curls in a gym. The soreness of their muscles was assessed daily on day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 5 after the exercise. Findings from the tests indicated that the caffeinated participants had less muscle soreness on day 2 and day 3, which is the period during which DOMS kicks in. The group that didn’t take caffeine experienced normal muscle soreness.
The participants also undertook another test involving doing multiple bicep curls until failure. The caffeinated participants were able to do more rounds of biceps than the group that wasn’t caffeinated. Conclusions from the study indicate that coffee can assist in recovery time as it was shown to reduce the likelihood of soreness after strenuous workouts. Thus, taking coffee can increase the duration of your training sessions.
Since caffeine improves physical performance, taking caffeine was banned from 1984 to 2004 among Olympic participants. In 2004, anti-doping authorities found that caffeine cannot be classified as a biased performance enhancer.
It’s likely that most people consume coffee before taking part in competitive events since they know caffeine enhances physical performance. In case you’re not drinking coffee for enhanced physical performance, then you’re likely taking caffeine-rich supplements. It would be quite interesting to know the amount of caffeine that athletes consume before taking part in competitive sports.
- Health Benefits
By now, you’ve learnt more about the positive effects of consuming coffee on mental performance, mental alertness, and physical performance. Research findings also show that consuming coffee or caffeine is linked to several health benefits. As long as you’re consuming caffeine in safe amounts, you can enjoy impressive health benefits.
Research shows that consuming coffee reduces the likelihood of developing several health problems, including neurodegenerative conditions. An analysis and review of several studies found that consuming caffeine amounting to 300 mg (3 to 4 standard cups) per day reduces the likelihood of Parkinson’s disease at the rate of 32 percent. Such a reduced risk of developing the disease is quite high. Conclusions from the studies show that there’s an inverse relationship between consuming caffeine and the likelihood of developing the disease, something that’s challenging to explain by uncontrolled or bias confounding.
Antioxidants and Micronutrients
Coffee is known to contain essential micronutrients such as vitamins B5, B3, and B2. These vitamins exist naturally in both raw and processed coffee beans. Besides, coffee contains numerous natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants are beneficial chemicals that assist in inhibiting oxidation that occurs when the mitochondria respire to produce energy. The oxidation process produces free radicals that damage body cells. Thus, antioxidants in coffee can reduce oxidation, thereby minimizing free radicals in the body.
Research findings show that coffee offers the highest amount of dietary antioxidants when compared to other foods such as cereals, vegetables, and fruits.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
A study done on several participants in the age group of between 65 to 79 years over a period of 21 years indicated that consuming coffee reduces the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The most elderly participants showed the lowest likelihood of developing these conditions at a reduced rate of 65 percent among the participants who took 3 to 5 cups of java daily.
After analyzing several studies with thousands of participants and numerous incidences of stroke, result findings indicate that taking 2 cups of java daily reduces the likelihood of developing stroke at a rate of 14 percent. Results from the studies also show that taking 3 cups of java daily reduces the likelihood of developing stroke at a rate of 17 percent. Although correlation doesn’t equal causation in these studies, the data is very impressive.
There’s evidence showing that consuming coffee moderately can assist in reducing the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases. For instance, a study review shows that consuming 3 to 5 cups of java per day reduces the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease at a rate of 15 percent.
Conclusions from the study also show that by drinking more coffee, you’re lowering your likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases further. Also, the study didn’t show any link between higher caffeine consumption to an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Research shows there’s an inverse relationship between consuming coffee and diabetes. After assessing data from a study, result findings indicated that there’s a significant inverse relationship between consuming coffee and the likelihood of developing diabetes. Study results show that the likelihood of developing diabetes had a 6 percent decrease for every cup of coffee taken daily. Those taking 5 cups of java daily had a reduced risk of 29 percent.
There’s evidence linking coffee consumption to a reduced risk of developing some cancers. After assessing several studies on the relationship between consuming coffee and certain cancers, it’s clear that there’s no direct relationship between taking caffeine and developing cancer. The studies found that there’s an inverse link between consuming caffeine and developing some cancers.
Initially, there was evidence showing that coffee has a link to a reduced likelihood of developing liver cancer. After further analysis, research findings indicated that there’s a notable linear response link between consuming coffee and the likelihood of developing cancer. The analysis involved stratified sampling using variables such as gender and geographic region shows similar results among individual subgroups. Thus, it’s suggested that consuming coffee has an inverse association with the risk of liver cancer.
Is Consuming Coffee Good For Your Health?
Although it’s safe to drink coffee for most people, it’s not advised to drink coffee excessively. You need to be cautious about the amount of coffee you’re drinking daily. Thus, it’s also necessary to discuss the negative effects of consuming excessive coffee including:
- Affects sleep
There’s sufficient evidence indicating that caffeine intake, especially late in the evening, can have a negative effect on your sleep. A study involving giving participants a caffeine dosage of 400 mg either immediately before sleeping, 3 hours before sleeping, or 6 hours before sleeping showed that there was a major negative effect on sleep. Existing research findings show that coffee can remain active in the body system for as much as 9 hours. Thus, avoid drinking coffee 7 to 9 hours before sleeping as it might affect your sleep.
- Causes anxiety
Although drinking coffee may increase vigilance and alertness, there’s evidence showing that excessive coffee consumption may cause agitation, restlessness, and anxiety. Research shows that taking low doses of caffeine reduces anxiety and enhances hedonic tones. Also, research shows that taking high doses of caffeine increases intense arousal, jitteriness, nervousness, and anxiety. You’ve probably drunk excessive coffee and felt quite jittery, something that’s potentially bad. Thus, research shows it’s only safe to drink coffee moderately.
How long is caffeine active in the body system?
Research shows that caffeine’s half-life is about 4 to 6 hours. Thus, taking double espresso in the morning will still feel like you’ve just taken a single shot of espresso by noon. Even though it only takes about 45 minutes for caffeine to get absorbed into the body system, it may take 1 or 2 days for caffeine to leave your body completely. Regardless of the duration that caffeine remains in the body, its health benefits are remarkable when consumed moderately.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee
Is it good to take coffee? After reviewing scientific evidence, it’s clear that drinking coffee moderately has benefits such as improved memory recall, vigilance, mood, and alertness. However, drinking coffee excessively can cause some negative effects such as restlessness, jitteriness, and anxiety.
Moreover, there’s sufficient evidence linking coffee intake to enhanced stamina and physical performance. Also, coffee reduces perceived fatigue and soreness in muscles during and after exercise. Even more interesting is that there’s data showing that consuming coffee is associated to a reduced likelihood of developing conditions such as diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiovascular disease among others.
Overall, the benefits of drinking coffee outweigh its side effects so long as you’re drinking it moderately.