As a beverage and a product that is consumed worldwide, coffee is the subject of frequent controversy and debate around its properties. The benefits and properties of coffee are on everyone’s lips, and opinions do not always coincide in the same direction. We will try, with this article, to throw some light on the lights and shadows, the benefits and prejudices of coffee.
We are going to emphasize the impact that our favourite drink has on health. The properties and benefits of coffee have a special reflection as a preventive tool since it prevents the appearance of numerous diseases, as we will see below.
Properties of coffee
Having done this first introductory review, we will now look at the pros and cons of coffee.
- It contains a large number of antioxidants, especially chlorogenic acids. It is one of the main sources of antioxidants in the world.
- It acts as a natural laxative.
- It stimulates the nervous system (thanks to its caffeine content).
- Caffeine helps to reactivate circulation. Coffee has numerous vasodilatory properties.
- Its continued consumption can diminish the appetite.
- It is rich in polyphenols, niacin and trace elements.
- It also contains diterpenes (they help to increase “bad” cholesterol, although they also help to prevent some types of cancer. Its presence can be reduced by filtering the coffee before drinking it).
- It is low in calories.
Benefits of coffee
The benefits of drinking coffee are multiple. Not surprisingly, it is one of the healthiest drinks in the world, as long as it is consumed in moderation.
- Improves short-term sports performance. Thanks again to caffeine.
- We must not forget either the properties of coffee to lose weight, thanks to its diuretic components.
- It improves the state of mind. Coffee is a powerful ally against depression.
- It helps with digestion.
- It reduces the risk of suffering from diabetes.
- It prevents and/or delays the appearance of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- Contributes to improving and strengthening memory.
- Do you remember that we have talked before about the antioxidant properties of coffee? For the same reason, coffee helps to delay the symptoms of ageing.
- The properties of green coffee to lose weight are well known.
- It helps to fight cellulite, thanks to the beneficial properties of coffee for circulation.
- Diterpenes have proven anti-cancer properties.
The benefits of decaffeinated coffee are also worth mentioning. If you want to know the properties of decaffeinated coffee, the best thing you can do is read the following article: Decaffeinated Coffee: Properties.
We must also take into account the origin of the raw material: the properties of natural coffee are always more interesting than those of coffee subjected to some industrial process. For this reason, if it can be prepared with some of the previous filtering (in case we are not sure of its origin), much better. To cite an example: coffee made without a filter contains higher levels of cholesterol.
And now that we know the beneficial effects of coffee let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
Harmful to coffee
And to finish, as the main negative effects of coffee, we can point out the following:
- It can be addictive. Yes, as you hear: there is a clinically established pathology called Caffeine Dependency Syndrome. It only occurs in cases of abuse (more than 4-5 cups every day for an extended period of time), but it must be taken into account. And besides, the more coffees you drink, the less effect the caffeine will have and the more cups you will need to drink. It is a negative spiral that is best not to enter. 2-3 cups of coffee a day should be enough for anyone.
- It can create a high level of stress and anxiety.
- It can cause mood swings and irritability.
- Excessive consumption can alter coronary activity: palpitations and hypertension are some of the symptoms.
- Alterations in digestive behaviour: feelings of excess or lack of hunger.
- Diarrhoea or constipation (derived from its properties as a natural laxative).
- The diuretic properties of coffee mean that if you drink it in large quantities, you will have to go to the bathroom several times a day. This can increase the risk of suffering from dehydration.
- It can cause bad breath, but not because of the coffee itself, but because of the mixture of coffee with other substances.
- Its consumption is not recommended during pregnancy. For more information, check our post about coffee and pregnancy.
It should be noted that all these harmful effects of coffee only appear if the drink is abused. With moderate consumption of coffee, there is no apparent risk in healthy adults.