What Are the Benefits of Coffee?
October 1, 2021
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. With 4 major beans including Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excela, each with their own distinct flavor profiles and a wide variety of how to brew and serve it, there’s no real question as to why the drink is so popular worldwide. Over the years a lot of information has come out about coffee and its benefits and drawbacks. There is a direct link to coffee’s popularity and the release of information regarding coffee’s pros and cons. It is important to note that the healthy intake of caffeine is between 75 to 500 mg per day, but 100 to 400 mg is the sweet spot for average individuals.
Keeps You Awake and Alert
One of the biggest draws to coffee is the energy boost it gives. Many people use coffee as fuel to start their day. The magic (really the science) behind it is caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up the sending of messages in our brain. In addition, it also blocks the adenosine receptors in our brains, which is the part of the brain that makes us progressively sleepy during the day, hence the energized feeling after drinking it.
Coffee also makes you more alert, more accurate, it helps improve concentration. It does in a similar fashion to how it keeps you awake. In a series of tests, doctors came to the conclusion that caffeine, with the consumption of at least 75 mg, results in higher levels of attention even when doing more complex tasks. These tests were done on average-build adults in the US.
Still touching the subject of being alert, studies have shown that coffee drinking results in faster reaction times. From all the tests, it was concluded that at 75 mg and above (up to 500 mg) there was a significant difference in reaction time. Any extra intake of caffeine did not speed up reaction time and resulted in an eventual crash in energy. This is due to caffeine sending signals to the brain, telling it to secrete adrenaline.
There are many claims that coffee outright stops diseases. While this isn’t true, it can help prevent some, namely liver disease and cancer. This is due to coffee containing antioxidants. Antioxidants essentially slow down the damage done to cells caused by external unstable molecules that our bodies produce based on our environment.
Blonde Robusta coffee has the most antioxidants, followed closely by blonde and then medium-roast Arabica coffee. In terms of what brings the most health benefits to you, you’d have to do your own research as everyone is different, and depending on any conditions you have, you might not get the same benefits from certain beans as someone else. A universal rule to follow if you have an average build is 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day to stay within the healthy consumption rate. Important detail, anything in excess is bad for health, this goes for coffee as there are a number of side effects to drinking too much, such as irritability and in extreme cases caffeine overdose (highly unlikely as you need to consume 10 grams in order to achieve this).
Helps with Depression Symptoms
It was rumored that coffee drinking helps with depression. There is research that shows that coffee drinkers tend to have less severe symptoms when they drink coffee. The most common symptoms of depression that coffee helps with include: lack of energy and difficulty concentrating.
As stated before, caffeine in healthy doses helps increase concentration and alertness levels. If using coffee to lessen these symptoms, it is important to remember to have your coffee at least an hour after you wake up. Your body naturally creates cortisol, the primary stress hormone (which also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation, and fear), in the morning till the evening, where it tapers off and adenosine instead floods your brain (to make you sleepy). Coffee also boosts your cortisol levels but it is important to let your body produce it naturally without any aid. Another note by experts is that coffee (to fight off depression symptoms) should only be used when the threat of being overwhelmed comes and to avoid drinking it at night.
Does Coffee Dehydrate You?
The short answer is no. This myth comes from the fact that coffee is a natural diuretic, meaning it makes you expel liquids and salts more often (basically you pee more). Dr. Daniel Vigil stated that “you won’t lose more fluid through urine than you take in by drinking a caffeinated beverage.” This doesn’t however give you the green light to drink more than the recommended amount of coffee per day.
Coffee brings several benefits, though not quite as grand as some sources make them out to be. As stated several times, the benefits only apply if drank in moderation, specifically up to 4 cups per day. Any more and health issues might arise due to a higher caffeine intake. For any office worker, there is a less talked about benefit, having a quick break to stand up from sitting all day and getting some time to yourself as you make your coffee. Other than that, helping people stay awake and focused when needed, plus having several health benefits (which you should couple with a healthy lifestyle), coffee is a great drink for all different types of people.