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Is Coffee Good or Bad for You?

Coffee has become a dominating drink in every culture these days.   There are new café around the corner every day.   Being a coffee nut, I try to find the balance between my enjoyment and health benefits it entails.   In my research, I managed to find and confirm certain health benefits related to coffee drinking, and at the same time, raise some cautions on this popular morning ritual.

There are many studies around the world conducted around the benefits of coffee, mainly stemming from its high antioxidant value, which protects our body at a cellular level. 

Below is a list of benefits discovered by researchers worth noting:

  • A study in the US conducted with 100,000 people found that there was an overall reduction in mortality with the group, with 20% reduction in men and 26% in women. This is a significant number not to be overlooked. This result is likely due to the high antioxidants found in coffee
  • Another study shows that coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes. The study advocates that 3-6 cups of coffee a day lowers type 2 diabetes risk by 23-50%. Even 1 cup can reduce such risk by 7%
  • Studies show that caffeine may boost neurogenerative or brain health
  • Coffee may protect our liver, decrease risk of cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver and liver fibrosis, as well as increase healthy liver enzymes
  • Coffee boosts energy and focus. Drinker may feel less tired, more alert to accomplish daily tasks. There may also be a short-term boost to cognitive function and mood.  Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases adrenaline, which helps with improving physical performance and endurance
  • Coffee boosts metabolism and fat burn, which can potentially be a weight loss aid. Studies have shown that 100mg of caffeine, or 1-2 cups of coffee can increase our metabolic rate by 8-10% and increase fat burn by 10-29%. Of course, this result can only be achieved with no sugar or dairy added to the coffee, and should include adequate exercise and a healthy diet

HOWEVER, this is not to say that you should just drink a lot of coffee, or that it is suitable for everyone. It is not. There are a few potential downsides that one should take note.

  • Coffee may cause anxiety, jitters (shaky hands, racing heart), and may increase nervous system strain.

    This, more often than not, is caused by over-consumption.
  • Coffee can cause insomnia. For those sensitive to caffeine effects, try and cut off latest by 3-4pm to ensure it will not affect your sleep
  • Coffee is mildly addictive. Ever tried to detox from coffee,  and got withdrawal symptoms like headache, fatigue and irritability? These side effects tend to be short lived and will go away in a few days
  • Coffee may cause digestive issues.  Coffee is acidic, and so can be hard on the digestive system. The acidity can potentially cause heartburn, stomach aches, nausea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Coffee can be toxic, but this toxicity is from the pesticides, which contain mycotoxins, commonly found in commercial blends
  • Coffee may increase blood pressure, albeit by a small amount (3-4mm/Hg). If you are a regular drinker, the effect will likely go away
  • Coffee contains compounds cafestol and kahweol, which can potentially stimulate LDL (bad) cholesterol production. If you suffer from high cholesterol, you can use paper filter to filter out these compounds. If you don’t have such problems, skip this step as these compounds have shown to have anti-cancer effects

Everything is about balancing between enjoyment, and how much / long you can enjoy. If you choose to drink coffee on a daily basis, stick to 1-2 cups a day, avoid adding sugar and milk (or use plant-based milks), and drink clean (organic) coffee.

The above content is for reference only, and does not constitute any advice or recommendation. Consult your medical practitioner or health expert for suitability.

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