The Good and the Bad: How Does Coffee Affect A Person’s Well-being?

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As we all know, almost everything we do requires us to use a lot of energy. Students and working professionals alike, we all get drained from trying to get through every task assigned to us. The good thing is we have a temporary source of energy refill: Coffee! 

I can totally attest to that as I could not even keep count on the amount of papers, projects, and assignments I was able to finish because coffee was there to give me the much needed energy boosts. The energy-giving capabilities of this bitter beverage will never cease to amaze me, but what amazes me even more is the fact that its benefit to humans is not only limited to providing energy boosts. Yes. You’ve read it right! Coffee is more than just the typical energy drink, and if you are interested in knowing more, scroll down and read on!

What are the benefits of coffee?

  1. Helps controlling one’s weight

This may be surprising for some, but yes. Coffee can indeed help in managing one’s weight. A meta-analysis of 12 studies revealed that males, in particular, may benefit from increasing the amount of coffee they drink since it results in reducing body fat. Another research came up with the same result, but in contrast with the meta-analysis, they found that decreased body fat was more particular to women.

  1. A healthier heart

Apparently, coffee is not just good for filling up empty stomachs. This bitter-tasting beverage also improves heart health! One research suggests that consuming three to five cups of coffee a day results in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 15%. In addition to that, a study review concluded that an increase in coffee consumption is directly linked to lower chances of experiencing heart failure. 

  1. Better performance in sports

If there is one community that can benefit from coffee’s energy-giving function, it would probably be the community of athletes. Apart from consuming electrolyte drinks, athletes also use coffee as an ergogenic aid to help them better their performance and boost their levels of energy. One research revealed that coffee consumption directly links to enhancing an older adult’s gaiting speed and their overall bodily performance. Another study review demonstrated that a person’s reduction in perceived exertion and enhancement of endurance are directly linked to coffee consumption prior to performing various physical activities or exercise.

  1. Lowers cancer risk

Coffee is a rich source of Hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are what fight harmful free radicals, which can inflict great damage on our bodies if their numbers grow a lot more than what our body can tolerate. With that said, several studies suggest that coffee consumption lowers the risk of acquiring chronic diseases and certain types of cancer such as skin cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and liver cancer. 

In addition to that, apart from liver cancer, consuming four cups of coffee daily was proven to be effective in reducing the risk of acquiring chronic liver diseases by a whopping 71%. 

  1. Lowers depression risk

Coffee consumption also appears to aid in reducing the risk of developing depression. One study review revealed that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop depression than those who do not drink the said beverage. The said review found out that the capacity of caffeine to prevent receptors in people’s brains from tying up with a chemical that causes exhaustion and depression as well as coffee’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory attributes are possibly responsible for its beneficial effects on a person’s mental health.

  1. A healthier brain

Apart from lowering the risk of depression, coffee is also found to be effective in decreasing the risk of certain brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Multiple studies revealed that regular and an increase in coffee intake lowers the risk of developing both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. More so, a 2020 research study found that drinking coffee is effective in decelerating the progress of Parkinson’s disease’s motor symptoms. 

  1. Decreases the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes

Since coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, regularly drinking this bitter-tasting beverage is also directly linked to lower chances of acquiring Type 2 diabetes. Why? The antioxidants found in coffee have the possibility to influence a person’s metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and metabolism, which are directly linked to the development of the mentioned chronic health condition. 

If you are reading this, then you are probably thinking that you have already reached the last part of this article. But that is not the case. The title of this write-up says “The Good and the Bad.” And now that you are already aware of coffee’s health benefits, it is now time to learn about the negatives of consuming too much of this energy-giving beverage.

What are the dangers of too much coffee intake?

  1. Miscarriage

Even though consuming coffee is not totally prohibited for pregnant women, it could still pose a threat to their babies, especially if they will not control their coffee intake. Multiple studies found that expecting mothers who drink an abnormal amount of coffee daily are prone to experiencing miscarriage and having still births. 

  1. Problems in the digestive system

Coffee is also a helpful laxative that can accelerate colon activity. However, since the beverage can act like a laxative, drinking a large amount of it can result in problematic bowel movements. 

  1. Addiction (kinda)

Although coffee addiction does not affect individuals the way drug addiction does, too much consumption of this beverage can still lead to unhealthy caffeine dependency. A research study demonstrated that people who consume a large amount of coffee on a regular and daily basis experienced drowsiness, headache, mood disturbances, and low alertness following a 16-hour coffee fasting.  

  1. Increased heart rate

It is common knowledge that a high level of coffee intake may result in palpitations, which could cause inconvenience to those who experience it. Individuals who experience it may have a hard time in performing their daily activities due to the discomfort palpitation brings. 

  1. Insomnia

Our bodies process every food and beverage we consume differently. Thus, there will be people who will have a hard time sleeping especially if they drink coffee two to three hours before their bedtime. An increased risk in insomnia also has a linkage with drinking higher doses of coffee. 

  1. Increased risk of experiencing anxiety and panic attacks

Coffee is not only known for its energy-providing attributes. It can also improve an individual’s level of alertness when consumed with moderation. However, problems may arise if one fails to monitor and control his or her coffee intake. One study concluded that drinking 1,000 mg or more on a daily basis resulted in the development of anxiety symptoms such as body jitters and nervousness. Another research demonstrated that high caffeine intake is not advisable for people with anxiety because it can result in them experiencing panic attacks.

Ways to avoid the risks

  1. Self discipline

Putting a limit to one’s caffeine intake can surely help them in the long run. Coffee may have its fair share of health benefits, but as mentioned so far, it can also be addicting to the point where people depend on it in order to function properly.

  1. Look for coffee alternatives

Beverages such as tea, chocolate drink, or lemon drink can be good alternatives to coffee. Why? Similar to coffee, these beverages also contain high levels of antioxidants, and the good thing is: they contain less caffeine.

  1. Be active

While working on exhausting tasks, try exercising instead of depending on coffee for energy refills. Taking short breaks and going for a walk can help in mind stimulation, which is beneficial in maintaining one’s productivity.

  1. Stretch

Similar to walking or taking short jogs, stretching also works in terms of staying awake. It helps in making one feel relaxed and refreshed at the same time. Plus, unlike coffee, stretching is free! 

  1. Find time to get enough sleep

Nothing will make one fully energized other than sleeping for an adequate amount of time. And getting enough sleep on a daily basis increases one’s productivity, which in turn could result in finishing tasks without working for another hour or two.

Conclusion

Undeniably, coffee can contribute to the improvement of one’s well-being, however, as the saying goes, “…too much of everything is as bad as too little.” So, one must learn how to have enough control and discipline over anything they do, be it their food and drink consumption or anything else entirely. 

Thank you for reading. I hope you learned something!

For further information, refer to the links below:

https://www.emedicinehealth.com/why_is_coffee_bad_for_you/article_em.htm

https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-withdrawal-symptoms-top-ten

https://www.verywellmind.com/caffeine-addiction-4157287

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