For most of us, our day doesn’t truly start until we’ve had our first cup of coffee in the morning!
Coffee has been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years. It has exploded in popularity in the last century. Read on for a quick history of how coffee came to be so popular, learn some of the benefits and drawbacks to drinking coffee, and dispel some common myths about this drink.
Is Coffee Good for You?
According to recent studies, coffee can be good for you and is safe if used in moderation. In addition to giving you more energy, increasing your performance, and burning fat, coffee contains many nutrients that are essential to a healthy life such as Manganese, Potassium, Vitamins B2, B3, and B5. It may also help reduce the risk of some diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, some types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and lower your risk of stroke.
Is coffee good for you or bad?
As with any food or drink, the results from scientific studies on coffee have shifted back and forth over time. Yes, some studies show many health benefits and advantages for coffee drinkers.
Although, there are other studies that warn against harmful side effects and health issues that could arise from drinking coffee.
Why is coffee good for you?
Coffee is said to have the following benefits if used in moderation:
- Source of Vitamins
- Increases Your Energy Levels
- Increases Physical Performance
- Helps Burn Fat to Lose Weight
- Lowers Risk of Some Diseases and Health Issues
- Helps You Stay Focused
- Helps Fight Depression & Improve Your Mindset
Why is coffee bad for you?
For many years researchers and medical professionals have pointed out the negative aspects of drinking coffee is from the ingestion of caffeine.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural drug. It stimulates the central nervous system of the human body which influences your heart and brain. Caffeine is found in plants and most commonly derived from coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans.
Negative effects of coffee
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Inability to Sleep
- Upset Stomach
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Short Term Boost of Energy Followed by a Rapid Loss of Energy (crash)
Coffee in moderation
The biggest thing to keep in mind with coffee, or any food or drink, is that if you do choose to drink it, do so in moderation. Much of this will depend on you knowing how your bodies will react to it, and will also come down to your taste and preference.
Too much of anything can cause damage to your body, so keep that in mind before you drink too many cups throughout the day! In general, according to an article on the National Library of Medicine (PubMed.gov), moderate caffeine consumption is considered safe.
History of Coffee
Coffee’s exact discovery date is still a mystery, although some records trace it back to Ethiopia.
The first records of widespread cultivation of coffee as a crop come from the Arabian Peninsula in the 15th century. From there, it spread to Europe, where the first recorded coffee house opened in the year 1645.
As European nations colonized the Americas, they brought several staple crops (including coffee) with them as both a food source and an economic driver. By this time, competition with Arabia had grown fierce, and the New World was the perfect place to grow massive harvests.
Over the course of the 1700s, French colonies supplied up to half of the world’s coffee supply. Coffee growing also became an important crop for Central and South America.
In the 20th century, coffee exploded as a popular social drink. “Coffee breaks” became part of the normal workday. The drink also became an essential part of any restaurant menu.
This lead to the rise of coffee chains with a location on every corner. This development also changed a relatively inexpensive drink into a pricey “experience” with unique blends, flavors, and combinations. Even stopping on the way to work for a $5 cup of coffee became the cool thing to do.
Types of coffee
While there are many types of coffee, two are the most widely known.
- Arabica – This is the most common type and has a sweeter flavor and is less acidic.
- Robusta – Has a more bitter taste and is stronger usually having more caffeine.
Types of coffee drinks
There is a huge variety of coffee drinks. Here are some of the most popular.
- Black – Just plain coffee with nothing added
- Espresso – Highly concentrated coffee with a very strong taste
- Double Espresso (doppio)
- Americano – Basically adding water to Espresso to dilute it some
- Macchiato – Has a little foam on top and a shot of Espresso
- Latte – The most popular drink these days includes steamed milk, foam, and Espresso
- Cappuccino – Latte with less milk and possible some flavoring added
- Irish – Black coffee with whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream on top
Process of making coffee
The process of making coffee is simple and widely known. Coffee beans are roasted and ground up, then brewed using one of several methods with near-boiling water. Depending on the quality of the coffee bean and the brewing process utilized, coffee can be light or dark, with lighter or stronger flavors.
Even for those who choose to brew their own coffee at home, flavored beans, creamers, and other additives have turned a simple cup of coffee into a complex art form.
Fair Trade coffee
Over time, harsh working conditions have plagued the industry. The rising trend of “fair trade” coffee ensures that coffee beans are sourced from companies that offer safe, fair working conditions, and who engage in ethical and responsible business practices.
This has led to an additional layer of pride over the chosen blend or company consumers buy from. Coffee is imported and exported from all over the world.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee
Studies have consistently shown that the body and mind can benefit greatly from regular doses of coffee.
- Coffee improves your energy levels and mental focus. This is one of the most well-known positive side effects of coffee. It has even been played up for laughs in pop culture.
Caffeine is a stimulant and when taken into your body it increases your energy. The right amount can provide a much-needed energy boost, and even help with improved brain function.
- Coffee improves your overall health. Caffeine has other helpful side effects. It can help your body burn fat, and can help your muscles perform better.
- Coffee contains additional vitamins and minerals. These “micronutrients” are an essential part of a healthy diet, and coffee naturally contains numerous vitamins and minerals that can improve how your body functions.
Coffee (or any substance) should never be your sole source of nutrition, but in moderation, it can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
- Coffee can stave off disease. Nutrients found in coffee can help your body stay healthier longer. Some studies have shown that coffee can help lower your risk for conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, both of which affect your nervous system and brain function.
The combined benefits to your body and mind can lessen your risk of contracting these diseases. It has even been shown to decrease the risk for Type 2 diabetes, strokes, and cancer.
Does coffee help with weight loss?
In addition to the overall health benefits of drinking coffee, it has become a tool for those seeking to lose weight. The caffeine in coffee can help your body burn fat, which means you might lose weight and thus decrease your risk for a number of poor health conditions.
It has also been shown that coffee can increase metabolism, which aids in the fat-burning processes your body naturally undergoes.
Should you drink coffee before working out?
Coffee can be used as an effective tool in combination with a moderate diet and fitness regimen. Many athletes, bodybuilders, and general enthusiasts use coffee as a low-calorie alternative to energy drinks that are otherwise laden with sugars and chemicals.
For example, the process of “fasted cardio” typically involves going for a walk or run first thing in the morning before eating anything. This type of physical activity can help your body burn fat more effectively, and (coupled with a responsible calorie deficit) can result in weight loss.
Since “fasted cardio” means skipping anything with calories, those that practice this regimen will start with coffee or tea to provide an additional energy boost alongside the aforementioned health benefits.
As with any aspect of physical fitness, however, no one piece will magically answer everything. Drinking coffee should be one part of a fitness journey, along with a sensible diet and smart fitness goals.
That being said, coffee drinkers do seem to gain an edge over those that do not drink it.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
Bulletproof Coffee was developed by an entrepreneur named Dave Asprey and designed to be a quick and effective alternative to breakfast.
The goal of Bulletproof Coffee is to give your body energy and cause ‘fat-burning’ via the intake of a combination of nutrients, caffeine, and fats. All this is based on the principles of the Keto diet.
Bulletproof Coffee became such a popular item that it has gone well beyond a brand name with people creating their own at-home versions of the brew.
How to make bulletproof coffee
Mix into your coffee coconut oil ( or MCT oil), and Ghee (butter)! Yes, butter in your coffee! Some people also add other items such as salt & cinnamon to make their version of bulletproof coffee.
Risks of Drinking Coffee
Any food or drink can be harmful to the body if consumed to excess, or if you know you will have an adverse reaction but continue drinking it anyway. Some people handle coffee better than others, and knowing how your body will react to anything is critical to monitoring and maintaining your personal health.
Most of these drawbacks only apply to those that drink large amounts of coffee every day, but anyone who does not know how coffee will affect them may be susceptible to some of these conditions.
Most of these negative side effects revolve around the accumulated presence of caffeine in the body. Caffeine in and of itself is not a harmful substance, but too much can cause serious problems if left unchecked.
These are some proven negatives to drinking coffee:
- Coffee can become addicting. Remember the caffeine floating around in every cup? That adds up and can become an addictive substance in your body.
For those that drink excessive amounts, even a few missed cups a day can cause withdrawal symptoms similar to alcohol or drugs. This can become a dangerous condition when the body cannot function without caffeine.
- Coffee can cause heart problems. Increased caffeine levels can increase your blood pressure, which puts an additional strain on your heart.
Symptoms like a rapid pulse and increased heart rate can befall those who drink too much coffee either in one sitting or as a cumulative effect over time.
- Coffee can affect your mood and even your sleeping habits. Coffee can make you more alert, but it can also keep you awake at night. Many of us know that we can’t drink coffee too late at night, and for good reason.
Caffeine that has not been fully processed by the body can lead to anxiety, jittery behavior, and insomnia. Your body and mind cannot slow down, so they continue running at high speeds despite the need to rest.
- Coffee can make some existing conditions worse. Caffeine can also make other preexisting conditions worse, like osteoporosis and high cholesterol.
- Coffee can become an unhealthy drink with too many additives. This is a negative that’s hidden in plain sight. For those that don’t “take their coffee black,” this can mean mountains of sugars and fats poured into the body with every cup.
Even simple sugar and creamer can cause issues even in short term use, leading to weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, and many other problems.
Side effects of coffee in females
Pregnancy – Small amounts of caffeine is generally considered ok for pregnant women but not more than two cups of coffee in a day. Some studies have shown too much caffeine could increase the risk of miscarriage’s and premature birth. Not drinking coffee is considered the best choice if you are pregnant.
In addition to the negatives of drinking coffee discussed earlier some studies suggest that too much coffee can cause Infertility and Cyst Formation.
Myths about Coffee
Coffee is often taken for granted, and so are the myths and misconceptions that have persisted over time. Sometimes beliefs about coffee are simply outdated by more current research.
Some Coffee beliefs are more stubborn than others. Here are a few myths about coffee that have mostly been disproved.
Does coffee sober you up?
One common belief is that, when a person is hungover from drinking too much alcohol, a fresh pot of coffee will perk them right up and take away any sluggishness from a night of partying.
And while it’s true that your attention may be brighter, your body and mind may still be impaired from the alcohol still being processed by your system.
What’s more, studies have shown that the combination of too much caffeine and alcohol together can cause major health conditions, up to and including death.
Does coffee stunt your growth?
This is nothing more than an urban legend told to dissuade people from drinking too much coffee. There is no scientific basis for this notion that we could find.
Coffee and boiling water
So what is the real thing about coffee and boiling water? Coffee should be made with hot water to ensure that it’s properly prepared, but boiling water can actually strip away some of the healthy flavorings found in coffee beans.
Water that is too hot can leave coffee with a burnt taste due to the burning of some of the oils found in ground beans. That may not necessarily be harmful, but it can certainly affect the taste.
Does coffee cause dehydration?
Caffeine and other chemicals can cause dehydration, but only when consumed in excess and in isolation. Coffee is mostly water anyway, which cancels out the dehydration factor present from the caffeine in each cup.
However, you should always compliment coffee with regular water to ensure that the body remains hydrated in general.
Is dark coffee stronger?
A darker roast can actually burn off the caffeine naturally found in coffee, and extended roasting can lead to a more bitter flavor.
This may not be a health-related problem, but it definitely affects the quality and taste of the finished product. People do have varied opinions on if a darker roast is bad for your health.
How much caffeine in a cup of coffee?
Does all coffee has the same amount of caffeine in it? No, different brands of coffee and different beans have different levels of caffeine. There are many factors.
A good range is that a cup of brewed coffee (eight ounces) contains between 95 and 200 mg of caffeine according to the Journal of Food Science.
It also depends on if it is brewed coffee or instant that you are drinking. Instant coffee can have less caffeine than brewed.
What is cold brew coffee?
Cold brew coffee is a method of extracting coffee from coffee beans that uses ‘cold’ water and not boiling water. This methods uses time to make the coffee instead of the hot water.
Most people tend to say that cold brew coffee is sweeter and has a different taste.
What is siphon coffee? Siphon coffee is a different way of brewing coffee that utilizes two different containers to make the coffee. Transferring the liquid from one container to the other using a technique called Siphonage gives this coffee its name.
The process has been around for about two hundred years.
Is dark roast coffee bad for you?
Some people think that dark roasted coffee has a smoky and more bitter taste so they conclude that the extra roasting of the coffee beans makes it bad for you.
What does the science say? Research into this subject was done and published by in the Journal of Medicinal Food titled “Cellular Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Coffee Extracts with Different Roasting Levels“.
The results of the study said that there is not much difference in caffeine levels between dark and light roasting but light roasts provide you more antioxidants which is a good thing. If you don’t drink much coffee it really won’t matter much in my opinion so pick the one you like best.
Fun coffee facts
- Coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity only trailing oil.
- The coffee bean is a seed and is often called a cherry. The “cherry” is considered a fruit.
- Europe imports more coffee than the United States.
- Johann Sebastian Bach, in 1735 wrote a song about coffee.
- Coffee shops show up in Turkey as far back as the early 1500s.
- Coffee is a $100 billion dollar a year industry.
- Americans spend (on average) over $1000 a year on coffee.
- Coffee is only grown in two states. California and Hawaii. Puerto Rico also grows coffee.
- Coffee has been banned in the past because it was said to produce radical thinking.
- Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer.
Who doesn’t like a good quote! Here are a few of the best coffee quotes we came across.
Most people tend to agree that the benefits of coffee far outweigh its drawbacks. Many of the negative myths surrounding coffee and caffeine have been disproven or at least made clearer by scientific research and increased experience and knowledge.
Moderation is best in everything, including coffee but that doesn’t mean that coffee should become a forbidden substance in your life.
After all, coffee has kept the world awake and functioning for thousands of years!