The pro’s and cons of coffee
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The pro’s and cons of coffee

I adore coffee: it makes it easier to work late and concentrate, all while warming me up with it’s hot goodness. My personal favorites are the Christmas Blend from Starbucks (so yes, during the winter period, my Starbucks expenses rise exponentially), cappuccino with an extra splash of espresso, a good flat white and everything with chocolate, like chocochino’s (Bagels and Beans has a great one!) or coffee mocha or wiener melange. Since I try to only eat ‘useful’ calories, I may only have one of those coffee’s a day. If I want more coffee, I have to drink it black.

Let’s start with the negatives

Sleep

There are some obvious downsides to drinking coffee. The first one can be read in Sleepy time! How to sleep better and is the fact that caffeine has a negative impact on your sleep. The caffeine starts working within 10 minutes and reaches it’s top after 45 minutes, but it still takes about 4-6 hours for the caffeine to leave the body again. This is why drinking coffee in the evening is not a good idea, depending on how late you want to go to bed.

Sugar and fat

The way I like coffee is also an easy way to get way more calories in then you’d expect. To get an idea, the medium size cappuccino ‘grande’ with whole milk is about 140 calories! If you are a frequent coffee drinker, this can add up quickly. This is also the case if you drink normal coffee with milk and sugar. Although it won’t contain as much calories, I know many people that can easily drink up to 8 cups a day and then it adds up quickly. The sugar will also spike your energy levels, which can create a sugar craving a while after, making you eat.  However, black coffee has no calories and you can drink as much as you want calorie-wise.

This is, unless you are a child or pregnant! Caffeine can have negative effects on pregnant women and their babies and on the development of children. Therefore, drinking coffee in these cases is not recommended.

Bad cholesterol, liver problems and temporarily higher blood pressure.

In addition to the things you add, coffee also contains substances that can add to your LDL-cholestrol levels, which is the bad kind that will clog your arteries. Of course, this will take a lot of coffee, but it can increase the risks of heart diseases. In case of lots of coffee, your liver will also be struggling, since some things in coffee are ‘toxic’, which will make your liver work way harder to get rid of it. It will also temporarily increase your blood pressure, so if it is high already, it could damage your arteries. However, when you drink coffee on a day to day basis, having two to four cups a day should not be a problem, even when you have high blood pressure. However, you should always consult your doctor in case of high blood pressure, since it is a serious issue!

The come down

After the boost of energy you get from coffee, it goes down again as well. This will cause more tiredness than you experienced before and causes less concentration. Another thing is that habituation will also happen, meaning you will need more and more coffee to experience the same results as the first time you drank coffee. This also leads us to the next point: addiction.

Addiction

As mentioned earlier, some people drink gallons of that magical black liquid. That is because of it’s addictive properties. The addiction can prevent you from drinking other things, but when you want to stop, you’ll have to go through withdrawal. This can cause headaches, hunger or no hunger at all, stomach aches, shivering and more. These are about the same symptoms when you drink to much caffeine. Not something to look forward to.

Anxiety

It also can have a special effect on people with anxiety attacks. Since it’s an artificial way to make the heart beat faster, the brain can also recognize it as a panic attack, which can start the actual process of having an actual attack. This is why I would not recommend drinking coffee when you’re already anxious or when you are going to be in a situation where you can’t lose the extra energy quickly.

 

Other problematic noises in the health-community.

It is also said that coffee can influence the likelihood of getting certain types of cancer. However, the amounts of the substances that are carcinogenic are very little in coffee and you should drink about 30 cups a day for it to become influential on your health. For me, this amount is as little that I don’t even really consider it, but I wouldn’t want to withheld information from you, so here you go!

Another thing is that it is still debated whether or not coffee has a diuretic effect on the body. Science says it does not, but a lot of people still disagree. This could be, because coffee does stimulate your kidneys, which makes you lose the liquid quicker, but this does not mean you would not reap the benefits of hydration.

Another, more positive rumor is that coffee is said to stimulate your body to burn fat. The reason why this is still mentioned in the ‘bad’ paragraphs is that this is not proven by science and should not be taken into account while reviewing the properties of coffee.

 

And now, the good part: why coffee is awesome (yes, I am human and thus biased)

Energyboost!

Although the boost does not last forever, it is a great way to start up! The caffeine kicks up your body and brain, which can give you just the little boost you need to wake up, start working, concentrate on your exam or to keep you going for just that little while longer when you need to.

No calories in black coffee

Unless you are like me, coffee is a no calorie substance and perfect if you want to watch your figure or even diet, but your done with drinking water all day. As mentioned earlier, it is not proven that it helps you burn fat. However, you could of course drink a cup before exercising, making you’re work-out just that little bit more efficient.

It lowers your blood pressure in the long run

Huh? I thought you just said it heightens blood pressure? Yes, but temporarily! In the long run, it actually lowers your blood pressure, which is a good thing for most people! For me personally, this is the part where I need to be careful, since my blood pressure is already quite low and it can cause me to get dizzy sometimes.

It contains good stuff!

One cup actually contains

  • Riboflavin/B2 (11% of the RDA)
  • Pantothenic acid/B5 (6% of the RDA)
  • Both manganese and potassium (3% of the RDA)
  • Magnesium and niacin/B3 (2% of the RDA)

And although this can seem a little meager, with the recommended 4 cups you already had 44% of your daily B2 intake!

To add to that, it also contains antioxidants, which will stop free radicals in your body from making you sick. This can also be a factor in fighting depression (there was a high correlation between inflammations and depression found in multiple studies) and anti-aging.

This can also be a factor in making good HDL-cholestrol, counteracting the earlier mentioned bad LDL-cholestrol. Both studies seemed pretty good to me, so I decided to include them both in this article. I have heard more about it having HDL cholesterol, which makes me lean towards believing this, but since I love coffee, this could also be a case of the confirmation bias and me seeking information that I want to hear.

 

Your stomach will thank you

Coffee also contains fibers, which help your intestines to function properly. One cup contains about 1,8 grams of fiber, whilst the recommended daily intake is about 20 to 38 grams. So it’s not much, but every little bits help, right?

Coffee also stimulates the muscles in your stomach, making sure that food is processed faster and diminishing the risk of intestinal problems. It also stimulates the kidneys, making sure water is processed equally as quick, making the problem of constipation less of a risk. Studies have also shown that coffee stimulated the growth of good bacteria in the intestines, making you less vulnerable to all kinds of diseases and it is also found that the risks of depression decrease thanks to those good bacteria.

 

To conclude

Like with everything in life: balance is key! Drinking lots of coffee can damage your health, but two to four cups a day wouldn’t generally be a problem, it could even be beneficial to your health! This is also all with black coffee in mind, adding milk, sweeteners or sugar changes the pro/con rate, you should look that up for your specific drink (there are about 40 kinds of coffee I could find, so good luck!

Now, this is all written with the ‘standard’ person and situation in mind and I would not recommend people that are pregnant or are under the age of at least 16 to drink coffee. If you have other health-related issues or you notice negative effects of coffee, please consult your doctor, since I don’t know your situation nor am I in any way, shape or form a medical professional.

Personally, I think I have found the most important benefit of coffee, which is that I find it delicious and it makes me happy and warm and cosy and energetic, which I obviously like.

Did you have any other pro’s or cons on coffee and do you drink it a lot? Please let me know in the comments below and like this post if you like me to do more of these ‘health’ articles!

Lots of love,

Lisa

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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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