There’s good news and bad news when it comes to drinking coffee, literally. People have been confused for years by reports stating that coffee is good (or bad) for you, and want a definitive answer. The trouble is, there is no definitive answer.
Coffee, the second most widely consumed drink in the US (after water), has both positive and negative effects on the human body. Here are ten things that happen to your body when you drink coffee every day.
Coffee can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that affects over 100 million Americans. It is linked to other diseases like heart and kidney failure, loss of vision, and potential amputation of extremities. Small wonder that anything you can do to decrease your risk is a good thing. Large scale studies have shown a correlation between drinking coffee every day and a lower risk of contracting diabetes. This is true even for decaffeinated coffee!
Coffee can increase cholesterol levels
On the other hand, if you’re watching your cholesterol, then coffee, or a specific kind of coffee, can be bad news for you. Coffee brewed through a filter (paper or otherwise) is fine. But if you drink coffee French pressed or have it Turkish style, there’s a particle called cafestol that remains in the drink. Cafestol can lead to elevated cholesterol and even heart disease. So if you love coffee and drink it every day, make the French press a special occasion and not a routine.
Coffee can aid in weight loss
For years, coffee has been associated with weight loss. Many diets let you drink coffee because it’s naturally low in calories and carbohydrates. But only if you drink it plain; it’s the creamer and sugar and added flavors that make coffee fattening. But caffeine can help you boost your metabolism, which will let you exercise longer. Caffeine also helps burn fat in the bloodstream. While it won’t work as a diet in itself, coffee can be part of your long term plan.
If you’re pregnant, coffee is bad for the baby
If you drink coffee every day and are expecting, you should really switch to decaf. Caffeine is bad for a growing fetus because it can’t process the caffeine you’re sharing with them. Because it doesn’t dissolve, it blocks other nutrients from being absorbed. This can lead to low birth weight and developmental problems in some cases. So, add coffee to the list of drinks (like soda and alcohol) that you should avoid for the duration of your pregnancy. It’s only nine months, you can do it!
Coffee can help protect against brain disease and boost your memory
Coffee is surprisingly good for the brain. It can help protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is due to particles called phenylindanes, which are made during the bean-roasting process. They can act as a shield against the proteins that cause diseases. Not only that, but the caffeine in coffee has been shown to affect long-term memory and make it easier to retain information.
Coffee can lead to caffeine addiction
The problem with caffeine, however, is the thing everyone knows: you can get addicted to it, and suffer from withdrawal if you quit drinking coffee abruptly. The thing is, your brain naturally produces a tiny amount of caffeine, but when you drink it, your body stops making it. The withdrawal happens between the time you stop drinking it and your body remembers to start making it again. So if you drink coffee, drink responsibly.
Coffee can make you more alert and less depressed
Drinking coffee has a major benefit: the caffeine increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which boost alertness and also mood. This is why coffee wakes you up. Also, studies on people with depression have shown that the more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to be depressed. This doesn’t mean coffee cures depression, but it can lessen the effects of feeling depressed.
Coffee can mess with your sleep patterns
The problem with coffee is that it takes a while to get out of your system once you drink it. So if you drink coffee after noon, you’re likely to still be affected by the caffeine in the evening. Many people drink coffee with caffeine in the morning and switch to decaf later in the day to get around this problem. This lets you get the energy boost early without regretting it at night. And while people with late night projects will drink coffee to keep them up, it’s not a good idea to do that on a regular basis.
Coffee gives you antioxidant benefits
There’s a small but growing list of superfoods that are high in antioxidants, and coffee happens to be on that list. There are 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during when coffee is roasted. The antioxidants in coffee protect your cells from free radical damage and diseases caused by oxidative stress such as cancer. It’s one of the best reasons for drinking coffee every day, in that you will get benefits from these antioxidants without even thinking about it.
Coffee can make you agitated
Drinking coffee every day has been shown to have some benefits (and some trade-offs), but there’s one question left to answer: what happens when you drink too much coffee? You can get overstimulated (also known as having the jitters) and even make yourself panic. The same ingredient that makes you alert also makes you hyperactive when taken in high doses. And yes, you can overdose on caffeine. While it may not kill you, it will overwork your body and mess up your mind. If you choose to drink coffee, know your limit.