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Some mornings we need a caffeine boost more than others. This is when many, including myself, turn to tasty coffee. As the caffeine flooded through my veins, I wondered, what does coffee do to our bodies?
Positive effects of coffee
1. Reduced risk for liver disease by up to ~40%!
Researchers from the United Kingdom looked at over 430,000 people and determined that participants who drank two cups of coffee a day had ~44% less chance of developing cirrhosis of the liver. The liver is essential in detoxifying the body and also assists in regulating bodily metabolism. This disease results in the scarring and eventual failure of the liver. (source)
2. Less likely to develop type II diabetes
A study published by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that coffee drinkers had a ~11% lower risk for type II diabetes. (source)
Dr. Bhupathiraju, the lead researcher on this study said the following about the study:
“Our findings confirm those of previous studies that showed that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk. Most importantly, they provide new evidence that changes in coffee consumption habit can affect type 2 diabetes risk in a relatively short period of time.”Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju
3. You burn more fat
The energy you get after drinking coffee is due to a change in your metabolism. A recent study demonstrated that people who drank caffeine before their workouts burned more fat. Caffeine was the only drug in this study to suggest an ergogenic effect. This is an increased capacity for work with the elimination of fatigue. Ingesting caffeine before workouts also helped the body burn more fat. (source)
4. Lower chances of colorectal cancer by ~20-50%!
Coffee consumption has been associated with 26% lower odds of developing colorectal cancer. A study published in 2016 by Schmit et. al showed that coffee consumption was inversely associated with colorectal cancer risks. It’s thought that this is because coffee contains many protective agents that alter the physiology of the colon. (source)
5. Alzheimer’s disease risk reduced by as much as 60%!
This terrible disease affects nearly 5.7 million adults in the U.S. alone with new victims added almost every minute. The research on caffeine’s effects on this disease is inconclusive. Many researchers suggest coffee could act as a therapeutic against Alzheimer’s disease (source), while other research has suggested it can make the symptoms worse (source). Both studies were well conducted but reached different results, so take this positive with a grain of salt.
6. It can help improve your long term memory
In 2014, researchers out of John’s Hopkins University demonstrated that a mug of freshly brewed coffee can actually help your long-term memory. Although caffeine tablets were utilized for the study, researchers assume the same result would be obtained through caffeinated beverages like coffee or tea. (source)
Negative effects of coffee
1. Thinning of bone marrow
Caffeine prevents the absorption of calcium into the bones. Over time and with excessive intake, this can increase your risks of osteoporosis. As you get older this means your bones may break easier. (source)
2. Increased blood pressure
Caffeine temporarily increases your body’s blood pressure. I cover this mechanism and talk about how caffeine works in my other article, so check that out!
The half-life of caffeine is about 6-8 hours. This means after that time, your body will still have half the original amount of caffeine in it. Because of this experts suggest not drinking caffeine 8-10 hours before bed. (source)
4. Worsen acid reflux or heartburn
Coffee acts in many people as a laxative. It does this by relaxing the intestinal sphincters and stimulating the relaxation of the stomach. It also promotes acid reflux which is extremely painful for those who deal with it. If you are someone who is affected by acid reflux or heartburn, reducing or staying away from coffee might be a good idea. (source)
5. Comes with high sugar
While brewing a cup at home allows you to alter sugar input, its hard to determine sugar in purchased drinks. For example, a Venti White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks has 67 grams of sugar! Current world health organization guidelines suggest staying under 24 grams of added sugar a day, so this is blowing way past those. For healthier options, make sure you look at the nutritional facts and stick to black coffee or a latte. (Starbucks nutrition information)
6. Cause or worsen anxiety and panic attacks
Numerous published research has demonstrated that drinking coffee can cause or worsen anxiety and panic attacks. The exact mechanism by how this occurs is not understood, but I would suggest staying away or taking smaller amounts of caffeine if you suffer from these disorders. (source)