A cup of coffee is enough to kick-start your day on a high note and give you the energy to last the whole day. You might even have a couple more throughout the day to keep you alert and raise your productivity to optimum levels. However, you may be wondering – is coffee good or bad for you? Coffee might actually be one of the healthiest beverages out there. Read on to find out why regularly taking coffee may be good for your health.
What is Coffee?
Coffee is a beverage that is made by infusing ground coffee beans. The coffee beans are actually the roasted seeds of a fruit called a coffee cherry. The coffee cherry grows on a plant genus known as Coffea and it has over 500 genera and 6000 species of trees and shrubs. The two most commonly used species in the world are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee accounts for 70% of the coffee production in the world while Robusta accounts for 30%.
Is coffee good or bad?
Coffee is not just tasty; it contains a lot of antioxidants and nutrients that boost various functions of the body and also lower the risk of a number of illnesses. Some of the health benefits that drinking coffee will give you are:
It Boosts Brain Function
Coffee has caffeine, a psychoactive substance that once absorbed into the bloodstream and gets to your brain; blocks adenosine, an inhibitory transmitter. The result of this is that neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine multiply in number which leads to the increased firing of neurons. This means that drinking coffee boosts brain functions like memory, moods, vigilance, reaction times, energy levels, and overall mental functioning. That’s why when you drink coffee, you feel more energized and less tired.
Lowers the Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Coffee does not only boost your cognitive functions, it also protects your brain from deterioration in old age. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are the two most common neurodegenerative disorders that affect people above the age of 65. They have no cure so early prevention is key. Drinking coffee can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease by up to 64% and 74% respectively.
It Helps in Managing Weight
Drinking coffee can actually help you manage your weight by burning fat. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and this increases metabolism and the rate of oxidation of fatty acids.
Boosts Physical Performance
As mentioned previously, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system to increase the rate of breaking down fatty cells. In the process, they are converted to energy or fuel which helps you get tedious physical activities done easily. Caffeine also increases the levels of adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone, in your bloodstream so your body is ready for physically exerting activities.
It Fights Depression
One of the mental functions that coffee boosts is mood since it’s a psychostimulant. Drinking more coffee will, therefore, lower your risk of developing depression which is a mental mood disorder. Consequently, the risk of committing suicide is also lowered.
It Has Important Nutrients
Coffee has a good measure of essential vitamins and nutrients. They include riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese, niacin, and pantothenic acid. It even has more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables so it fights free radicals that damage cells in the body.
Coffee in Skin Care Routines
Apart from its health benefits from ingesting it, coffee can also be used in skincare. However, for skincare, grounded coffee beans are used instead to make masks, scrubs, or pastes that you can apply on your skin.
The following are some of the ways you can use coffee in your skincare routine:
Coffee is very good at reducing the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and redness. It stimulates the increased production of elastin and collagen which make your skin firmer. Since coffee has antioxidants, it also prevents free radicals from causing premature aging.
Applying a coffee face mask creates a barrier that prevents transepidermal water loss. This helps the skin retain its moisture and stay hydrated.
Due to its antioxidants, coffee is able to calm or soothe inflamed and red skin. Coffee is a vasoconstrictor so it reduces the redness and inflammation of the skin by constricting your blood vessels so that blood doesn’t flow close to the skin.
Since coffee dilates blood vessels to improve blood flow, it reduces the appearance of cellulite in the process. Coffee also temporarily reduces the appearance of cellulite when it dehydrates fat cells.
You can use a coffee scrub to exfoliate your skin and get a smooth and even appearance. It makes a good exfoliating agent because it doesn’t dissolve in water.
Reducing Puffiness and Dark Circles
Applying coffee underneath your eyes will get rid of puffiness and dark circles. This is because, as mentioned prior, it constricts your blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the area. In fact, a lot of de-puffing creams have coffee as an ingredient.
Coffee has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects due to chlorogenic acid and niacin. Combined with its exfoliating properties, it’s very good at treating acne.
Can coffee also be bad for you?
Well, while coffee has many benefits to your health, it may still be harmful. The following are some of the ways it may be bad for you:
- If you drink too much coffee, it might cancel out the health benefits and cause a lethal effect because of high amounts of caffeine. Drink 1-6 cups a day and you’ll be fine.
- If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t drink more than one cup of coffee a day. A fetus is very sensitive to caffeine so you should either completely stop drinking coffee or limit it to one cup.
- Coffee has cholesterol so if you have high cholesterol, drink filtered coffee.
- Drinking coffee increases bedwetting in children between the ages of 5 and 7 so limit their consumption.
Generally, coffee is good for you so if you take the above precautions into consideration, you have no need to worry.
What to Keep in Mind When Buying Coffee
Not just any coffee is good coffee. The quality of coffee is very important and it’s determined by various factors that you need to consider before buying:
The smell of coffee can tell you the quality of the beans used, the brewing method, and whether it’s fresh. Freshly-brewed coffee scents range from spicy to subtly floral. If you detect an onion-like or burnt aroma, that is not good coffee.
Good coffee has a full-bodied taste which is a balance between sweetness and acidity. It shouldn’t be bitter or flat. Coffee that is salty is a sign that there was a manufacturing defect.
Roasted coffee beans can only remain at their best within 5 days of the roasting. Beyond that, the flavor diminishes. Buy unroasted coffee beans if you want to keep them for months and roast them when you need your fresh coffee.
You should also take note of the roast profile because the method of roasting also determines the coffee’s quality. The pack usually labels whether it’s been roasted high, medium, or light. Highly roasted beans have the poorest quality while lightly roasted beans have the best quality. However, you may like burnt coffee so your preference also matters.
The amount of caffeine in coffee determines its quality. The more caffeine in it, the stronger and the more bitter it is and vice versa. The roasting method determines how much caffeine remains in the beans. Those roasted more have less caffeine than the light-roasted ones. Again, personal preference will help you choose which caffeine content you like best.