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Coffee is a magic beverage with magic powers. Who doesn’t love a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter day! This dark coloured brew is bitter in taste and also slightly acidic. But, no breakfast is complete without a cup of steaming coffee. You might be amazed to know that an estimated 400 billion cups of coffee are drunk per day all over the world. 

The aromatic coffee beans, as we know them, are actually roasted seeds of the coffee fruit. The flavour and taste of coffee depends on the degree to which the coffee beans are roasted. The two most popular varities of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. However, Arabic coffee is considered to be of superior quality and it possesses an excellent aroma, flavour, and taste. Coffee is mostly served hot. But iced coffee is also a popular beverage.

Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world. In India, the three largest coffee producing states include Karnataka, accounting for 71% of the total coffee production followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Chikmagalur and Kodagu regions in Karnataka produce more than 80% of Karnataka’s coffee production.

Coffee’s success as a beverage is mostly attributed to the caffeine content it possesses and the energising effects it has on the human body. But, it has several other health benefits. It can help cure depression, prevent breast cancer and can also help protect the liver.  It is a rich source of antioxidants and other biological compounds which helps rejuvenate the body.

Some basic facts about coffee:

  • Botanical name: Coffea
  • Family: Rubiaceae
  • Common name: Coffee
  • Sanskrit name: काफी (Coffee) / पीयूष (Piyush)
  • Parts used: Coffee beans
  • Native region and geographical distribution: The coffee plant is believed to have originated from the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. It is a native to the tropical areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, and Yemen, are a few places where coffee plants are cultivated.
  • Interesting Fact: Coffee is the second most commonly traded product in the world after oil.
  1. Coffee nutrition facts
  2. Coffee health benefits
  3. Coffee side effects
  4. Takeaway

Coffee is rich in caffeine and has a wide range of health benefits. Coffee is also a good source of a variety of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

As per the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 g of instant coffee powder contains the following nutrients:

Nutrient Value per 100 g
Water 3.1 g
Energy 353 kcal
Protein 12.2 g
Total lipids (fat) 0.5 g
Carbohydrate  75.4 g
Minerals  
Calcium 141 mg
Iron 4.41 mg
Magnesium 327 mg
Phosphorus 303 mg
Potassium 3535 mg
Sodium 37 mg
Zinc 0.35 mg
Vitamin  
Vitamin B1 0.008 mg
Vitamin B2 0.074 mg
Vitamin B3 28.173 mg
Vitamin B6 0.029 mg
Vitamin K 1.9 µg
Fats/Fatty acids  
Saturated 0.197 g
Monounsaturated 0.041 g
Polyunsaturated 0.196 g
Caffeine 3142 mg
  • For depression: The intake of coffee helps in prevention depression due to its effect on the hormone dopamine.
  • For vision: Coffee is good for vision as it helps to prevent retinal degenration.
  • For oral health: The intake of coffee without milk and sugar is associated with a reduced risk of dental caries.
  • For diabetes: Coffee consumption aids in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
  • For the heart: Drinking 3 cups of coffee each day reduces the risk of several cardiovascular disorders like stroke, heart attack and coronary heart diseases.
  • For longevity: Coffee reduces your risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disorders and is even known to improve longevity in individuals when around 4 cups are taken each day.
  • Against cancer: Drinking coffee reduced the risk of breast cancer by up to 10% in women after menopause. It may also help in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer. Additionally, it may modify your risk of multiple sclerosis.
  • For the liver: Regular consumption of coffee has a hepatoprotective effect by having an influence on liver enzymes.
  • For the brain: Drinking coffee also has neuroprotective action in that it helps in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
  1. Coffee for longevity
  2. Coffee for post menopausal breast cancer
  3. Coffee for depression
  4. Coffee benefits for eyes
  5. Coffee prevents cavities
  6. Coffee reduces the risk of colorectal cancer
  7. Coffee for multiple sclerosis
  8. Coffee benefits for liver
  9. Coffee for Alzheimer's prevention
  10. Coffee for diabetes
  11. Coffee benefits for cardiovascular diseases

Coffee for longevity

Did you know that drinking coffee can prolong your life? Several studies suggest a positive relationship between coffee drinking and the longevity of life. Research shows that drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of death due to various causes.

A study conducted with more than 5 lakh coffee drinkers observed the inverse relationship between coffee drinking and mortality from various diseases. 

According to a recent investigation, drinking 1-4 cups of coffee per day can help prolong life.

Coffee for post menopausal breast cancer

Research shows that postmenopausal women are more prone to breast cancer. A study was conducted to find an association between coffee consumption and breast cancer risk. The study showed that women who consume at least 4 cups of coffee per day have a 10% lower risk of developing breast cancer. This was particularly true in the case of postmenopausal women.

Coffee for depression

Depression is a mental disorder, commonly characterized by a constant feeling of sadness, hopelessness and a generalised lack of interest. It can be caused due to various psychological, genetic and environmental conditions. But no specific cause for depression has been documented so far.

A clinical study conducted on more than 3 lakh participants found that coffee consumption leads to a decreased risk of depression. This is attributed to the caffeine content present in coffee. Another research showed that caffeine causes the dopamine levels in the brain to increase. Dopamine is known as the pleasure hormone of the body that triggers the mood centers in the brain and gives you a feeling of joy and contentment.

Coffee benefits for eyes

People all over the world suffer from retinal degenerative diseases. Retinal degeneration happens when the light-sensing cells of the retina are damaged. Oxidative stress is one of the main reasons for retinal damage in humans. It is usually associated with vision loss and blindness. A research showed that coffee has high amounts of chlorogenic acids which helps in protecting the eyes from retinal degeneration. It was further suggested that the chlorogenic acid prevents retinal degeneration by reducing retinal cell death.

(Read more: Macular degeneration treatment)

Coffee prevents cavities

Tooth decay occurring in the enamel or dentin is caused due to bacteria which produce acid in the mouth. A clinical study showed that black coffee is capable of killing these bacteria and preventing tooth decay. The research also indicated that adding milk or sugar to coffee can reduce its anti-caries properties.

Coffee reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

Coffee is a rich source of bioactive compounds that have potential anticarcinogenic effects. A study was conducted to examine the correlation between coffee drinking and colorectal cancer in Japan. Results showed that coffee drinking may be associated with lower risk of colon cancer in Japanese women.

Coffee for multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a condition in which the protective covering of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord get damaged. A preclinical study observed that having coffee regularly may help reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Studies suggest that caffeine has neuroprotective properties. It helps in slows down the production of a certain type of signaling molecules called the proinflammatory cytokines which are responsible for the development of this disease.

Coffee benefits for liver

An injured or infected liver produces a higher level of enzymes which can be evident from blood tests.  A clinical study observed that regular consumption of coffee lowers the levels of liver enzymes hinting a potential hepatoprotective action. Another study showed that having two cups of coffee every day reduced the chances of liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, and liver cancer.

(Read more: Foods to improve liver health)

Coffee for Alzheimer's prevention

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease which destroys the thinking skills and memory making it difficult for them to even carry out simple tasks. Although it is more prevalent in older adults, various factors like lifestyle and individual genetics have been associated with Alzheimer’s.  A clinical study conducted on a group 54 people showed that caffeine has neuroprotective effects, which has the potential to prevent the death of neurons thus preventing AD.

Coffee for diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to use the insulin effectively, leading to an increase in blood glucose levels. A study showed that coffee is rich in Chlorogenic acid and trigonelline, both of which help in lowering the glucose level in the blood.

According to a meta-analysis published in Current Diabetes Reviews, drinking 4 cups of coffee per day can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes. Another clinical study demonstrated that coffee consumption is associated with a lesser risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women. more than 25000 postmenopausal but nondiabetic women The study further suggests that the anti-diabetic activity of coffee can be attributed to the presence of certain minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants present in it.

Coffee benefits for cardiovascular diseases

Some of the common factors associated with cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, smoking. A study was conducted to assess if coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study suggested that consuming 3 cups of coffee every day reduced the chance of stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart disease. It also indicated that regular coffee consumption reduces the risk of mortality in cardiac patients

(Read more: Heart disease causes)

  • Coffee can increase blood pressure
    A clinical study suggested that coffee consumption may increase the stiffness in blood vessels which increases blood pressure. So, people who suffer from hypertension are advised not to consume too much coffee. (Read more: High blood pressure treatment)
  • Coffee causes insomnia
    In a clinical study, 18 adult males were given caffeine, regular coffee, and decaffeinated coffee in equal doses, 30 minutes before bedtime. It was observed that regular coffee and caffeine caused a shift in sleeping pattern, causing insomnia.
  • Coffee causes indigestion and headache
    Research shows that excessive caffeine can have an adverse effect on the health causing various problems such as indigestion, palpitations, and headache. Caffeine is one of the main ingredients of coffee, so it is better to not consume too much coffee every day.
  • Coffee can lead to miscarriage
    According to a study, the chances of miscarriage among women are more if the couple drinks too much coffee, especially around the time of conception. The research also stated that drinking more than two cups of coffee during the first seven weeks of pregnancy may lead to miscarriage.
  • Coffee increases the risk of fibrocystic breast
    Fibrocystic breast disease, simply called the fibrocystic breast is disease characterized by noncancerous breast lumps. Although this is not a serious medical condition, it could lead to constant discomfort and pain.. In a study, it was observed that women who consumed  excessive  caffeine everyday had higher chances of being affected by the fibrocystic breast disease.

Coffee is packed with rich antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and caffeine that has potential to treat various diseases. Coffee is effective against conditions such as postmenopausal breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and even depression. However, drinking too much coffee can lead to complications, especially if you are suffering from problems such as insomnia or if you are trying to get pregnant. Therefore, it is better to watch how many cups of coffee you drink in a day.

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References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 14214, Beverages, coffee, instant, regular, powder. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. Gunter MJ et al. Coffee Drinking and Mortality in 10 European Countries: A Multinational Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2017 Aug 15;167(4):236-247. PMID: 28693038
  3. Erikka Loftfield, Marilyn C. Cornelis, Neil Caporaso, et al. Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(8):1086-1097.
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  6. Wang L, Shen X, Wu Y, Zhang D. Coffee and caffeine consumption and depression: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;50(3):228-42. PMID: 26339067
  7. N D Volkow et al. Caffeine increases striatal dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability in the human brain Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Apr; 5(4): e549. PMID: 25871974
  8. Holim Jang et al. Chlorogenic Acid and Coffee Prevent Hypoxia-Induced Retinal Degeneration. J. Agric. Food Chem.2014621182-191 Publication Date:December 2, 2013
  9. PC Anila Namboodiripad, Sumathi Kori. Can coffee prevent caries?. J Conserv Dent. 2009 Jan-Mar; 12(1): 17–21. PMID: 20379435
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  13. Muley A, Muley P, Shah M. Coffee to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes?: a systematic review. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2012 May;8(3):162-8. PMID: 22497654
  14. Pereira MA, Parker ED, Folsom AR. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: an 11-year prospective study of 28 812 postmenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jun 26;166(12):1311-6. PMID: 16801515
  15. Anne Gulland. Scientists wake up to coffee’s benefits. BMJ 2017;359:j5381
  16. National Institutes of Health; [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Couples’ pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption linked to miscarriage risk.