Known for its strong aroma and bitter taste, coffee is probably one of the most cherished brews all over the globe. 

The aromatic coffee beans, as we know them, are actually roasted seeds of the coffee fruit. The flavour and taste of coffee depend on the type of coffee bean and the degree to which the coffee beans are roasted. The two most popular varieties 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.

Did you know?

An estimated 400 billion cups of coffee are drunk per day in the world.

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 might interest you to know that your daily cup of coffee also provides you with several health benefits. Coffee is suggested to be helpful in reducing depression, preventing breast cancer and protecting liver health. It is a rich source of antioxidants and other biological compounds, which help rejuvenate the body and promote longevity.

However, excess coffee consumption can negatively affect health and may lead to insomnia, headaches, acidity and other issues.

Read on to know more about the health benefits and side effects of coffee. 

Some basic facts about coffee:

  • Botanical name: Coffea
  • Family: Rubiaceae
  • Common name: Coffee
  • Sanskrit name: काफी (Coffee) / पीयूष (Piyush)
  • Parts used: Coffee beans
  • 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. Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world. Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, and Yemen, are a few places where coffee plants are cultivated. In India, the three largest coffee producing states include Karnataka, Kerela and Tamil Nadu.
  • 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 is 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

Coffee is loaded with health-building nutrients and antioxidants that make it highly beneficial for health when consumed in moderation. Let us explore some of the science-backed health benefits of coffee.

  • 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.

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

When it comes to the association between breast cancer risk and coffee consumption in postmenopausal women, the evidence is a bit murky.

Research shows that postmenopausal women are more prone to breast cancer and caffeine might even increase that risk. However, there are studies that have found the opposite evidence.

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.

In another study, coffee intake was found to be beneficial in reducing the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal but not postmenopausal women.

So, more studies are still needed to confirm the findings.

(Read more: Breast cancer in men)

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 dopamine levels in the brain to increase. Dopamine is known as the pleasure hormone of the body that triggers the mood centres in the brain and gives you a feeling of joy and contentment.

However, if you are experiencing the symptoms of depression, it is best to consult an expert.

(Read more: Postpartum depression symptoms)

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. Research shows that coffee has high amounts of chlorogenic acids, which reduces retinal cell death and helps in protecting the eyes from retinal degeneration.

(Read more: How to improve eyesight)

In a study conducted in the USA, coffee intake was found to be effective in reducing the risk of cataract blindness in humans.

However, patients with ocular hypertension (high pressure in the eye) and glaucoma are suggested to stay away from coffee as it can worsen their condition.   

(Read more: Macular degeneration treatment)

Coffee benefits for teeth and gums

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.

In another study, a combination of coffee and chicory root was found to be effective against teeth cavities. As per the study, coffee reduced the attachment of caries causing bacteria on the teeth surface.

According to a study conducted in Japan, coffee consumption may be beneficial during the treatment of periodontitis.

However, a study done on a group of Korean adults indicated that daily coffee consumption is directly associated with the risk of tooth loss.

(Read more: Oral hygiene tips)

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.

A meta-analysis published in the journal Oncotarget indicated that consuming more than 5 cups of coffee a day can significantly reduce colon cancer risk.

(Read more: Colorectal cancer surgery)

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. This causes problems with signal transduction (passage of information and signals) between the brain and body. 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 slow down the production of a certain type of signalling molecules called the pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are responsible for the development of this disease.

(Read more: Multiple sclerosis diet)

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 at 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 that destroys thinking skills and memory, making it difficult for the person 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.

In an animal study, intake of about 5 cups of coffee a day was found to have preventing effect on Alzheimer's.

A meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrients indicated no association between coffee consumption and Alzheimer's risk. However, a later published literature review published in the journal Archives of Medical Science suggested a reduced Alzheimer's risk with moderate coffee consumption.

(Read more: Alzheimer's disease diet)

Coffee for diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is not able to use 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.

(Read more: Diabetes diet)

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 a 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)

The following are some of the side effects of coffee that you should know of:

  • 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 every day had higher chances of being affected by the fibrocystic breast disease.

Coffee is packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and caffeine that has the potential to prevent various diseases. Coffee is suggested to be 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

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