The Bright And Dark Side Of Coffee That You Need To Know About

  • 6 mins read
  • Nutrition
  • Written by: Jillian Lai Mei Siew
a steaming cup of coffee

Coffee is a popular beverage around the world. There are thousands of chemical compounds in coffee, many of which have been shown to have bioactive properties. Coffee polyphenols, for instance, may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and caffeine may contribute to gut motility. The compounds in coffee may protect against conditions like Alzheimer’s and Type 2 Diabetes.

Coffee and mental health

Researchers have linked coffee to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, melanoma, prostate cancer, and even suicide. Those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than those who avoided it.

  1. May reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
    A recent study suggests that habitual coffee consumption can help delay the aging process. Coffee has also been studied for its effects on neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies have linked caffeine to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, it may help those with Parkinson’s disease better control their movements.
  2. Blocks depressive chemicals in the brain.
    Caffeine prevents the chemical adenosine (the build-up of which causes tiredness and fatigue) from binding to its receptors in the brain. Moderate consumption of it can provide mood-lifting benefits due to its powerful antioxidant properties. It can even help you initiate a fight against depression while helping you stay relaxed and calm all the time.
  3. Impacts gut health and promotes mental health.
    Coffee also contains prebiotics that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. This enhances the creation of fatty acids and neurotransmitters. Coffee helps release neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine that have mood-boosting properties that are often deficient in people who are depressed. Studies have shown that gut microbiota may play a significant role in depression.

The dark side of coffee:

  1. Drinking coffee may lead to insomnia.
    Caffeine-sensitive individuals should limit their coffee consumption. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors, a chemical that is produced by our brain to promote sleep. When you are awake for a long period of time your brain produces more adenosine, making you sleepier. By blocking this process, caffeine keeps us awake and alert.
  2. Can lead to anxiety.
    Too much caffeine can release the hormone adrenaline, which provides energy. When the amount of caffeine is high, these effects become stronger and result in caffeine-induced anxiety. Caffeine in high doses is known to cause anxiety symptoms, making people with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder particularly vulnerable. Headaches, anxiety, heart flutter and palpitations and trouble sleeping are common symptoms of caffeine dependence and overuse.
  3. Can disrupt your sleep cycle.
    Regular caffeine consumption can disrupt sleep, creating a vicious cycle. Caffeine often results in sleep deprivation, and sleep deprivation generally carries forward to the next day. The result is an increased need for caffeine to cope with sleepiness. If you experience trouble sleeping, such as frequent waking up, difficulty falling asleep, and night-time anxiety, caffeine may be interfering with your sleep. When you find yourself excessively sleepy during the day and coffee isn’t helping, it could be a sign that you are sleep deprived of prolonged caffeine use. If that’s the case, it might be time to put down your mug and get some rest.

How much coffee is enough?

A healthy adult may consume up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day. There is roughly the same amount of caffeine in four cups of coffee, ten cans of cola, or two energy drinks. Caffeine content varies widely among beverages, especially among energy drinks.

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