Benefits of coffee on your health and when not to drink it

It can be much more than just helping you overcome tiredness because studies show that coffee can also be beneficial for your health. Why?

“Coffee is not unhealthy”says health and nutrition scientist Anna Flögel. Rather, current research today shows otherwise.

“At least moderate consumption is more likely to be associated with a general reduction in risk of disease,” says the researcher.

Flögel has evaluated long-term studies in which tens of thousands of people were repeatedly questioned over decades about their lifestyle habits and in which new diseases were recorded.

A young woman sitting in a living room drinking a cup of coffee. Free Press Photo: Christin Klose / DPA

One of the findings should please coffee enthusiasts: “People who drink coffee live longer, on every continent,” he says.

However, coffee has long had a bad reputation when it comes to health, but why?

According to the scientist, this is related to the design of the studies and, especially, to the fact that a central factor, smoking, was not taken into account.

This is because smokers tend to drink coffee more often. And because of this, health risks, such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, are sometimes wrongly attributed to coffee.

Scientific research now suggests many aspects that promote health. Thus it is probable that the consumption of coffee has a preventive effect against uterine and liver cancer. The same is true for type 2 diabetes.

According to Flögel, the risk of healthy people developing high blood pressure is not linked to coffee consumption.

An espresso is on a table in a café Free Press Photo: Christin Klose / DPA

The German Heart Foundation states that, in general, hypertensive patients do not have to stop drinking coffee. However, he advises scheduling blood pressure measurements so that they are not taken 20-30 minutes after drinking coffee, due to the short-term increase in blood pressure.

Instead, the entity points out that people with cardiac arrhythmias should be more cautious because if they get worse with coffee consumption, they should drink less or avoid it altogether.

The first tentative conclusion is that you can drink coffee without a bad conscience. On the contrary, it is probably even healthy to do so.

However, it is still necessary to clarify how coffee directly affects the body and for this, three widespread theories will be analyzed.

Coffee benefit 1: Coffee hydrates

It’s true. “Coffee is part of the amount of liquids you drink, like water,” says scientist Flögel. That means that it counts in the daily balance of liquids drunk. In general, it is recommended to drink between 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids per day.

Coffee benefit 2: Different for each person

As Fögel explains, how quickly caffeine is metabolized varies greatly from person to person. “For one person, half a cup is enough to turn night into day, while another can drink four cups and fall asleep,” he says.

There is also an accustoming effect, because for those who regularly drink coffee, a cup of this drink no longer gives a strong stimulation.

Coffee benefit 3: Coffee supports digestion

It is very true. For many people it is part of their morning routine to have a cup of coffee first and then go to the bathroom. This effect can be explained mainly by caffeine, according to Flögel, because in general it stimulates the metabolism.

But this thesis is not applied in a generalized way either, since the fact that coffee facilitates digestion, and to what extent, varies from one person to another.

And what happens when coffee falls badly on the stomach? Then an espresso is worth switching to, as recommended by ecotrofologist Birgit Warnecke of the German Coffee Association in Hamburg.

The expert affirms that the espresso contains, depending on its toasting and preparation, fewer substances that can damage a sensitive stomach.

A liquid like any other: coffee does not remove water from the body, even if it is frequently stated. Free Press Photo: Christin Klose / DPA

“The frequent advice to switch to long roast coffee to improve tolerance is a myth based on outdated knowledge,” says Warnecke.

“If you already suffer from an upset stomach, you should avoid drinking coffee – like many other foods, by the way – on an empty stomach,” advises the expert. In this case, he notes, adding milk is a good idea, as it reduces the coffee’s direct contact with the stomach lining.

Since caffeine stimulates digestion, decaffeinated coffee is sometimes better tolerated than caffeinated coffee. Of course, it is also a good alternative if you want to do without the stimulating and awakening effect of caffeine.

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