For breakfast, in the office, on car journeys or just in between – many people in Germany consume coffee every day. While coffee has long been discredited for being harmful to health, more and more studies are now coming to the conclusion that 1-3 cups of coffee a day are not only not harmful to health, but that they even have a number of health benefits.
In fact, in a study lasting more than 16 years (1), scientists from Imperial College London were able to show that coffee drinkers live longer. This applied to all countries included in the study. The results are based on the evaluation of health data from more than half a million people in ten European countries. The analysis was based on coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers. In order to be able to view the health effects of coffee in a more isolated way, the researchers factored out many other influences such as diet or smoking.
Evidence suggests that people who consume more coffee live longer. This is especially true for cardiovascular diseases and diseases that affect the digestive tract. For women with a very high coffee consumption (more than 580 milliliters a day in Germany), life expectancy was 7 percent better and for men even 12 percent better than non-coffee drinkers.
But what is it in coffee that promotes health? There are several factors. Starting with the bitter taste. Coffee is the only bitter-tasting food, primarily alongside grapefruit and chicory, that is common and regularly consumed in our society. The bitter substances contained in coffee promote the production of stomach and bile acids and thus digestion. As a result, fat contained in food is better tolerated, which in turn relieves the liver.
Incidentally, the reason some people feel the urge to defecate after drinking coffee is caffeine-activated epinephrine and norepinephrine, which increase the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, thereby stimulating bowel movement.
Coffee also contains antioxidants that protect the DNA of human cells. In some cases, the concentration of antioxidants in 600 milliliters of coffee is 4-5 times higher than in the comparable amount of fruit and vegetables. Of course, this does not mean that you should stop eating fruit and vegetables, after all, vitamins and fiber are also very important.
Yes, coffee can be addictive and increase blood pressure. However, the dose makes the poison. What can be harmful in large amounts is sometimes essential in small amounts, such as water.
Of course, as with everything, quality also plays a role. Organic coffee, prepared with a French press or a portafilter machine, is ideal. Fully automatic coffee machines tend to form and harbor mold pores. Drink coffee with or after your meal, not before, to prevent cortisol from rising too quickly. In order to be able to fall asleep well, most people should consume their last cup of coffee before 4 p.m., as caffeine has a relatively long half-life. If you need coffee to function, you don't need coffee, you need sleep! As long as you are not addicted to coffee and use it to compensate for lack of sleep, as already mentioned, 2 cups a day are actually good for your health.
Good luck with coffee!
Source: Coffee and Work. A good combination.
Image: Coffee & Work.