Health benefit #1: Coffee increases your energy level
This is probably the most obvious of coffee. People drink it to feel less tired.
It is because caffeine is a stimulant drug. When you consume coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. It then travels to the brain where it blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine.
Health benefit #2: Coffee improves your physical performance
When caffeine stimulates your nervous system, it goes on to send signals to other parts of your body. Fat cells are signaled to break down body fat.
In short-term coffee drinkers, caffeine can specifically burn fat. Studies have shown that it can burn as much as 29% fat in lean folks and 10% for obese folks. When the fat is released into the bloodstream, they become free fatty acids. You can then use them as fuel.
Health benefit #3: Coffee can reduce post-workout pain
Not only can coffee help you work out better, it also takes care of you afterward.
Some people say no pain, no gain. But soreness isn’t always good after working out. To reduce the pain, try drinking two cups of coffee.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment, participants consumed drinks after their muscles were stimulated with eccentric exercise. With this type of exercise, your muscles will elongate due to the opposing force.
One hour after drinking, pain intensity was calculated using a 0 to 100 scale. Caffeinated coffee produced a large decrease in sensitivity to pain.
Health benefit #4: Coffee can lower the chances of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease, also known as “old-timer’s disease” usually affects seniors over the age of 65 years old. It is the leading cause of dementia. It is also the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide.
It is an irreversible brain disorder. Gradually, those with Alzheimer’s lose their memory skills, thinking skills and ability to carry out basic tasks.
Health benefit #5: Coffee can help fight off depression
As mentioned before, caffeine boosts dopamine levels in the bloodstream. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for movement, memory and cognition. However, it also plays a role with feeling pleasure.
This may be a reason why coffee seems to help fight off depression. A study by Harvard showed that women who drank coffee had a 20% lower chance of having depression. Another study that followed 208,424 people found that those who drank coffee were 53% less likely to be suicidal.
The Flip Side
But coffee definitely isn’t the healthiest beverage out there. Or rather, the key (as mentioned before) lies in the amount of coffee you drink. And what you put in there. If you have a sweet tooth, unfortunately have bad coffee, or drink too much, it can lead to some serious side effects.
Negative effect #1: Coffee can lead to insomnia
While caffeine raises your energy levels, the effect is detrimental when you’re trying to sleep. Caffeine enters your bloodstream after digestion. Its stimulating effect can be felt 15 minutes after consumption. However, the effect will last for much longer. It will take around 6 hours for even half of it to be eliminated. For a good night’s rest, try to avoid drinking coffee late in the afternoon. Or at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Negative effect #2: Coffee interacts with and alters medication
If you take medication, make sure you check with your doctor before drinking coffee with it! Your drink might interact with prescription drugs. The effect from your medication may be decreased, increased or changed. The culprit may be the caffeine or other compounds in your coffee. The effect of thyroid medication is reduced by 55 percent when taken with coffee or espresso.
Negative effect #3: Coffee can aggravate heartburn or acid reflux
Acid reflex symptoms include heartburn, a burning pain in your chest. This happens when your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) at the entrance of your stomach doesn’t close when it should. The acid your stomach produces can then move into your oesophagus. If these symptoms happen at least twice a week, you may have acid reflex disease. And if that’s the case, make sure you stay away from coffee!
Negative effect #4: Coffee can cause indigestion
When you drink your cup of coffee on an empty stomach, it stimulates production of hydrochloric acid (HCl). Which can be a serious problem. Your stomach usually produces HCl when you eat. Its function is to digest protein and/or fat that you ingest. When acid is overproduced, lower levels are produced when we really need it.
Negative effect #5: Coffee raises cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fatty substance needed to produce hormones, vitamins and other essential substances. There are two types: low-density (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). You should have healthy levels of both types for your body to function. However, LDL is also known as the “bad” cholesterol. That’s because too much of it can lead to buildup in your arteries. That causes a variety of heart and blood pressure problems.