It is hard to know what to think about coffee, there are so many studies and so much information. One study suggests that Coffee increases blood pressure and deprives some people of sleep. Another study says that it lowers the risk of diabetes and makes the blood vessels elastic. Who do you listen to?
The Coffee Industry is worth 20 billion per year and 500 billion cups of coffee are brewed each year. The Coffee cult is global and has been for a few hundred years. In the morning it awakens the spirits, at noon it banishes the eating coma, in the afternoon it contributes to a successful visit to a café.
Coffee. The roasted bean contains more than 800 aromatic substances, but only about two kilocalories per 100 millilitres. And it wakes you up. So, it’s hardly surprising that so many people love coffee.
But aren’t we all indulging in a vice? Should we all panic because Coffee is considered unhealthy, it makes you nervous, makes your heart pound, and is even supposed to shorten life.
The myth that coffee drinkers die earlier is now considered outdated. “In previous studies, no attention was paid to a possible unhealthy lifestyle,” explains nutritionist Dr. Anna Flögel, who did research on coffee during her time at the Institute for Nutritional Research in Potsdam.
Why coffee used to be considered unhealthy
Coffee drinkers are often also smokers. If this factor is not excluded in a study, it appears that coffee is unhealthy. “It was due to smoking,” said Flögel. “Today, the results of numerous studies indicate that coffee is associated with a lower overall mortality,” explains the expert.
So coffee is healthy after all? There are probably just as many studies that certify the drink has negative effects as there are those that show positive effects. Some points are still controversial among scientists, but others are now considered well-proven or refuted.
It is undisputed that caffeine, one of the numerous ingredients in coffee, wakes you up. The substance attaches to certain molecules on cells, so-called adenosine receptors. Caffeine displaces the body’s own messenger substance adenosine, which triggers fatigue, and thus unfolds its stimulating effect. It is also known that caffeine speeds up the heart, triggers the urge to urinate, slightly dilates the bronchi and promotes concentration. Some people react to the pick-me-up with sweating, shivering and being nervous – especially if they have consumed large amounts of caffeine. The ingredient only becomes dangerous, sometimes even life-threatening, in larger quantities. Deadly doses of caffeine for otherwise healthy people are several grams.
Caffeine works differently for everyone
The encouraging effect usually occurs after 15 to 30 minutes and can last for several hours. How quickly the caffeine is broken down in the body varies greatly from person to person and is influenced, among other things, by genes. If half of it is metabolized in one person after four hours, in others 50 percent of the caffeine absorbed can still be found in the body after eight hours.
In women, the substance sometimes works twice as long as in men. Children, young people and pregnant women, on the other hand, react differently than older people. The concentration of caffeine in the body tends to drop faster in smokers than in non-smokers. Medication also affects how and how long it works. And men wake up better than women after drinking coffee at night, shows a study at the University of Barcelona. Those who drink coffee regularly get used to it and react less strongly to the caffeine than someone who rarely uses it. “How long, how and how intensively caffeine works in the body varies greatly from person to person,” says Flögel.
In part, these are the reasons why some people have difficulty sleeping and others don’t. Anyone who often sleeps badly anyway should either avoid coffee altogether or drink the last cup in the early afternoon.
Does coffee make blood pressure soar?
People with high blood pressure often wonder whether to avoid coffee. Because caffeine is supposed to increase the pressure in the vessels. But the effect is not too great: According to the German Heart Foundation, the blood pressure rises by around 10 to 20 mmHG for a maximum of 30 minutes. With regular consumption, the increase is even weaker. That’s why coffee is allowed for high blood pressure patients who are on medication. Restraint is only required in the case of very high blood pressure values.
And: For the reasons mentioned, it is better not to drink coffee directly before measuring your blood pressure. In more recent studies, it is even claimed that the brown bean is supposed to support the heart function and protect against vascular calcification. But the data is somehow contradicting itself. Those affected can feel cardiac arrhythmias more strongly after drinking coffee. Under certain circumstances, it is then better to forego the hot drink.
Not a liquid scavenger
The thesis that coffee is a liquid thief has now been refuted. Although it has a diuretic effect, it is minor. Coffee drinkers probably need to go to the toilet because of the large amount of water they consumed per cup. In turn, it has been scientifically proven that coffee lowers the risk of diabetes. This is shown by large observational studies.
Many people observe in themselves that coffee also has an effect on the stomach and intestines. Some people get hit in the stomach, others enjoy a brisk digestion. This again shows how different the effects of the bean can be. Bitter substances in coffee attack the stomach lining, which is why sensitive people can get stomach pains. Depending on the type of coffee, roasting and preparation, coffee is more or less digestible in individual cases. Espresso, for example, is considered quite easy to digest. Because the longer roasting time of the espresso beans breaks down more acids, which makes espresso easier on the stomach.
The caffeine content in coffee varies widely
The type, preparation and roasting method also play a major role when it comes to the caffeine content of coffee. “It fluctuates between 40 and 120 milligrams per cup. The values refer to a quantity of around 150 ml. The general recommendation that around three to five cups of coffee a day is harmless is based on this size. For pregnant and breastfeeding women, the caffeine threshold is three 150 ml cups a day.
Because coffee works so differently from person to person, it is difficult to transfer potential health benefits to the general public. It may help one, but not the other. In addition: If you live unhealthily, for example because you smoke or drink alcohol a lot, coffee does not make you healthier, good nutrition makes you healthier. Perhaps one should simply see the wonderfully aromatic bean for what it actually is: a stimulant.
So enjoy a good cup of organic coffee.
And yes, you can also have your coffee from ‘the bottoms up’. And we can do it for you.
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