Consume coffee for its health benefits, not just for lifestyle

Source: Wallpaper Cave

Sahil Sharma, researcher, food technology department at LPU talks about the health benefits of coffee

Nobody knows precisely about when or how coffee was found, even if there are several legendary stories of its origin. Coffee is not just a drink. It’s a culture, an art, an economy, a science and a passion.  While coffee has been referred as a bean, it is in fact the seed of a slice of fruit, called as coffee cherry. These cherries are hand-picked, and the seed is removed from the fruit. Aroma is influenced by the processing technique and the quantity of time the fruit can dry on the seed.

Arabica and Robusta are key species in the realm of coffee. Arabica is known for its fine flavors and harsher taste. Robusta has more caffeine as compared to Arabica, and in fact, Robusta has 2.7 % caffeine content almost double the 1.5% of Arabica. Coffee, exceptionally, a healthy beverage comprises almost hundreds of bio-active mixtures (including trigonelline, chlorogenic acid, kahweol, cafestol, and even caffeine) that add to its effective health benefits. Most of these combinations are antioxidant in nature, which struggle against the harm caused by free radicals in cells. In fact, caffeine is one of the key reasons of coffee boosting a brain function, as it blocks adenosine – an inhibitory neurotransmitter in brain that makes you sleepy. Caffeine triggers variations in more than a few neurotransmitters which may enhance mood, learning, reaction time and vigilance.

Presence of chlorogenic acids in coffee function as an antioxidant in some biological pathway such as high blood sugar metabolism and blood pressure. Trigonelline in coffee is unbalanced at a higher temperature, also known as niacin (vitamin B3), may help to prevent dental cavities. Kahweol and Cafestol added as natural oils in unfiltered coffee have been proven beneficial for liver as well as to protect against some cancers – aggressive prostate, endometrial, estrogen- negative breast. 

While a trend is to counter act fatigue and tiredness by sipping coffee, this has been observed that consuming it later in a day may affect quality of sleep and afterwards make you feel more exhausted.   Drinking coffee regularly in mild quantity is not only correlated to a lower risk of Alzheimer, but it may also protect against Parkinson. Some preliminary proof suggests activity against beta amyloid plaque that may have a causative role in Alzheimer. Despite these possible health advantages, there has been enough discussions and research papers to broadly define negatives of consuming coffee in varied quality and quantity. 

Caffeine consumed wrongly tends to boost anxiety and disturb sleep. Wrong consumption of caffeine may result in heart palpitations and jitteriness. Caffeine may also have diuretic and blood raising effects, though these typically dissolve with regular intake. It is dose-dependent and interferes with ossification which could possibly lead to a greater risk of bone fractures. The natural falloff in density of bone can cause osteoporosis which may result in fragile bones – this causes another side-effect of coffee in females. Of course, body requires right minerals in a balanced way. However, inappropriately consumed coffee affects body’s ability to absorb minerals.

It firstly influences iron absorption in stomach and then changes your kidney’s ability to absorb calcium, zinc, magnesium, and minerals. Also, one should avoid to having coffee along with a meal. There should be a gap of minimum twenty minutes in having (pre or post) coffee and meal. Hence, appropriate consumption of coffee is essential for balanced metabolism and to keep bowel regularity through magnesium presence in coffee.

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