The Health Effects of Coffee
Coffee is very good for you. It boosts your physical energy, gives you more physical strength and endurance, and stimulates your heart. It’s a great elevator of your mood.Coffee is very bad for you. It lowers bone density and puts you at greater risk of osteoporosis. It plays a role in many conception and birth-related difficulties for women. It increases the risk of blood clots in the brain and creates digestive problems.
This is what you hear from each side of the “coffee and health” discussion. Unfortunately, that may simply depend on who you talk to, which medical study you read, and how coffee makes you yourself feel. And, as some of the studies show, it may also depend on which elements in the coffee you’re talking about. So far, though, it appears at the very least that there aren’t any links between coffee and cancer.
This makes it one of the few food pleasures people indulge in these days that don’t seem to cause the disease. And yet at least one study has shown that in a single cup of certain types of coffee, there are more “rodent carcinogens” than the total of all pesticide residues a human being will encounter in their food in a year. On the other hand, humans are protected from many carcinogens that would harm other animals because of the multitude of natural defense enzymes in their bodies. So this still doesn’t necessarily mean coffee is a cancer risk.
There does seem to be reliable evidence, however, of some risk of iron deficiency and problems with absorption as a result of drinking coffee. Mothers and infants seem especially prone to the deficiency, which lends at least a little credence to the concerns about birth-related problems. And there is no question that in people with sensitive digestive systems, coffee can aggravate their condition, creating heartburn and upset.
This is partly related to the fact that a compromised liver has more difficulty dealing with the caffeine. As to the mood elevation and brain function, coffee appears to help individuals with short-term memory, dealing with the tasks at hand, but might actually make it harder to remember information that relates to other things.
It’s the symptoms that sometimes arise when a person tries to quit drinking coffee that make people the most worried, and suggest health concerns that haven’t yet been deciphered. Many people experience outright anxiety and depression when coffee is removed from their diet, and others get severe headaches. For some, the craving for coffee can last months. All of this suggests actual addictive properties, but no one has yet proven definitively that coffee is an addictive substance.