Drinking coffee has transformed from a fashionable trend to an integral part of society. With more caffeine than both tea and soda, more people drink coffee to wake up in the morning or to boost their mental clarity in the office. There are lots of beneficial effects of coffee drinking. Its stimulating properties help promote faster metabolism, better muscular coordination and weight loss. It is also known to help improve brain and nerve response. Moderate coffee consumption also reduces your risk of degenerative neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons. The antioxidants in coffee are highly effective in prevention of diabetes, infections and cancers. However, these benefits are only realized if you are in a general state of health and if you moderate your intake. There are potential dangers from coffee drinking that make it unsuitable for the following groups of people.
1. Anxiety Disorder or Insomnia
Caffeine is a strong psycho-stimulant. It stimulates your brain activities and excites your nerves, resulting in restlessness or nervous “coffee jitters”. If you are highly sensitive to stress or suffer from anxiety disorders or psychosis, coffee can exasperate your symptoms and worsen your condition. Coffee also disrupts your sleep cycle, and should be avoided if you have a hard time falling asleep at night.
Caffeine inhibits the absorption of iron and folate, which are critical to making healthy red blood cells. Heavy coffee drinking often leads iron and folate deficiencies and anemia. If you are low in red blood cell count due to heavy blood loss, chemotherapy or other anemic conditions, you should not avoid coffee to prevent serious consequences.
3. Pregnant or Lactating Women
Because coffee interferes with iron and folate absorption, pregnant women who have higher than normal demands for these nutrients should be restricted from coffee drinking. Studies have shown that coffee consumption during pregnancy can significantly increase the risks of stillbirths and congenital birth defects. Drinking coffee also increases the likelihood of iron deficiency anemia in both mother and infants. Decaffeinated coffee should also be avoided. The decaffeinating process involves the use of high concentrations of chemical solvents that can be potentially hazardous to embryos and fetuses.
Caffeine should be avoided by all children under 10. This includes coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks. Caffeine consumption during early stages of growth and development can increase a child’s risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), inhibit learning and stunt growth and development.
5. Heartburn or Gastro-Intestinal Problems
If you have a weak digestive system, you should be cautioned against coffee consumption. Coffee can damage the lining of your esophagus and your stomach and increase your chances of developing gastritis and ulcers. Coffee’s damaging effect on the mucosal membrane also heightens your risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you have frequent heartburn or have acid reflux problems, you should stay away from coffee.
6. High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
Though moderate consumption can help prevent heart diseases in healthy adults, drinking coffee when you already have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disorders can be hazardous. Caffeine increases blood vessel constriction which raises your blood pressure even higher. Caffeine also stimulates heart muscle contraction and can lead to heart palpitation and fibrillation.