The Nutritional Value of Coffee

From household dripping brewers to commercial enterprises, coffee has become an indispensable part of people’s lives. Freshly brewed coffee has a luxuriously pungent aroma which can stimulate the olfactory receptors in your nose and the pleasure sensors in your brain. Its bittersweet taste and caffeine content help to deliver an extra boost of energy. Coffee is also known to have a variety of health effects. Though coffee is toxic in high doses, moderate consumption can be beneficial.

The predominant compound in coffee is caffeine. Coffee has higher caffeine content than both tea and soda. The milder lattes and designer coffees contain relatively lower amounts of caffeine as opposed to espressos, which contain up to 100 milligrams of caffeine per shot. As caffeine concentration varies, the effects of different types of coffee on the human body is also different.

Effects on Your Neurology

Caffeine is a strong stimulant. It affects your central nervous system by reducing physical fatigue and increasing your mental alertness. Most people feel more awake and have faster mental reception and better physical coordination after drinking coffee. Studies have shown caffeine consumption can lead to better memory and faster learning. It can also reduce your risk of age-related neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. At high doses, caffeine can cause over-excitation of the nerves. Heavy coffee drinking can make you more susceptible to agitations, anxiety attacks and panic disorders. Because caffeine can stay in your system for more than 6 hours, drinking coffee at night can disturb your sleep cycle and cause insomnia.

Effects on Your Heart

Caffeine mimics the function of epinephrine. It can speed up your heartbeat by stimulating heart muscle contraction. Caffeine has been used treat breathing disorders and irregular heartbeat in babies. Moderate coffee consumption has also been shown to reduce your risks of cerebrovascular and heart diseases. Too much caffeine can be very dangerous and even fatal. It subjects you to ventricular fibrillation and heart palpitation. If you have a history of hypertension, you should be extra careful about coffee consumption. Studies have shown that caffeine can increase blood vessel constriction, which leads to increase of blood pressure. Heavy coffee drinking in hypertensive patients can significantly raise the occurrence of myocardial infarction.

Coffee Promotes Detoxification

The neuromuscular stimulation of caffeine also affects your excretory system. Caffeine relaxes your internal anal sphincter muscles and increases peristalsis. Moderate coffee drinking can help regulate your bowel movement and relieve constipation. In modern practices, caffeine has been used in colon cleansing treatments to help detoxify your system and promote weight loss.

Antioxidant Effects of Coffee

There are more than 1,000 types of antioxidants in coffee which can help toward strengthening your immunity against all types of infections and cancers. Methylpyridinium, an anti-cancerous compound found exclusively in coffee, is strongly active against colon cancer. Darker coffees which contain extra high levels of methylpyridinium are especially beneficial to digestive health compared to lighter roasts.

The antioxidants in coffee are also great for diabetic prevention and treatment. Studies have shown that coffee drinking can cut the chances of developing type II diabetes by 30% in women and up to 50% in men. It is not clear if the diabetic prevention ability of coffee is due to caffeine or the antioxidants, but studies have indicated that stronger coffees produce more desirable results compared to lighter or decaffeinated coffees.

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