Ahh coffee… Where would we be without it? For many, coffee is the sustenance we need to kickstart our day, the elixir of life, the greatest achievement man ever made!
If you’re practically addicted to your morning cup, you’ll probably agree whole-heartedly with that dramatic statement.
Aside from being a delicious and necessary part of our day, there has long been questions about whether or not coffee is actually helping or harming us.
Caffeine is an incredible stimulant and will certainly keep your brain active and your bowels moving, but what about the other effects?
Let’s take a look and the good, the bad and the ugly.
How it can help
Researches have found that coffee is hugely beneficial to our health thanks to all the antioxidants and vitamins it’s loaded with. It helps stimulate our brain by keeping it active and has been proven to help ward of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Some studies have found that people who drink coffee are 60 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, which is the leading cause of dementia around the world.
Caffeine is also linked to lowering our risk of Parkinson’s disease, with a number of studies finding those who drink coffee are 32-60 per cent less likely to develop the disease. Further proving this theory, the researchers ran the same tests on patients who drink decaf coffee and found they did not have a lowered risk factor. Basically, the caffeine is the key ingredient when it comes to warding off diseases like this.
A nice strong cuppa can also help protect your liver from cirrhosis, which can be a big issue for many over 60s. As our liver health can fade with age, it’s important to try to keep it as healthy as possible to avoid blood clots and keep your metabolic system functioning well.
How it hurts
While coffee may taste great and have plenty of health benefits, there are some downsides too.
Mainly, it is highly addictive. A lot of us will find we end up with afternoon headaches if we haven’t had our morning jolt and this kind of dependence is never healthy.
While everyone is different and can handle various amounts, the recommended maximum amount of caffeine to drink everyday is 400mg, or around four cups.
However, coffee affects everyone differently. You may find you can drink more without any worries, or you might get the jitters after just one sip.
Caffeine can also alter your mood and cause anxiety. Just one cup can cause some people to feel more anxious and nervous and keep you up at night.
If you find yourself feeling anxious quite often and without cause, try cutting out your daily cup of coffee for a few days and see if you notice a change.
Most doctors recommend you cut yourself off after 4pm anyway and switch to tea instead. Although tea also contains caffeine, the dose is much lower than in coffee.
Coffee has plenty of health benefits, but be conscious of how you’re drinking it. Loading it with sugar will do you more harm than good so go au natural if you can hack it. It can help you ward of plenty of diseases, but if you’re generally a nervous or anxious person you might want to stick to something a bit more soothing and calming instead.