Is coffee good or bad?

The coffee we drink comes from coffee beans, which come from seeds of the coffee plant. Some studies show that drinking coffee is good for your health, other studies claim that it is bad for you.

Are you confused too?

Coffee is actually very healthy. It is high in antioxidants and nutrients which can improve your health. One cup (8 ounces) of coffee contains vitamins B2, B3 and B5, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

Just remember that coffee has a diuretic effect — this means that it will make your body lose water. The water in a cup of coffee is actually enough to balance this out, but it’s still always good to drink plenty of water, too.

And if you have a sleeping problem, glaucoma or epilepsy, you need to be careful how much you drink.

This leads to the next question: how much is too much? Well, one cup of coffee has around 80mg caffeine, so 3 to 4 cups a day is in the normal range but 4-5 cups (or more) is too much. But remember one cup is 8 ounces, so make sure you check how large the mug is you’re drinking!

On the other hand, tea has around 45mg caffeine in one cup, while an energy drink like Red Bull has 80mg. Most energy drinks also have chemical ingredients, so they’re not giving you the health benefits that coffee or tea do.

So what happens to your body when you drink coffee?

Caffeine will not actually give you energy, instead it just tricks your brain into thinking that you’re not tired. Caffeine is a very similar compound to the chemical adenosine that’s in our body. Adenosine’s job is to tell our brain when we’re tired and we need to slow down. But when you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine blocks the adenosine, your brain doesn’t get the signal that you’re tired, so instead it boosts your blood pressure and heart rate, and keeps you alert.

After about six hours the caffeine effect will stop, the adenosine will start doing it’s job again and you’ll feel tired — so you reach for another coffee. This is what makes caffeine addictive.

I suggest not to drink coffee after 2 p.m., as it may affect your sleep cycle and the quality of your sleep.

It’s also important to know what type of coffee you’re drinking — try and choose organic coffee, without the toxins that so many non-organic coffees have.

If you drink coffee before exercise then the caffeine helps break down body fat, and it can improve physical performance on average by around 12 percent. This helps increase your metabolic rate, too.

Instead of adding sugar, you may like to try raw honey or coconut sugar. And in place of milk, how about trying almond (or other nut) milk, grass fed butter or coconut butter. Believe me, this tastes so much better than milk!

Now you can relax and enjoy your coffee!

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Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com and (808) 276-6892.

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