One of the health benefits-of-coffee is that coffee contains powerful anti-oxidants. Another of the coffee benefits is that coffee is a good source of some beneficial minerals, such as zinc and magnesium. It also is a source of potassium. Some studies have indicated that coffee may be beneficial in preventing type-2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Coffee does contain caffeine. Caffeine increases activity in areas of the brain associated with memory retention. It is thought that caffeine may help by boosting metabolism. Caffeine is a drug, however, and as with other drugs can be addictive. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Caffeine is a stimulant and as with all stimulants, moderation is important.
Caffeine increases cortisol and epinephrine, which are the stress hormones. This triggers an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, production of stomach acids, urinary output, and brain activity. It can also contribute to cardiac muscle irritability. Caffeine also aides in the depletion of calcium and magnesium in the bones especially when combined with sugar.
There are conflicting studies as to whether caffeine is heart healthy or not. Caffeine speeds up heart rate and can raise blood pressure. This can cause potentially serious health issues especially if you have high blood pressure and your heart has already been compromised. It would be prudent to drink coffee in moderation or switch to tea which contains much less caffeine and arguably provides more antioxidant protection.
I have been a coffee drinker since I was a child. While I have cut back on coffee and turned to tea, I still drink one to two cups of coffee each morning and on rare occasions will have a cup of decaffeinated coffee after dinner. Decaffeinated coffee contains hydrogen peroxide that can add to your body’s free-radical burden. However, moderate amounts of decaffeinated coffee are ok especially if you maintain a healthy level of antioxidants.
The health benefits-of-coffee are real but there may be a significant downside to drinking coffee. If in doubt discuss with your physician; moderate the amount of coffee you drink; or consider changing to tea. As indicated above, caffeine raises stress hormone levels. If your life is already stressful, the additional wear and tear on your body from too much coffee may not be worth it. Coffee is also highly acidic. But since there are some health benefits drinking moderate amounts can be balanced with alkaline foods and beverages.
On balance if you are drinking either tea or coffee for your health, the health benefits-of-tea is probably superior. I drink no more than two cups of coffee per day and only in the morning. I then switch to tea and prefer green tea. I do love that first cup of coffee in the morning.
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In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln