There is no drink that is more controversial than coffee. While some experts say it does more damage than benefits, others say it has healing and even preventive effects.
Who doesn’t like the smell of the first morning coffee? No matter if it is espresso, cappuccino or latte macchiato, many people need coffee in order to start the day successfully. In addition to its good taste, coffee also has a refreshing effect on our body and spirit. “Our nervous system and heart activity are stimulated by caffeine,” explains pharmacologist and toxicologist at the University Clinic in Cologne Kuno Gitler for Deutsche Welle.
The expert has more good news for this hot brown beverage lovers: coffee should be able to alleviate headaches such as migraine, caused by circulatory disorders in the brain. When we have a migraine, blood vessels get wider, the pressure decreases and each heartbeat leads to increased pressure on the blood vessels walls, so that’s how pulsating pain emerges. “Caffeine contributes to the re-narrowing of blood vessels in the brain and faster blood flow,” says Kuno, but also emphasizes that a cup of coffee can relieve the pain in only mild migraines. But there is a negative effect too, once you stop drinking coffee the continuous narrowing of blood vessels can cause a headache and when you suddenly feel the need for caffeine, blood vessels get wider again, which can also lead to headaches.
Why should we avoid coffee?
The coffee plant produces caffeine as a protection against insects. Therefore, the main characteristic of caffeine is to fight insects and not to be a delicious drink, so that is why many researchers and doctors believe that coffee is unhealthy. Due to the fact that caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline from the adrenal glands, the regular consumption of coffee would put our body under constant stress. Just as in dangerous situation, muscle tension and blood sugar increase in order to release extra energy. Pulse and respiration rate increase too. The excessive production of stress hormones can lead to cardiovascular disorders.
This sounds more like a stress rather than a pleasant morning coffee. However, Gitler suggests that coffee may rather have negative effects on people with genetic predispositions, than the others. “CYP1A2 enzyme dilutes caffeine. There are people whose enzyme activity is reduced, so caffeine dilutes significantly slower and acts longer. Caffeine may cause heart problems to such huge coffee fans.” On the other hand, there are people whose enzymes are overactive and because of that they break caffeine down rapidly. The ideal dose is 0.6 liters of coffee a day and it has no negative effects on consumers.
Possible positive effects on health
There are many studies about coffee effects on a human body. There are more studies describing the positive effects of our favorite hot beverage – especially in the long run. So coffee should reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, provide some protection against Parkinson’s disease and act preventively against Alzheimer’s disease. Besides caffeine, antioxidants have this important role too. They deactivate free radicals in the body, that occur as a result of radiation, environmental pollution and exhaust gases, and also do harm to the body cells. “Of course we have our own mechanism of antioxidants, but coffee can boost the protective mechanism,” said Gitler.