A lot of adults like to kickstart their day with one very important beverage: coffee. Whether you choose coffee for its energy-boosting properties or simply because you like the taste, it is arguably one of the most popular drinks around the world for at least one of these reasons.
At the same time, however, there are people out there who swear against coffee. Why? Well, while the taste certainly is not for everyone, coffee has gotten a bit of a bad reputation for being bad for your health, both mentally and physically.
So which side is right? Can the benefits of drinking coffee really outweigh any potential drawbacks? If you are sitting on the fence about whether to kick your daily caffeine habit or carry on as a proud coffee lover, let us help you with your decision.
Keep reading for our list of the 10 pros and cons of coffee everyone should probably be aware of, and then decide for yourself whether regular coffee drinking is the right choice for you.
1. Coffee Increases Energy
You probably already knew this one! Coffee can indeed help reduce tiredness and increase energy levels by releasing caffeine into the body. The caffeine in turn inhibits your adenosine receptors, which are neurotransmitters that can slow down brain activity and therefore make you feel tired. You do not want to overdo it, though – moderate consumption of up to about 2-6 cups per day is all you need to reap these invigorating benefits.
2. Coffee Can Protect You from All Sorts of Health Problems
Coffee can help protect your brain from some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This health benefit may be due to the antioxidants present in coffee that have been shown to increase cognitive function while also inhibiting damage to brain cells. In fact, your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease can decrease by up to 25% if you drink coffee regularly!
Coffee can also help protect you from several other health problems. For example, various studies have supported the idea that drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, strokes, and cancers. Coffee consumption has been linked to a reduced rate of all types of cancers, such as liver, kidney, colorectal, prostate, endometrial, and premenopausal breast cancers.
3. Coffee Can Be Good for Mental Health
Not only can coffee be good for the physical health of your brain, but it can also be beneficial for your overall mental health. The caffeine from coffee has been shown to increase the production of noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin, which are mood-elevating neurotransmitters. This boost in neurotransmitters is likely what contributes to the significantly reduced risk of mental health disorders such as depression in coffee lovers.
4. Coffee Can Help with Weight Loss
If you are trying to lose weight, then cutting out coffee could be a mistake. Since it contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium, coffee can help your body use insulin, which helps keep your blood sugar levels in check and ultimately reduces the desire for sweets and other sugary treats.
Another way that coffee may aid in weight loss is by helping regulate the digestion process in our bodies. Coffee has been shown to stimulate bowel movements and act as a natural diuretic, which are things that are probably well-known by any avid coffee drinker!
5. Coffee Can Boost Physical Endurance
Physical exercise is another important thing to consider if you are trying to lose weight, stay healthy, or get in shape, and it turns out that drinking coffee can help out with that too. It has been shown that having a cup of coffee or two before working out can increase your performance.
The caffeine in coffee stimulates the central nervous system and increases the adrenaline levels in your body. This adrenaline can help you feel more prepared for any kind of physical activity. If you can manage to drink coffee on an empty stomach before a meal, then, you will not only get this feeling of boosted endurance, but you will be burning off body fat instead of breakfast.
6. Coffee Can Be Bad for Anxiety
While the stimulating factor provided by caffeine can be beneficial for feelings of physical endurance, it is unfortunately not so great when it comes to anxiety-related symptoms and disorders.
Caffeine consumption causes our cells to move around faster while at the same time constricting our blood vessels, and this is what typically leads to that boost of energy you feel when you consume coffee. In some people, this increased feeling of alertness is all they get from the caffeine, but other more sensitive individuals may also experience symptoms of anxiety and irritability, and even get heart palpitations and panic attacks.
7. Coffee Can Cause Sleep Disruptions
Again, the stimulating effects of caffeine can certainly have their downfalls, as studies have shown that consuming it can negatively affect both the quality and duration of your sleep. You can help avoid these effects by not exceeding 4 cups of coffee (or 400mg of caffeine) a day, switching to decaf coffee in the afternoon, or cutting it out entirely within 6 hours of bedtime.
8. Coffee Can Negatively Affect Digestion
While coffee can help with some digestive processes in our bodies, it can also make some problems worse. Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, for example, can be exacerbated by coffee consumption as coffee has been shown to increase our colon’s muscular activity. Coffee may also induce symptoms related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD), like a burning feeling in the stomach or throat.
If you suffer from any digestive issues such as these and notice any of these problems worsening after drinking coffee, it may be a good idea to limit or eliminate this source of caffeine intake or try switching your regular coffee to a low acidic coffee.
9. Coffee Can Cause Symptoms of Caffeine Addiction and Withdrawal
As with other drugs that stimulate the central nervous system, you can become addicted to the caffeine that comes with drinking coffee. In other words, you may become dependent on that feeling of increased energy and alertness that you get every time you consume a cup.
Over time, you may develop a tolerance to your coffee’s caffeine content, which means you need to drink more and more to produce those same effects in your body. Though it may seem relatively innocent, the high levels of caffeine consumption that can come with this kind of addiction can eventually be detrimental to your health, as evidenced by some of the other cons on this list.
Then, if you try and cut back on your coffee consumption, you will also experience negative effects, at least for a while. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can include lethargy, irritability, and painful headaches.
As you can see, the symptoms associated with caffeine addiction and withdrawal are not especially fun. Fortunately, they can largely be avoided by drinking coffee in moderation, even if you are doing so regularly.
10. Coffee Can Lead to High Blood Pressure
While the effects of caffeine on blood pressure do seem to only be temporary, it can indeed raise your levels. Having high blood pressure increases your chances of having a heart attack as it can lead to damaged arteries, which in turn affects the way blood flows throughout your body.
Since the effects seem to be fleeting, the increase in blood pressure due to drinking coffee may be of most concern to those who already have heart disease, hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Pros and Cons of Coffee: Final Thoughts
Hopefully, after looking at all the pros and cons of coffee, you are no longer sitting on the fence about whether or not you should kick your coffee habit. If you are still feeling a little guilty about some of those cons, keep in mind that drinking coffee in moderation is fine for most people. Fortunately, a lot of negative effects can be avoided almost entirely by limiting your consumption or switching to decaffeinated coffee.
The decision on whether or not to drink coffee is ultimately up to you – everyone may weigh these pros and cons of coffee differently. So, what do YOU think?