The advantages and disadvantages of drinking coffee

There are differing opinions about the benefits and health hazards of drinking coffee. It has been an ongoing debate for centuries.  Impotence and madness have both been blamed on coffee and it has also been praised as a cure for laziness, maybe even acting as an impetus to activate an Intertops poker bonus and have some fun!  However, today we can look to scientific studies to ascertain what the real and proven advantages and disadvantages are of consuming coffee.

Coffee is best known for its caffeine and caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world.   The health benefits of caffeine have been seriously researched over the years but coffee as a beverage includes a multitude of ingredients.   Interestingly, some experts say that decaffeinated coffee and coffee containing caffeine may have the same health benefits and, therefore, it could be that it is not the caffeine that is providing coffee’s health effects.

The research on the benefits and hazards of drinking coffee goes on but we have learnt a lot. There are 12 known health benefits of consuming coffee and 6 risks associated with drinking it.  Below is what we have learned so far.

The benefits of consuming coffee.

  • Coffee improves your bodily performance.   If you consume a cup of black coffee approximately one hour before you work out, it can boost your performance by around 11-12%. Adrenaline levels in your blood are increased by caffeine and adrenaline is the body’s hormone which is responsible for the body’s “fight or flight” hormone – preparing the body for physical action.
  • Coffee can assist in losing weight.   Magnesium and potassium are two of the ingredients in coffee.  Both of these assist the body in using insulin which regulates blood sugar levels.  Therefore, coffee may well reduce the cravings for sugary snacks and sweets.
  • Coffee assists in burning body fat. Research shows that caffeine can help cells in the body break down body fat and use it as energy.
  • Coffee can keep you energized and focused.   Studies have found that up to 6 cups of coffee daily can help to keep you focused and mentally alert.
  • Coffee may reduce mortality. Studies have found that those who drink coffee are 25% less likely to die a premature death than those who do not consume coffee.
  • Coffee can reduce the risk of some cancers. A study has found that coffee may reduce the risk of men getting prostrate cancer by 20 percent.  It also showed that it could reduce the risk of women developing endometrial cancer by 25 percent.  Those who took part in the test group consumed four cups of coffee a day.  It is also reported that caffeine may be an important element in the prevention of the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, from developing.
  • Coffee may reduce the possibility of a stroke. Drinking two to four cups of coffee a day has been said to reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Coffee is said to reduce the possibility of Parkinson’s.   Studies show that there is a 25% decrease in the risk of a person contracting Parkinson’s disease if they drink coffee on a regular basis.  Research shows that coffee stimulates activity in the brain often affected by Parkinson’s disease.
  • Coffee has a protective effect on the body. Coffee has many antioxidants that help to fight off free radicals in the body, thus protecting it.
  • Coffee may well reduce the risk of Type II diabetes. Because caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity and weakens glucose tolerance, it can lower the risk of type II diabetes.
  • Coffee has the ability to protect the brain.   Having higher levels of caffeine in the blood can lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease.
  • Coffee is uplifting, can reduce feelings of depression and help fight off suicide. Caffeine is a stimulant and affects the central nervous system.  It enhances the production of neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline which improve your mood.  Studies suggest that drinking two cups of coffee daily can prevent the risk of suicide by as much as 50%.

There are a number of disadvantages to drinking coffee

  • Not all coffee is good. Some coffee can be toxic.   If the coffee is of a poor or bad quality it can contain many impurities that can have a harmful effect, causing headaches or sickness.  If the coffee is made from beans that have been ruined your coffee can become toxic.  Be sure to buy good quality coffee.
  • Coffee can be lethal. It is possible to die from drinking coffee.If you were to consume anywhere from 80-100 cups of coffee, about 23 liters, in a short amount of time this could be fateful.  This amount of caffeine, approximately 10-13 grams would be lethal to the functioning of your body.   However, it is unlikely that your body could withstand this amount of liquid anyway, and you would vomit most of the liquid out.
  • Coffee is known to be the cause of insomnia and agitation. The culprit is of course the caffeine.   As mentioned above, drinking about 4 cups of coffee a day is the recommended amount, that’s about 400 milligrams of caffeine.  Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and so should be careful.  Most of us become aware of how we react to coffee and manage the amounts we consume.
  • Reduce your coffee intake if you are pregnant. If you are pregnant you should limit your coffee to one cup a day.    The caffeine in coffee does go through to the fetus.  Even though there is some controversary as to its effect on the fetus, it is better to reduce your coffee intake during this time.
  • Use filtered coffee if you have high cholesterol. Cafestol and Kahweol are two ingredients in coffee beans that are known to increase LDL cholesterol  It has been found that filtering the coffee retains the majority of the LDL.  But, cafestol and kahweol are also in expresso, Turkish, French and Scandinavian coffees.  However, the amounts of LDL in a cup of expresso are very small and unlikely to impact someone with normal cholesterol levels.  In fact, other studies carried out are showing that these two ingredients may be good for your liver and even contain anti-cancer properties.
  • Keep the coffee away from the kids. A study carried out has shown that an increase in caffeine consumption increased bedwetting in children between the ages of 5-7 years.


Drinking a reasonable amount of coffee can be good for you, if you are healthy and not caffeine sensitive, have high cholesterol or are pregnant.   It helps to prevent serious illnesses, can help to control your weight, keep you energetic and focused.  Just make sure you invest in good quality coffee and share it with your friends.


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