The benefits and harms of coffee for the body: research by scientists and advice from doctors

The benefits and harms of coffee for the body: research by scientists and advice from doctors

Calorie content, pros and cons of coffee; What to choose – instant or natural?

  • What you need to know
  • Calories and nutritional value
  • Benefits of coffee: 9 properties
  • Harm
  • Instant coffee
  • Expert comments

What you need to know about coffee

There are more than 90 species of coffee tree

Coffee is a drink made from roasted, ground coffee beans. It was brewed back in the 12th century in Arab countries, mixed with milk and spices, and then the recipe was brought to Europe. There are mainly two types of coffee consumed in Europe:

  1. Arabica. The grains are grown in India, Europe and Latin America. This variety has a sweet flavor with notes of citrus, flowers or berries.
  2. Robusta. Native to Africa, India, Europe and Sri Lanka. A strong drink made from these beans has a higher concentration of caffeine and is more bitter.

In 1991, coffee was included in the World Health Organization’s list of possible carcinogens. By 2016, he was exonerated by the discovery that the prevalence of lung cancer in regular coffee drinkers was higher due to the smoking habit of many coffee drinkers (1). Research confirms that coffee can be considered a healthy drink when consumed in moderation.

Coffee calories and nutritional value

The main active ingredient of the drink —  caffeine, but besides it, brewed beans contain organic acids, antioxidants, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and many vitamins, including group B

The main active component of the drink is caffeine, but in addition to it, the brewed beans contain organic acids, antioxidants, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and many vitamins, including group B

The calorie content of the drink depends on the variety and additives. A cup (about 240 g) of black coffee without milk and spices contains (2):

  • kilocalories — 2;
  • carbohydrates – 0 g;
  • proteins – 0.28 g;
  • fats – 0.5 g.

Coffee contains about 70 biologically active substances. First of all, it is caffeine – the main active component of the drink. In addition to it, brewed grains contain organic acids, antioxidants, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and many vitamins, including group B.

Coffee with milk

Many people avoid sugar in food and drinks to avoid increasing their calorie intake. But adding milk also seriously affects these indicators. One cup of coffee with milk contains (3):

  • kilocalories — 33;
  • carbohydrates – 3 g;
  • proteins – 2.3 g;
  • fats – 1.2 g.

Answering the question which coffee is better, black or with milk, gastroenterologist Evgeniy Belousov says that it depends on the state of health and taste preferences: “These drinks can have different effects on the body. Strong black coffee has a more pronounced effect due to the high concentration of caffeine, so people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system may experience increased blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, stomach discomfort and other negative manifestations. If you are concerned about these symptoms but still want to drink coffee, you can mitigate its effects by making the drink with milk or diluting your black coffee with milk. The only thing that needs to be taken into account in this case: coffee with milk is significantly higher in calories. This may be important for those on a calorie-restricted diet.”

If you add a spoonful of sugar to the drink, the calorie content will increase to 66 kcal (4). This is important to remember when buying coffee with syrups, which consist mainly of sugars. Those who like sour tastes can add lemon or lemon juice to their coffee. In this case, the nutritional value will change slightly – the calorie content will increase to only 5 kcal (5). Citrus fruits are sources of vitamin C and antioxidants, but they’re unlikely to make much of a health difference when it comes to a small slice of lemon in your morning cup of coffee (6).

Cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom make the drink especially spicy and aromatic. Calorie content of these spices per 100 g: cinnamon – 247 kcal, ginger – 360 kcal, cardamom – 311 kcal. Of course, 100 g is quite a lot; only a pinch of seasoning is added to coffee, so you don’t have to worry about increasing the calorie content. But there will be more benefits: spices help speed up metabolism, control blood sugar levels and are rich in vitamins to support immunity.

Benefits of coffee: 9 properties

Coffee stimulates the secretion of gastric acid, bile and pancreas, reduces the risk of gallstone disease, enhances gastrointestinal motility and inhibits the growth of bacteria, positively affecting the intestinal microbiota

Numerous studies show that coffee increases alertness and concentration, reduces the risk of diabetes, speeds up metabolism, improves mood, fights “bad” cholesterol, has antioxidant activity and is good for the cardiovascular system.

1. The effect of vivacity

Caffeine is found in the fruits, leaves and beans of coffee, cocoa and guarana. This substance increases alertness and improves cognitive abilities (7).

Evgeny Belousov says that when drinking coffee, the hormone adrenaline is produced, which helps to activate all systems of the body: “For some time, a person’s physical endurance, performance, and cognitive abilities increase, and it becomes possible to solve a greater number of tasks facing him. At the same time, coffee reduces the production of adenosine, the “fatigue hormone” that signals that the body needs rest. But you shouldn’t constantly resort to coffee as the only way to motivate yourself. Firstly, this effect is short-term; the invigorating effect of caffeine lasts about two hours. Secondly, addiction occurs, over time you need more and more caffeine, which can negatively affect your well-being.”

2. Reducing the risk of developing diabetes

Although drinking caffeine may raise your blood sugar levels in the short term, long-term studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Polyphenols and minerals such as magnesium found in coffee may improve the efficiency of insulin and glucose metabolism.

A meta-analysis of 45,000 people with type 2 diabetes found an association with more cups of coffee in the diet and a reduced risk of developing diabetes over 20 years. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, the risk reduction ranged from 8% when drinking one cup per day to 33% when drinking six cups per day (8).

3. Accelerate metabolism

Evgeny Belousov confirms that caffeine can speed up metabolic processes: “This has been proven in many scientific works. For example, a group of scientists from different countries conducted a study. Some participants consumed caffeine at a dose of 8 mg per 1 kg of weight, while the second group took a placebo. They found that people in the caffeine group had a significant increase in their metabolic rate within three hours (9).

In addition to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, drinking coffee reduces the risk of obesity (10). Scientists from different countries who studied the effects of caffeine on metabolism came to approximately the same conclusions: the substance can speed up metabolic processes. However, when the body becomes accustomed to caffeine, this effect disappears.”

4. Improved mood

Coffee lovers note that the drink not only invigorates and allows you to better concentrate on completing tasks, but also improves your mood.

The benefits and harms of coffee for the body: research by scientists and advice from doctors

5. Benefits for the cardiovascular system

In a study of 83,000 women, researchers found that drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of stroke compared to people who didn’t drink coffee (12). Doctors suggested that this was due not to caffeine, but to antioxidants.

A meta-analysis of 21 prospective studies of men and women on coffee consumption and chronic disease mortality found an association between moderate coffee consumption (three cups per day) and a 21% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease mortality compared with those who…