Most people start and end the day with a hot beverage. With that being said, the general population can be divided into two groups- coffee lovers and tea lovers. The different types of coffee spoil can spoil a person for choice. Espresso (black coffee), cappuccino, latte, decaf- the list can go and on. Similarly, the health benefits of coffee or the side-effects of coffee make for an extremely long list separately.
Most of the benefits of coffee take form as health benefits. The health benefits of coffee will definitely startle you. Because of the presence of caffeine in coffee, coffee lovers get addicted to the beverage and it becomes a need for some individuals. What happens if the ‘individual concerned’ is a mother? What are the effects of coffee during pregnancy? To answer such questions and more- this article has been framed. Hopefully, it can keep you awake like coffee!
Table Of Contents
1. What Is Coffee? What is Caffeine?
Coffee is the world’s favourite hot beverage that’s made from coffee beans. The coffee plant has its roots spread in the lands of Africa. Yes, pun-intended. However, today, owing to its mass popularity coffee has become an extremely commercial crop and is grown in many countries around the world. Although more popular as a hot beverage, a lot of people prefer drinking coffee cold. A controversial and commercial important plant- do the health benefits of coffee outweigh its side effects?
It would be no understatement to say that the presence of caffeine in coffee defines what coffee is all about. All that’s beautiful about the plant is because of the presence of caffeine in coffee- even some of the health benefits of coffee. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant and is found in abundance in coffee. One cup of coffee contains nearly 95g of caffeine. Caffeine in coffee plays the role of the devil and the angel.
It would criminal to leave decaf coffee out of this section. Decaf coffee is coffee that’s 97% free from caffeine. Lots of people like to minimize their caffeine intake and thus, for such people decaf serves as the perfect option. While a regular cup of coffee contains 95g of caffeine- a cup of decaf coffee contains only 3g of caffeine.
Other sections of this article deal with those two topics in detail.
2. Types Of Coffee
If you were to go by biology, there are two types of coffee - Arabica and Robusta. The two types of coffee differ in terms of flavour, cultivation condition and price. In terms of the health benefits of coffee- these two types swim in the same boat. The same goes with respect to the side effects of coffee.
Arabica coffee beans have a slightly sweet taste to them- almost berry like some may say. When compared to Robusta coffee, the acidity content of Arabica coffee is higher. Sadly, it’s not all that easy to grow Arabica coffee and thus, it’s quite exorbitantly priced. Out of the two types of coffee; Robusta is by far the more affordable coffee. Extremely easy to grow, they are strong plants that can withstand considerably harsh conditions. It’s almost as though the hardship of the plants seeps into the beans filling them with more caffeine content when compared to Arabica coffee. Hence, due to the excess caffeine in coffee- Robusta coffee is characterised by a sharp and bitter taste. The aftertaste is somewhat peanut-y even.
However, if you were to go to a restaurant- the types of coffee available there would be quite different. In fact, there will be so many different types of coffee that you will feel spoilt for choice. But do consider drinking black coffee as black coffee benefits outweigh the benefits of regular coffee.
3. Health Benefits Of Coffee
You know what can make for a good group discussion topic?
“Is coffee good for your health or not?”
Over the course of this ‘discussion’, the mediator is going to be bombarded by the health benefits of coffee and the side-effects of coffee. The mediator will have to decide what outweighs what. Do the health benefits outweigh the side-effects? The next bit of this article will give you perspective into this hypothetical mediator’s life.
Given below are the health benefits of coffee and below that the side-effects of coffee will be mentioned.
Regular intake of coffee reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee drinkers are also less liable to catch the Parkinson’s disease. Two deadly diseases and it’s possible to be immune to them (relatively speaking)- if only you drank coffee.
Coffee drinkers are less susceptible to suffer from heart-diseases. Research studies have found that coffee reduces the risk of stroke in old people.
DNA is found to be stronger in those people who drink coffee regularly. The reason for this being that the white blood cells of coffee drinkers show lesser instances of DNA breakage.
Regular intake of coffee can reduce the risk of depression. According to research, people who drink coffee 4 times a day are 20% less likely to suffer from depression.
Black coffee benefits the teeth more than regular coffee. It helps kill germs and prevent tooth decay. Provided that the black coffee is strong. The key here is black coffee. Adding milk and sugar negates the bacteria killing powers of black coffee. Black coffee benefits go beyond dental protection and that’s why many people in European countries especially, prefer drinking black coffee to regular coffee.
Coffee has the power to prevent retinal damage of the eye. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid which has strong oxidizing power and hence, prevents retinal damage through oxidative stress.
[Also Read: A Healthy Debate: Tea vs. Coffee]
4. Side-Effects Of Coffee
Coffee may be the world’s favourite hot beverage but it’s not perfect. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has side-effects. And, so does coffee. It’s precisely because of the many side-effects of coffee that this hypothetical ‘group discussion’ gets interesting. So let's spill the beans on the side effects coffee:
Believe it or not - too much of coffee can actually kill you. There’s a certain amount of coffee that your body can take. If you overdo it- you risk your life. The same goes with water. The body cannot take more than 23 liters of water and if you drink more than that, you will probably just vomit it out in the best case scenario.
Harm Mental Health:
Caffeine is an addictive drug. The biggest side-effect of coffee is its disintegrating effect on an individual’s mental health. Research points out that because of the presence of caffeine in coffee- some individuals suffer from experiencing an increase in their anxiety levels. Alternate studies showed that one of the side effects of coffee consumption is an increase in depressive symptoms.
Ruin One’s Sleeping Cycle:
Over-dependence on coffee can disrupt one’s sleeping cycle that commonly leads to insomnia. It also leads to daytime fatigue which can result into lower productivity.
Irritates Digestive System:
Coffee is a highly acidic beverage because of which it causes irritation to the body’s digestive system. It should be especially avoided if you suffer from acid reflux. There’s a unique way in which it irritates the body’s gastrointestinal tract
5. Effect Of Coffee During Pregnancy
Your job as a mediator is not done just yet. Based on the knowledge that you have gained, answer this question:
“Is the effect of coffee during pregnancy positive or negative when keeping the health of the mother and the baby in focus?”
Most doctors will advise mothers to avoid coffee during pregnancy. According to ACOG, if mothers cannot avoid coffee during pregnancy then they should ensure that they do not consume more than 200mg of coffee in a day during the time of pregnancy. Such mothers should look at decaf coffee as an option. Decaf coffee is a great option for mothers who want to drink coffee during pregnancy.
So the main reason why doctors do not advise mother to drink coffee during pregnancy is because caffeine stays in the baby for longer periods of time exposing the baby to the side effects of coffee.
it’s not coffee that you have to avoid - it’s caffeine. Hence, to conclude this discussion we can say that the effect of coffee during pregnancy is negatively inclined towards the upkeep of the health of the mother and the baby, the baby in particular.