We all know those jittery coffee lovers who seem to have caffeine running through their veins instead of blood. If they don’t get their morning cup, you may not want to be around them. While coffee does contain caffeine, which can produce jitteriness, which is not the only thing that happens to your body when you drink it. Luckily, there are benefits to weigh against the drawbacks. What happens to your body when you drink coffee?
What happens to your body depends on you and how well you tolerate coffee. When ingested, coffee, specifically the caffeine in coffee, starts a chemical reaction in your body. Caffeine blocks a chemical known as PDE (phosphodiesterase). This stops a chemical messenger, known as cAMP, from breaking down. What does this do? The process is complex, but basically, caffeine stops cAMP from breaking down, and the effects that this messenger has on the body are prolonged. Your heart produces norepinephrine, or noradrenalin, and epinephrine, which makes it beat faster. Our body kicks into fight or flight mode, increasing blood pressure, and taking more oxygen to the brain and tissues of the body.
Coffee has been blamed for a number of ill effects on the body, including:
- Stimulation of the heart, nervous system, and respiratory system.
- Raising the level of fatty acids in the blood.
- Increasing blood pressure.
- Irritating stomach lining.
- Decreasing the efficacy of digestion.
- Increasing urination.
- Affected sleep quality.
- Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
- Release of adrenaline.
- Overstimulation of the pancreas to reduce blood sugar.
While we all know that technically caffeine is a drug, we don’t typically view it that way or think that it causes anything more than a temporary boost or feeling of alertness. But to produce that boost, caffeine travels throughout the body, leaving its mark on everything from our hearts to our pancreases.
With this laundry list of negative effects, why would you want to drink coffee? Well, maybe you’re addicted and can’t stop. But research has emerged that shows that coffee does indeed have benefits for the body.
The 54 percent of us who drink coffee daily can breathe a sigh of relief. The “devil’s brew” may be able to reduce the risk of colon and liver cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. Men who drink coffee seem to be at a lower risk for advanced or lethal prostate cancer, and middle-aged people who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later in life (but those who drank more than five cups did not have the same reduction, so limit the coffee!). A study done in 2008 found that coffee-drinking women had a reduced risk of dying of various causes than non coffee-drinkers during the length of the study.
Coffee also has healthy antioxidants, which combat age-causing free radicals, and while scientists are still researching what other healthful components the mighty coffee bean may hold, it is generally regarded as much safer and healthier than it was presumed.
Despite this, nearly everyone can agree that limiting consumption of coffee is crucial to your health, your mood, your energy level, and your quality of sleep. Having a few cups in the morning will not hurt you, and it may help you. After that, switch to tea or water. Coffee is no longer the devil’s brew, but moderation is best.
ROK Espresso Maker