US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — We have come a long way from the cans of Folger, which were used to stuff cabinets of our grandparents, to latte in oat milk, drip coffee and frappuccino. Some of us approach the drink purely utilitarian, while others do not disdain sophisticated rituals. The fourth most popular drink in the country, coffee has soaked deep into our culture. But only the right dosage can improve your mood: overdo it and you will become nervous and twitchy.
Is coffee good?
In moderation – from 3 to 5 cups or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day – coffee is good for most people.
“There is strong evidence that coffee has a lower mortality risk,” says Erikka Loftfield, a fellow at the National Cancer Institute.
For many years, coffee was considered a possible carcinogen, but the recommendations for proper nutrition in 2015 turned our mind around. For the first time, moderate coffee consumption is recognized as an element of a healthy diet. When researchers monitored lifestyle factors, such as how much avid strong coffee lovers smoke, the data leaned in favor of coffee.
A large 2017 survey on coffee consumption and human health in the British Medical Journal also showed that in most cases, coffee is beneficial, not harmful. After reviewing more than 200 previous studies, the authors found that moderate coffee consumers are less susceptible to cardiovascular disease and premature death from all causes – including heart attacks and stroke – than those who do not drink coffee at all.
In addition, experts say, one of the strongest protective effects is associated with type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver diseases such as cirrhosis, cancer, and chronic liver failure. Thus, according to a meta-analysis of 30 studies, the consumption of about five cups of coffee per day – and by no means a complete rejection of the drink – correlates with a 30% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The potential benefits of coffee come from polyphenols, according to Dr. Giuseppe Grosso, associate professor of human nutrition at the University of Catania in Italy and lead author of the study in the Annual Nutrition Review, these plant compounds have antioxidant properties.
But at the same time, coffee is not suitable for everyone: there are risks of abuse. This is especially true for expectant mothers, because the safety of caffeine during pregnancy has not yet been proven. Although research on how coffee affects health is ongoing, a significant part of the work in this area is observational.
“Whether health benefits are related to coffee or not, we cannot say for sure,” explains Jonathan Fallowfield, a professor at Edinburgh University and co-author of a review of the British Medical Journal. “These results may be related to other behavioral patterns among coffee lovers.”
Does the method of making coffee matter?
Yes. Do you prefer dark or light roast? Coarse or fine? Arabica or Robusta?
“All of these factors determine not only the taste but also the composition of the coffee,” says Neal Freedman, a senior fellow at the National Cancer Institute. “True, it’s not entirely clear how different levels of compounds affect health.”
Thus, roasting reduces the amount of chlorogenic acids, but other antioxidant compounds are formed. Espresso has the highest concentration of many of these compounds because it has less water than drip coffee.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the coffee habits of nearly half a million Britons and found no difference between those who drink one cup a day or eight. Regular coffee with or without caffeine did not matter either, nor did the metabolism of consumers. In all cases, there was a reduced risk of mortality, except for instant coffee, where this relationship was less pronounced.
The way coffee is made also affects cholesterol. “One type of coffee, we found out, is not suitable for drinking – it’s boiled coffee,” says Marilyn Cornelis, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and co-author of the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Among the representatives of this type are a French press, Scandinavian coffee and Greek or Turkish coffee, popular in the Middle East. (The precipitate settles at the bottom of the cup with dark silt. To look into the future, the elders of the region have a tradition of reading the precipitate from an inverted cup, like a fortuneteller – a crystal ball).
However, boiled coffee oils contain cafestol and kahweol, compounds called diterpenes. It is proved that they increase low density lipoprotein (aka “good” cholesterol) and slightly lower high density lipoprotein, that is, “bad” cholesterol.
“If you filter coffee, then this is not a problem,” says Rob van Dam, professor at the National University School of Public Health at Singapore. “But whoever has cholesterol problems, it’s better to switch to other types of coffee.” He has been studying coffee for two decades. (And yes, coffee has flowed a lot since then).
However, other researchers say it’s too early to give up boiled coffee. The clinical effect of such a small increase in cholesterol is doubtful, given that it does not affect mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
Many coffee lovers switched from ground coffee to coffee tablets. Researchers say that, despite environmental claims to pills, they have the same advantages as drip coffee, that is, cold-made coffee – although more research is needed here.
Is the caffeine content of all types of coffee the same?
Not. The highest concentration of caffeine in espresso is about 70 milligrams per ounce, albeit the smallest it is drunk in portions. For comparison, a typical 12-ounce drip coffee contains 200 milligrams of caffeine and 140 milliliters of instant coffee. And yes, there’s even caffeine-free caffeine in boiled coffee — only 8 milligrams, but you need to consider them too.
When buying coffee, you never know in advance what you will get. So, in a Florida coffee house, the caffeine content in the same 16 oz serving of breakfast mix ranged from 259 milligrams to 564 — and this is already beyond federal guidelines.
But for some of us, knowing how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee is especially important. You must have noticed this before. A friend easily pumps up espresso at ten in the evening and gasps like a groundhog, and you, if you take at least a sip of coffee in the afternoon, will review old comedies until dawn. Some of us have polymorphism, a genetic trait that slows down the metabolism of caffeine. To them, Dr. Grosso recommends limiting consumption. “They drink coffee, then more and more, but the caffeine from the first cup continues to work,” he says.
You can find out your caffeine metabolism by taking tests – for example, in the 23andMe laboratory.
Is coffee addictive?
Available data indicate that the drink is addictive and, over time, a habit develops for it. Symptoms of withdrawal include headache, fatigue, irritability, impaired attention, and depressed mood.
In fact, caffeine is a psychotropic drug, and coffee is its main food source. About half an hour after a drunk cup, caffeine is rapidly absorbed and begins to act. Blood vessels narrow. The pressure is increasing. A small amount of caffeine will wake you up, cheer you up, give energy and vigor, increase concentration and even enhance athletic performance. On average, it takes four to six hours to absorb half the caffeine.
For those who consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, safety is no longer guaranteed. Higher doses can cause caffeine intoxication – up to tremors, nervousness and cardiac arrhythmias. Caffeine is also associated with delayed sleep and its quality.
“It seems to me that caffeine is so deeply rooted in our culture and everyday habits that we simply do not perceive it as a potential source of problems,” said Mary Sweeney, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Reduced coffee consumption is beneficial for gastroesophageal reflux. As a new study showed, women who drink caffeinated drinks — whether coffee, tea, or soda — have an increased risk of heartburn symptoms. The study authors predicted that symptoms would decrease if at least two servings were replaced with water.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, currently available data do not accurately determine the safe dose of caffeine during pregnancy. Caffeine crosses the placenta, which is why some doctors recommend that pregnant patients do not exceed the daily norm of 200 milligrams of coffee.
High doses of caffeine can even lead to death. But researchers say this is due to an overdose of caffeine in powder or tablets. “In the intensive care unit, you will never meet patients who have inadvertently gone too far with coffee,” says Dr. van Dam.
How is coffee fruit arranged?
Inside the red coffee fruit there are two grains – they are green in color and are closely pressed together. A rich brown hue appears only after frying. In fact, none are beans. “It’s like a cherry, picking it right off the tree,” says Patrick Brown, a professor of crop science at the University of California, Davis. However, unlike cherries, the most valuable is just the seed, and the flesh is thrown away.
In addition to caffeine, a dark coffee drink contains thousands of chemical compounds that can have a therapeutic effect on the body. One of the key ingredients, chlorogenic acid, is the polyphenol found in many fruits and vegetables. In addition, coffee is rich in vitamin B3, magnesium and potassium.
“People only see a source of caffeine in coffee, but it’s certainly a very complex vegetable drink,” says Dr. van Dam.
There are approximately 124 varieties of coffee, and most flavors remain unknown to the general public. Perhaps the situation will never change: after all, 60% of varieties are threatened with extinction, mainly due to climate change, diseases, pests and deforestation. Our mugs in a cafe, office and on road trips are filled with two varieties: arabica and canephora, it is also robust. Arabica goes to specialized cafes and costs more than robusta, which goes to instant coffee and partly espresso.
Despite all the hype surrounding Arabica, the fact remains: it is an extremely homogeneous seed of small size. Almost all of the world’s Arabica plantations come from several plants from Ethiopia, the homeland of coffee, or Yemen.
Does milk or sugar cancel the benefits of coffee?
Doctors do not know for sure. One 2015 study found that consumers of coffee with sugar, cream, or milk got the same effect as black lovers. But the coffee industry has changed dramatically since the 90s, when the study was dominated by older people with already established habits. “Then it was only a drop of cream or milk and a teaspoon of sugar,” said lead author of the study, Dr. Loftfield of the National Cancer Institute. “And this is very different from the coffee drinks that filled the market today.”
According to an October survey by the US Food and Drug Administration, sweet coffee and tea rank fourth as a source of sugar in adult American diets. This includes desserts such as Dunkin Donuts, an iced coconut caramel coffee drink that has 860 calories, 17 grams of saturated fat, and 129 grams of sugar. Some of these drinks have gone far from a two-calorie cup of good old black coffee, doctors are worried.
“A drink that contains a lot of unhealthy fats and so much sugar can be considered neither healthy nor balanced,” says Dr. Jim Krieger, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Washington. “Compared to the current dietary guidelines, no more than 50 grams of sugar per day is an astronomical amount of sugar.”
The concern of experts is growing, especially because approximately 43% of today’s teens consume coffee – almost twice as much as in 2003, the Kantar research company said. Part of the growth comes from sugary drinks.
“People should think about what they add to their coffee themselves, and what the food and beverage industry has already added,” said Laura Schmidt, professor at the University of California, San Francisco at the Medical University of California. “In addition, sweet coffee is now one of those products that are actively advertised to the public when more and more consumers refuse“ harmful ”soda.”
Is it time to make coffee?
It depends on what you want to achieve in life.
If you know the measure, doctors say, keep up the good work and have fun. But patients sensitive to the drink, gastroenterologist Sophie Balzora (Sophie Balzora) recommends carefully weigh the pros and cons. The clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University understands its cultural significance and is cautious in its advice. “To deprive people of coffee is truly inhumane,” she concluded.
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