Several studies have found that coffee has protective effects on health, in addition to its known negative effects. How is it healthier to take it?
BENEFITS AND PROPERTIES OF COFFEE
A coffee bean contains a complex mixture of substances that go far beyond its simple caffeine content.
For example, unfiltered coffee is a great source of cafestol and kahweol, two diterpenes that are implicated in coffee raising cholesterol levels, one of its proven negative effects. However, these two substances are largely retained by the filters of coffee makers, especially if they are paper.
On the other side of the scale, many epidemiological studies indicate that coffee can also be good or even very good at preventing certain chronic diseases, for example:
- Improves type II or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. According to numerous studies, coffee would act on glucose tolerance and insulin receptors and may improve the clinical evolution of this disease.
- Helps protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Coffee can exert a neuroprotective effect on dopaminergic neurons, that is, those that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that fails in Parkinson’s disease. On the other hand, the exciting action of coffee is also neurostimulator and could improve the evolution of Alzheimer’s dementia by protecting adenosine receptors.
- Improves asthma. It has also been proven that those who drink coffee regularly have less asthma. The explanation is attributed to the fact that calema is a methyl xanthine, as are many of the bronchial dilator drugs used for this disease. The issue is not trivial, since a reduction of up to 28% of asthma attacks has been observed in those who drink this drink.
- It is suitable in liver diseases. Some of them, such as gallbladder stones or cirrhosis, also improve. In the case of stones, because coffee is a stimulant of bile secretion and the elimination of bile into the intestine. By stimulating bile secretion, bile is more fluid and the risk of forming stones is reduced. When it comes to cirrhosis, we do not have a clear idea of the mechanisms by which this happens, but we do have a 15% lower risk of suffering from it among those who drink coffee. But let’s not forget that the main cause of cirrhosis, in many cases, is alcohol abuse, and that alcoholics do not usually drink a lot of coffee, since it reduces or inhibits the effects of the first.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF COFFEE ON HEALTH
One of the false myths attributed to coffee is that it causes osteoporosis. This in principle is not true, as numerous studies have shown, but osteoporosis does favor the sugar that is added to coffee, or the pasta or pastries that can accompany it, as these foods increase the elimination of calcium from the body.
Not everything has to be advantages, because it seems that the heart does not improve too much if you drink a lot of coffee. This drink can raise blood pressure, or stimulate stomach secretion in case of ulcer or gastritis, and the same happens with nervous diseases such as anxiety, which can be enhanced among coffee drinkers.
There are doubtful data on whether or not coffee increases the risk of cancer, doubtful because the presence of numerous antioxidants in its composition means that it may have protective effects.
There have been studies involving people who drank very large amounts of coffee, up to twenty cups a day, which is clearly an exaggeration, and in these cases the beneficial effects of coffee could be better verified, which would be attributed to its antioxidant substances as in the case of cocoa.
It is considered a responsible or moderate consumption that of one who takes a maximum of three cups a day, a figure that pregnant women should not exceed because abusive consumption can lead to uterine spasticity and an increased risk of spontaneous abortions or fetal growth retardation.
WHAT IS THE BEST COFFEE FOR HEALTH?
There is also the question of knowing how to choose a good coffee and prepare it properly, because not everything is the same.
For example, the arabica variety, which is the one to which quality coffees correspond, is better than the Robusta variety, and generally has somewhat less caffeine.
Arabica coffees offer tasty drinks even in simple infusion (filter coffee maker), while Robusta require processes that squeeze all the “flavor” of the bean, as in coffee makers that pass water vapor through ground coffee very finely.
As far as roasting methods are concerned, natural roasting coffee will be preferred to roasted, since in the latter case sugar has been added to the roasting process to give it the taste and foam that this type of coffee generates when preparing it in an espresso machine.
In general, a soft roasting is better than an intense one, because although in the latter case the flavor is increased, it is also more distorted to the grain.
Very rough coffees have more tannins and antioxidants in general.
As far as decaffeinated coffee is concerned, no additional benefit over non-decaffeinated coffee has been shown in any study, quite the contrary, due to the chemical solvents with which caffeine is usually removed.
On the other hand, freeze-dried coffee would occupy the last place in health benefits, and also in gastronomy.
Studies indicate that the best coffee is the one that is presented without more additives, manipulations or modifications than that of natural roasting. It is therefore preferable fair-trade coffee, arabica variety and organic farming; and use filter coffee makers and low-temperature dried coffees
It is preferable to consume it in moderation, because any excess or dependence is counterproductive.
If you feel bad, you simply dispense with it, it is not a miracle food, nor a panacea. It is not advisable to drink coffee routinely or “to wake up”, demanding more from the body than it can give. You can also try different drinks to avoid falling into caffeine addiction.