While there are many who believe that coffee isn’t good for you, particularly the caffeinated brew, there are a number of already-run studies that have been updated with new facts from 2016 studies thanks to a Live Science article by their staff writers. This gives a more balanced picture of the drink that has long been called the “nectar of the gods.” This looks at both the plusses and minuses of the favorite brew of many.
1. Caffeine Can Kill You
While the caffeine found in many drinks, now even in a powered form can kill you, you’d have to be drinking 80-100 cups in a hurry to accomplish this, according to health experts. Unless you’re trying to prevent an imminent alien invasion of the planet, it’s very unlikely you’ll be doing this.
2. Coffee Can Be Good For You
Coffee beans contain antioxidants called quinines that fight free radicals, and they become more potent after roasting. A number of studies from 2014, 2015 and 2016 found that coffee is actually good for your liver. It may also lower your risk for heart attack and may even reduce the risk of colon cancer. According to the journal Circulation, one-to-five cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of early death and a 2016 study also linked coffee to a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis.
3. Caffeine Might Boost Female Sex Drive
Researchers know that this worked on laboratory rats and suspect that in humans it might work the same … but only in people who aren’t habitual coffee drinkers.
4. Caffeine Might Cut Pain
While a small study reported that moderate doses of caffeine (two cups of coffee) can relieve post-gym muscle pain, it was done on a group of people who don’t regularly drink coffee. Another study in 2012 found that people who drink coffee before sitting down to work at a computer reported less neck and shoulder pain. While this article says there isn’t enough research in large enough studies to gain any sort of firm conclusions, WebMD says that caffeine helps reduce inflammation and that it boosts the effectiveness of common headache remedies.
5. Caffeine Can Keep You Up at Night
Since the effects of caffeine can last for hours, health experts say to avoid coffee for six hours before bedtime due to those long-lasting effects. Caffeine can affect different people in different ways so if you’re one that has trouble sleeping, this is good advice to follow. Findings from a 2015 study showed that caffeine can confuse your body’s internal clock’s signals that tell the body when to sleep.
6. Decaf Coffee Has Caffeine
Sad but true. If you drink five-to-ten cups of decaffeinated coffee, you can wind up with as much caffeine as you get from drinking one or two cups of the caffeinated brew according to another study.
7. Decaffeination Uses Chemicals
If you’re adverse to ingesting lots of chemicals, you need to know that the decaffeination process uses an organic solvent, methylene chloride. When the coffee beans are steamed the caffeine dissolves and rises to the top where it’s washed off by the solvent.
8. Great Coffee Depends on Roasting and Brewing
Food and drink preparation really boils down to chemistry and when it comes to coffee flavor, it comes down to the roasting and brewing processes. Oil locked inside the coffee beans starts to come out during the roasting process when the temperature hits about 400 degrees. The strength of the flavor is equal to the amount of the oil. And the caffeine content rises as the water spends more time in contact with the coffee grounds. So regular coffee often has more caffeine than espresso or cappuccino while darker roasts have more caffeine than regular coffee.
9. Coffee Was Discovered by Goats
Yet another study shows that coffee drinkers in the U.S. get most of their antioxidants from their daily coffee consumption. with one or two cups a day being suggested as a beneficial amount. If you don’t like coffee, however, you can switch to black tea which is listed as the second most consumed antioxidant source followed by bananas, dry beans and corn.
Ending with a story of the discovery of coffee, the article says that over one thousand years ago on an African mountainside a goatherder was kept awake all night after his herd of goats had been eating red coffee berries. He supposedly took his animals’ discovery to some monks who prayed over it. Whether or not that story is true, the phrase “nectar of the gods” seems much more appetizing than the “nectar of the goats” so I’m choosing to go with it. How about you?
By Miriam Latto