Coffee is that quintessential morning drink that wakes people up around the world. Caffeine, which is found abundantly in coffee, is a known stimulant. Some studies also suggest that caffeine may be addictive, which is why coffee drinking becomes such a hard habit to break.
However, do you know the mechanism by which caffeine works, and the things you should keep in mind when you drink coffee? Here’s a handy list.1
Effects Of Drinking Coffee
1. Coffee Makes You Less Hungry
Through a complex neurochemical process, caffeine actually suppresses appetite.2 Caffeine interacts with neurotransmitters, and affects the sympathetic nervous system whose job it is, among other thing, to prevent a sense of hunger and get the body to burn more fat. However, this doesn’t mean that drinking more coffee will make you magically thin, as there is a limit to this activity and too much of coffee causes more problems that it solves.
2. Coffee Can Be Dangerous
Some studies show that drinking coffee increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease.3 This can perhaps be attributed to the stimulant effects of caffeine on the nervous system which serve as constant triggers. Many studies also claim that coffee is a teratogen – it can cause miscarriages and deformities in children when their pregnant mothers drink coffee.4
3. Coffee Increases Activity Levels
In sprinters and other sportspeople who need quick bursts of energy to accomplish a certain task, caffeine consumption gives them that needed boost to perform better.5 The obvious downside to this is that most of us don’t have to sprint or perform very highly, so caffeine can make us jumpy and restless. There is cause to believe that coffee consumption in the evening can lead to disturbed sleep and insomnia.
4. Coffee Is Great For People With Alzheimer’s
It is interesting that the same stimulant that precipitates Parkinson’s disease may actually keep the nerve cells active, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This benefit is very specific to coffee as a source of caffeine, as it is believed that caffeine interacts with other chemicals in coffee to form a neuro-protective effect.6
Foods To Consume Before Having Coffee
A tall glass of water before the coffee hist your system may help prevent some of the jumpiness and restlessness associated with coffee intake on an empty stomach. Adding some creamer to coffee helps it to pass through the digestive tract more slowly, be processed more slowly and not give you caffeine related side effects.
Some people swear by eating a snack before grabbing a glass of coffee for these same reasons. There is no scientifically approved list of foods to avoid before having coffee. However, you may want to stay clear of foods that cause acid reflux, as coffee makes reflux worse.7
|↑1||Daly, J. W., J. Holmen, and B. B. Fredholm. “Is caffeine addictive? The most widely used psychoactive substance in the world affects same parts of the brain as cocaine.” Lakartidningen 95, no. 51-52 (1998): 5878-5883.|
|↑2||Belza, Anita, Søren Toubro, and Arne Astrup. “The effect of caffeine, green tea and tyrosine on thermogenesis and energy intake.” European journal of clinical nutrition 63, no. 1 (2009): 57.|
|↑3||Checkoway, Harvey, Karen Powers, Terri Smith-Weller, Gary M. Franklin, W. T. Longstreth Jr, and Phillip D. Swanson. “Parkinson’s disease risks associated with cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and caffeine intake.” American journal of epidemiology 155, no. 8 (2002): 732-738.|
|↑4||Christian, Mildred S., and Robert L. Brent. “Teratogen update: evaluation of the reproductive and developmental risks of caffeine.” Teratology 64, no. 1 (2001): 51-78.|
|↑5||Collomp, K., S. Ahmaidi, J. C. Chatard, M. Audran, and Ch Prefaut. “Benefits of caffeine ingestion on sprint performance in trained and untrained swimmers.” European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology 64, no. 4 (1992): 377-380.|
|↑6||Cao, Chuanhai, Li Wang, Xiaoyang Lin, Malgorzata Mamcarz, Chi Zhang, Ge Bai, Jasson Nong, Sam Sussman, and Gary Arendash. “Caffeine synergizes with another coffee component to increase plasma GCSF: linkage to cognitive benefits in Alzheimer’s mice.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 25, no. 2 (2011): 323-335.|
|↑7||Tack, Jan, G. Koek, Ingrid Demedts, Daniel Sifrim, and J. Janssens. “Gastroesophageal reflux disease poorly responsive to single-dose proton pump inhibitors in patients without Barrett’s esophagus: acid reflux, bile reflux, or both?.” The American journal of gastroenterology 99, no. 6 (2004): 981.|