There are so many myths and legends about the favorite drink of the Britons that it is difficult for coffee connoisseurs as well as bitter arch enemies of the popular pick-me-up to discover the facts in the midst of the countless tales.
Although coffee has been drunk for centuries and is the world's most popular psychoactive substance, black gold has developed a downright schizophrenic image in recent decades.
Some say: Coffee is carcinogenic, addictive, bad for the heart, dehydrates the body, is harmful to pregnant women, makes you nervous and robs you of sleep.
Others claim: Coffee wakes everyone up, is a magical remedy after a night of drinking, helps you lose weight and makes headaches go away.
But what is actually true about it? Is coffee now unhealthy or healthy? That is exactly what we want to take a closer look at.
Current studies and the latest findings agree: not really.
The bad reputation coffee received in the 80s and 90s as heart-damaging and carcinogenic has long since been refuted in 2021.
In 2016, the International Agency for Cancer Research came to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief, coffee is not carcinogenic - as long as it is enjoyed cooler than 65 ° Celsius. However, this recommendation also applies to all other hot drinks such as tea or hot chocolate.
As for the harmfulness of coffee to the heart, we have more good news for you: numerous studies have shown that moderate consumption of coffee (three to five cups a day) can even lead to a lower risk of heart disease, and that has been observed People are less likely to have calcified arteries.
Coffee still increases blood pressure immediately after consumption, which is not bad per se, depending on the health of the drinker - if he already has high blood pressure - but can also have negative effects. However, you have to add that after two to three weeks of coffee consumption you get used to it and your blood pressure only increases minimally or not at all.
How the coffee is prepared can also play a role. Researchers have found that brewed coffee raises LDL cholesterol, also known as the "bad cholesterol", in the blood and lowers HDL cholesterol, also known as "good cholesterol".
By the way, boiled coffee means that which you prepare in the French press, for example, with a classic filter and also mocha, as you prepare it in the Balkans, Turkey or the Middle East (here the coffee is not filtered, but first cooked in a small saucepan and then poured the coffee grounds into the cup).
As with many other luxury foods, the quantity of coffee is also important. So the question is: how much coffee is healthy or unhealthy? As mentioned above, the current recommendation for moderate consumption is three to five cups (or 400 mg of caffeine) a day. If you ingest a larger amount, symptoms such as palpitations, high blood pressure, anxiety or insomnia may occur.
It should also be mentioned that the recommendation of up to 400 mg caffeine per day does not apply to all people. Everyone metabolizes caffeine differently, so the tolerance can be well below or above this value. Experts advise: It is best to listen to your own body and give it as much or as little coffee as is good for you.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are even more claims about the unhealthy effects of coffee. We want to clarify this for you quickly:
● COFFEE DRAWS WATER FROM THE BODY This is one of the oldest myths about coffee, but there is not much to this misconception. After all, coffee is almost 100 percent water. One of the reasons that arguably contributed to the belief is that coffee has a diuretic effect. However, the amount of water that is excreted by the body is much less than previously thought. In addition, this diuretic effect only affects occasional drinkers. Those who drink coffee regularly get used to the effect and the body learns to counteract it.
● COFFEE INHIBIT GROWTH IN TEA ANGELS Regardless of how useful it is for teenagers to consume coffee or not, it has no effect on teenagers' growth. So you can relax and watch Gilmore Girls with your daughter and enjoy a cup of coffee like Rory and Lorelai.
● COFFEE IS ADDICTIVE If you drink coffee regularly and have tried to go without it for a while, you may have felt tired and exhausted and struggled with a headache. Clear signs of (caffeine) withdrawal. Nevertheless, doctors do not speak of an addiction, but only of a habit. By the way, researchers have found that many test subjects who are given decaffeinated coffee during withdrawal have fewer or no symptoms and a so-called placebo effect occurs.
● COFFEE IS HARMFUL FOR PREGNANT MOMS This is also not really true, although research has not really been unanimous to date. According to an opinion by the European Food Safety Authority from 2015, however, it is also safe for pregnant women to consume up to 200 mg of caffeine per day. A good alternative for all those who do not want to take any risks is and remains the decaffeinated coffee.
In short: yes.
However, it depends on the amount, type and method of preparation.
As we learned above, moderate coffee consumption can result in a lower risk of heart disease.
In addition, there are new findings that suggest that coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or Type 2 diabetes, or of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
The liver also benefits from regular coffee consumption - with or without caffeine. Studies show that coffee drinkers have healthier liver values than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee also reduces the risk of gallstones.
Researchers have also found that consuming coffee, whether or not decaffeinated, reduces the risk of colon cancer by 26 percent.
Another study shows that coffee protects our DNA. Participants in the study who drank around three cups of coffee a day had 27 percent fewer strand breaks in their genome after just four weeks than the participants who did not drink coffee.
As mentioned earlier, boiled coffee has a negative effect on the cholesterol in the blood.
But what positive effects can other manufacturing processes have?
Roasted coffee contains less chlorogenic acid, which in some people causes stomach pain and heartburn, as it is broken down by the heat applied during roasting. Instead, this process creates other antioxidants that have a positive effect on the body.
Filtered coffee can also be safely consumed by people who have problems with high blood cholesterol.
All in all, however, studies have shown that it does not matter whether you consume more espresso, cold brew, milk coffee or normal filter coffee, as in Italy and Spain, the positive effects mentioned above remain the same and all of these types are healthy. These positive effects are also retained with decaffeinated coffee, although slight weakening can occur.
Of course, there are not only myths about coffee that make it worse than it is, but also promises of salvation that are not quite true. We also want to clear up these for you:
● COFFEE IS THE ULTIMATE WATCHMAKER . Partly true. Because the caffeine in coffee gets the circulation going. However, this takes an average of half an hour. And although the dopamine released as a result makes us feel more motivated and more productive, the adrenaline released also makes us less able to concentrate. In fact, it can have the opposite effect in people with low blood pressure. As the blood pressure normalizes for a short time due to the caffeine, the body releases more sleep hormones.
● COFFEE CURES A NASTY HANGOVER It would be nice. After a night of partying, your skull is buzzing and coffee is said to be a quick remedy. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. The myth that coffee has a sobering effect persists. But it can't give you more than a short energy kick, because unfortunately coffee has absolutely no influence on the breakdown of alcohol in the body.
● COFFEE HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT This is only half true. Unfortunately, coffee alone does not make the pounds disappear as if by magic. What it can do, however, is to promote the release of fatty acids from the depots through the caffeine it contains. However, this only has an effect if the free fatty acids are consumed by an increased energy requirement - i.e. physical activity.
● COFFEE HELPS WITH HEADACHES Yes and no . Studies show that the caffeine in coffee can boost the effects of some pain relievers such as aspirin and paracetamol for mild to moderate headaches. Unfortunately, coffee alone cannot cope with the headache.
● ESPRESSO CONTAINS MUCH MORE CAFFEINE THAN NORMAL COFFEE It all depends on the dosage. Because although espresso has the highest concentration of caffeine, it is consumed in much smaller quantities. A cup of espresso therefore contains around 40 mg, while a normal cup of filter coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine.
If you believe the current research, it looks like coffee is a lot healthier than many believe.
Of course, that doesn't mean that we should all pour liters of coffee into us. All researchers agree on one thing: Coffee can be healthy, but in moderation.
And those who want to go without caffeine in the future or in the future - be it due to pregnancy, intolerance or simply because - can look forward to the fact that decaffeinated coffee also has positive effects on our body.
One thing is very clear: one should not simply believe coffee myths.