Tuesday, December 15, 2015
According to the Mintel Coffee UK 2008 Report, approximately 70 million cups of coffee are consumed every day in the UK, making it one of the most popular drinks amongst adults. Unlike many of the other things we enjoy, recent research now also suggests that drinking coffee every day can actually be beneficial for our health.
Our love affair with coffee goes back centuries. The 17th century saw the rise of the “penny universities”- coffee houses that sprung up in towns and cities all over the country. These cafes were given this name as visitors could buy a cup of coffee for a penny and have intellectually stimulating conversations with other people. Nowadays, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year making it the world’s most popular drink.
Given how much coffee we drink as a nation, there has been a lot of research conducted on the effect it has on the body. From helping to keep weight off post-diet to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it turns out that drinking coffee has several health benefits.
Around 15 minutes after drinking a cup of coffee, your blood pressure will go up on average 10%-15%. 30 minutes after finishing your drink, the caffeine will make your brain feel more alert, making you feel more awake and responsive. Drinking a cup of coffee will also stimulate the stomach to increase gastro secretions by 10%-15%, meaning you will digest food faster.
The British Coffee Association claim that coffee can reduce the risks of fatal liver disease by up to 40% with the greatest results seen in those who already suffer some type of liver damage. According to other research, drinking coffee daily can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers in later life. The chances of developing type 2 diabetes are also reduced alongside a common trend showing a reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer by 25%-30% amongst regular coffee drinkers.
For most people, coffee shouldn’t have any negative effects but as with anything else, having too much can cause problems. It is recommended that you don’t drink more than 4 cups of coffee a day for any length of time. Consuming too much caffeine on a regular basis can affect blood pressure, sleep and put excess strain on the heart.
It is also recommended that certain people refrain from consuming coffee due to the impact the caffeine content could have. This includes people who suffer from raised blood pressure, and also pregnant women are advised to limit their coffee intake to no more than 2 cups a day. While research suggests a small intake of coffee won’t harm the unborn baby, it is still recommended that a limitation is placed on how much coffee an expectant mother should drink. As caffeine increases brain function and makes you feel alert, drinking coffee close to bedtime is not advisory if you are hoping to get a good night’s sleep.
While you may seriously enjoy a good cup of coffee, if you drink a lot of it regularly then you may find yourself developing a caffeine tolerance. This occurs when the body becomes used to the effect of the caffeine in coffee, and it no longer has the same impact. This can lead you to crave more coffee, in order to feel the same buzz that you used to. So what do you do when coffee just doesn’t feel the same anymore?
In order to feed the nation's obsession with coffee, several options have begun to be introduced to the market. One such alternative is Bulletproof coffee, which has been developed using “upgraded” coffee beans blended with grass-fed butter and “Brain Octane Oil”. This recipe makes for a unique cup of coffee, which claims to be even healthier than the original. Other alternatives to a regular cup of coffee include dandelion herbal coffee blend, which tastes as close to coffee without being coffee, hot maca and good old fashioned hot lemon water. All of these beverages offer an energy boost akin to the caffeine high of a normal cup of coffee.
Research shows coffee definitely has its benefits but as the saying goes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. As long as you can keep your coffee intake in proportion, then you can brew up in the knowledge that your morning cup of Joe is actually doing you some good and there are plenty of alternatives out there if you ever do fancy a change.