When is Coffee Bad for You?

The advent of coffee shops has led to so much awareness of, not only of coffee’e health benefits but also its side effects; after all, if you’re paying  $3 – $5 for a mug of  coffee almost everyday, you gotta know what’s in it and what it can do to your health.

English: How to apply traditional coffee in Syria
For some, one cup is never enough. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we all know, caffeine in coffe increases alertness by stimulating our nervous system, blood pressure and our body’s intestinal functions. You might have also seen TV commercials advertising that coffee is enriched with antioxidants that could protect us against free radicals. A lot has also been said about coffee’s positive effect on weight loss; its analgesic and cardioprotective properties and its ability to reduce the risk of degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.

I am a coffee addict, and I’m happy to hear all these about the drink that never fails to wake me up everyday. For me, everything taken in moderation would not really have a bad effect on our health (like wine and beer for example). But what exactly is moderate and when is it too much? If contradicting research results  have you wondering if coffee is healthy or harmful, the answer is simple: it depends.

It would be  difficult to make individual recommendations for safe coffee consumption because the ability of the body to process caffeine would vary from person to person. Coffee consumption may be a mix of the good and the bad: positive effects from antioxidants and other compounds, negative effects from caffeine.

When can you tell that it’s bad for you?

If you have gastritis, ulcer and colitis, coffee may not be good for you. Coffee can damage the lining of the gastrointestinal and  it will worsen your condition. Coffee is known to trigger the secretion of stomach acids, resulting in bouts of indigestion and heartburn. With people that have a history of stomach problems, even decaffeinated coffee can lead to heartburn.

If you’re prone to palpitations, or if you have “coffee jitters”, a nervous condition that occurs when one has had too much caffeine, then cut down on coffee. Caffeine can over-stimulate the central nervous system causing anxiety. An overstimulated adrenal glands can decrease resistance to stress and can make you more susceptible to diseases.

Coffee can also cause insomnia in some, but if that’s what you’re aiming, then by all means, go ahead.
For those who already have diabetes, the news is less encouraging. Caffeinated coffee could exaggerate blood sugar response to meals, so it can be difficult for people with type 2 diabetes to keep glucose levels in check. They could switch to decaffeinated ones which may still retain about 20% percent of caffeine, but it may take up to five cups before you intake what you’d normally ingest from a caffeinated one. Caffeine can also trigger a release of glycogen by the liver, causing an imbalance in blood sugar levels.This can lead to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar and could manifest by weakness, sweating, nervousness and heart palpitations.
The key, then, is by knowing your own health and your own body. After all, we’re the only ones who can control what goes in and out of it.
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