EFFECTS OF COFFEE IN OUR BODIES
Coffee is the most widely consumed drink in the world. It contains caffeine, a psychoactive ingredient of coffee. Coffee has both positive and negative effects.
Caffeine is responsible for brainpower and a good memory. Caffeine is a stimulant; it brings alertness and increased concentration after drinking coffee. Caffeine intake has beneficial effects on improving working memory. Caffeine gets easily into the brain and affects the brain cells in a positive way. Although caffeine increases mental alertness, it does not make one smart. Caffeine temporarily improves mental functions of an individual and relieves symptoms of tiredness such as reduced mental alertness. It reduces tiredness and makes us feel more alert due to the caffeine which blocks adenosine thus increasing activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like nor epinephrine and dopamine.
Coffee reduces the risk of certain types of cancer. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of some types of cancer. Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death and is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Coffee drinking is associated with either reduced risk of several cancers or certainly no clear increase in other cancers. Coffee serves the role of protection from cancer due to its production of strong antioxidant effects which promotes the death of cancer cells. Coffee reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men and endometrial cancer in women. This is because of the protective compounds found in coffee beans. It also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by 49%, colon cancer by 25% and prostate cancer by 60% although decaffeinated coffee does not have these effects on its drinkers according to cancer studies. Cirrhosis is a major risk factor for the development of liver cancer and coffee has been shown to inhibit the elevation of hepatic transaminases, markers of hepatic disease.
On the negative side, Caffeine causes insomnia. The most documented effects of caffeine on sleep consist principally of prolonged sleep latency, shorter total sleep time, worsening of perceived sleep quality, increases in light sleep and shortening of deep sleep time, as well as more frequent awakenings. Coffee prevents deeper stages of sleep and makes one toss and turn. The root stages of sleep are necessary for adequate rest. Drinking coffee in the late afternoons should be avoided because caffeine stays in our blood systems for several hours.
Coffee is also addictive due to its composition of caffeine. Regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence although it does not threaten one’s physical and social health the way addictive drugs do. When people consume caffeine regularly, they become tolerant to it. It either stops working as it used to, or a larger dose is needed to get the same effects. Abrupt abstinence from caffeine leads to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression and concentration difficulties for 2 or 3 days.
Coffee intake should be limited so as to enjoy its beneficial side. Limiting coffee doesn’t mean removing it entirely from your daily routine. A moderate amount of coffee consumed at the right times can be useful and even healthful.