Is Coffee Good or Bad?

“To me the smell of fresh coffee is one of the greatest inventions”

– Hugh Jackman

What are some of your favourite coffee quotes? Here are just a few:

“Coffee – the most important meal of the day.”

“Good ideas start with great coffee.”

“Everything gets better with coffee.”

“Procaffenating – the tendency not start anything until you’ve had a cup of coffee.”

“May your coffee kick in before reality does.”

“Despresso – the feeling you get when you run out of coffee”

Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, approx. 80% of adults in the U.S. drink it. There has been so much written about coffee. What does the research say? Psychologist Zuzana Robertson C. Psychol is here to debunk some of the myths.

8 Reasons why Coffee is Good:

  1. Due to natural antioxidant properties
  2. It makes us feel good by tapping into brain’s reward system
  3. It boosts energy
  4. Research shows that coffee can boost cognitive performance and increase attention and alertness (with low to moderate doses)
  5. It can boost your memory (after learning event)
  6. It can boost physical performance by increasing adrenaline levels in your blood; the ‘fight or flight’ hormone making it beneficial pre-workout. Positive effects on physical performance include increased time-to-exhaustion, muscle strength and endurance. For those wanting to lose weight it can also increase metabolism and help to burn body fat.
  7. Some research shows that coffee consumption may help to prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes
  8. It might have protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. Some research also suggests a delayed onset of dementia

10 Reasons why Coffee is Bad:

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug worldwide.

Caffeine in coffee can:

  1. increase stress hormones and increase anxiety
  2. cause restlessness or make you agitated
  3. increase anxiety or depression especially in people with mood disorders. One study suggests that people with depression may experience lower mood once the effect of caffeine wears off and advises against consuming large amounts of caffeine
  4. cause insomnia or disrupt your sleep
  5. raise blood pressure or increase palpitations
  6. increase heart burn
  7. hamper absorption of some vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium
  8. lead to dehydration and loss of vitamins
  9. make your body to rely less on natural source of energy
  10. cause caffeine addiction and withdrawal effects

So you might ask how can you prevent some of those negative effects and avoid withdrawal symptoms while enjoying coffee and some of the benefits?

Here is my guide to ‘wiser’ coffee drinking:

  1. Avoid drinking more than 4 cups a coffee (less if you are caffeine sensitive). About 400mg is thought to be ‘safe’ for most adults (for a 75kg individual). More than this can cause restlessness, irritability, agitation, nervousness or anxiety, heartburn, palpitations, nausea and insomnia.
  2. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  3. Delay having coffee for at least one hour after you wake up in the morning as your body produces a cortisol – ‘natural energy booster’. You are likely to benefit from coffee most when your cortisol levels naturally dip (normally after 10am and between 2 – 5pm)
  4. Supplement your diet with vitamins especially Vitamin C at regular intervals during the day. If you take dietary vitamin supplements avoid consuming them at the same time as your coffee as it will prevent your body from absorbing all the nutrients. It is essential to take Vitamin C at regular intervals in the day as it gets depleted from the body very quickly (especially if you drink a lot of coffee).
  5. Try to avoid drinking coffee at least 5-6 hours before bed to prevent caffeine interfering with your sleep
  6. Know how much coffee you consume. Unless you are a habitual coffee drinker try to drink coffee when you really need a functional boost. See caffeine content guide below:

 

Caffeine content in coffee

  • Drip method – 60-100 (mg/100mL)
  • Instant 30-75 (mg/100mL)

 

About the Author

Zuzana Robertson is a Chartered Psychologist and Executive Coach passionate about helping people to build  stress resilience. She is trained in evidence-based Cognitive-behavioural approaches. Zuzana is a member of Special Group in Coaching Psychology of the British Psychological Society, EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) and International Society for Coaching Psychology.