I know I am not alone in loving coffee. According to a poll conducted in 2015, 82% of Americans drink coffee daily. And the average person consumes 2.1 cups per day. Furthermore, the amount of coffee that a person drinks tend to increase with age. This means that older westerners are drinking more coffee than ever before. Why coffee has become so popular so quickly is surely down to two reasons. Firstly, we just love the taste and aroma that only the finest coffee provides. Secondly, there are certain observable effects that coffee has on our body and mind that we like.
But what are these bodily effects, exactly? Are they, on balance, harmful or beneficial for your health? Let’s break this down by taking a look at what happens to your body after you finish drinking a cup of coffee.
0 minutes: Coffee time
10 minutes after drinking
The coffee’s caffeine has started to enter your bloodstream. This raises your heart rate and consequently your blood pressure.
20 minutes after drinking
Now you feel more alert. Your brain ‘fog’ has vanished and you can think more clearly than previously. You are better able to solve problems. Furthermore, the caffeine is making you less tired by preventing your brain’s adenosine receptors from receiving adenosine. The coffee is therefore artificially removing your feelings of sleepiness.
30 minutes after drinking
After 30 minutes your body begins to produce more adrenaline than normal. By dilating your pupils, one effect is that your vision becomes sharper.
40 minutes after drinking
At this point, you start to feel a bit of a mood lift, thanks to an increase of serotonin in your body. This also increases your muscle strength for a time, because serotonin improves your motor neurons’ functionality.
4 hours after drinking
6 hours after drinking
Now the bad news. 6 hours after the pick-me-up cup of coffee, the caffeine you have consumed starts to have a diuretic effect. You are going to the bathroom more than you would otherwise, but you are not simply expelling water. Your body is also purging vital vitamins and minerals. In rare cases, this leads to disorders of calcium metabolism.
The negative effects of caffeine are that it removes essential nutrients from your system. It’s for this reason that some people try to minimize their caffeine intake by either shunning coffee (or related drinks) or switching to decaffeinated coffee. However, one cup of coffee won’t see you lose so many nutrients. But if you drink coffee several times a day, the loss can be very detrimental to your health.
What about coffee’s health benefits?
However, the story is not all doom and gloom. To make an informed decision about how much coffee you drink, you’ll also want to consider the health benefits that can be acquired from a nice warm mug of coffee. Because coffee provides you with more antioxidants than any fruits or vegetables, it’s known to be good at preventing and lessening the symptoms of certain diseases, such as:
• skin cancer
• colorectal cancer
• heart disease
• multiple sclerosis
• type 2 diabetes
Coffee can improve the health of your liver, if you drink alcohol, it is also known to provide health benefits to your brain, thus making you more intelligent. It can even make you feel less stressed out and increase your happiness by boosting your mood.
For more information on the health benefits of coffee, see here.
So, now you are in a much better position to decide whether you want to have another coffee today, or leave it for another occasion. In my case, I am going to stick to my usual routine of having one beautiful cup of coffee a day, three or four times a week. What about you?