Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages globally and has been used for its medicinal benefits since the 9th and 10th centuries. The plant’s origins can be traced to Ethiopia. However, today it is cultivated massively in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and other tropical regions of the world.
The coffee tree (Coffea Arabica) is a bright shrub that grows to about 7 meters. The ripe fruit contains the coffee seeds used in producing the popular beverage.
Coffee’s active ingredients are the methylated derivatives of xanthines, including caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. The plant also contains small quantities of minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and other organic acids.
Caffeine is a stimulant that works by inhibiting the action of adenosine – a chemical in the brain that promotes sleep. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Its effects manifest as dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, dilated airways, constricted muscles, and reduced stomach blood flow.
Caffeine is absorbed within 15 to 45 minutes and is mainly responsible for the many health benefits of coffee.
The health benefits associated with taking coffee has been studied extensively over the past 30 years:
Hypersomnia is a condition marked by excessive sleepiness during the day. A person with the ailment still feels drowsy even after long hours of sleep. Hypersomnia leads to fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Coffee has been used as a lifestyle treatment for hypersomnia with varying degrees of effectiveness. Most people who attempt to treat hypersomnia with coffee report it as a treatment that works fairly well. However, it is worth mentioning that it has also been reported as detrimental and aggravating symptoms (Source: StuffThatWorks, AI-generated Data).
Having said that, drinking coffee also improves the energy levels and mood of people. It also has a positive effect on reaction times and general mental function.
Coffee is also helpful in dealing with weight loss. Caffeine improves metabolism rate and speeds up fat burning. Most weight loss supplements contain some amount of caffeine. Some studies show that caffeine can help reduce fat in obese patients by as much as 10 percent. The effects of coffee on weight loss may diminish with long-term use.
Coffee use can reduce depression symptoms and reduce the suicide risk in some individuals. Studies have shown a strong relationship between coffee consumption and decreased depression risk.
However, other energy drinks did not have such effects. Therefore, we can conclude that what helps reduce depression symptoms is something in coffee and not necessarily caffeine.
A Harvard study has also shown that people who consume two to four cups of coffee daily are 50% less likely to attempt suicide.
Coffee may reduce the risk of chronic liver diseases, according to a 10-year study involving 500,000 people. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that the risk of liver disease, liver cancer, and fatty liver disease may be lowered by consuming three to four cups of coffee daily.
Coffee consumption has been shown to lower liver and colorectal cancer risks – the third and fourth deadliest types of cancer by 40 and 15 percent, respectively.
Coffee interferes with the way the body metabolizes sugar, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Consuming a cup of coffee on a daily basis can lower type 2 diabetes risk by up to seven percent. Increasing coffee consumption to six to seven cups daily can reduce the risk of diabetes by as high as 54 percent in men and 30 percent in women.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative ailment and has no known cure. It is also the world’s leading cause of dementia. Drinking coffee can reduce the risk of developing the disease by as much as 65%.
Parkinson’s disease is another neurodegenerative disease that can be prevented by coffee use. It is the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee consumption can decrease Parkinson’s disease risk by up to 32 percent.
Coffee contains antioxidants that prevent or slow down the actions of free radicals that damage cell and body tissues. Antioxidant activity can reduce age-related macular degeneration that may lead to poor vision.
Coffee also contains essential vitamins such as manganese, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, and pantothenic acid required for proper body function. These constituents make coffee a very healthy beverage.
Oil extracted from coffee seeds and processed is used in skin care products for its anti-aging properties. It is a fatty acid-rich oil that contains significant quantities of oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids.
Coffee oil is used as a moisturizer for cracked skin, brittle hair and promotes hair growth. The anti-inflammatory properties of coffee oil also make it helpful in treating acne.
An enema is a method of administering medication into the bowels via the rectum to relieve constipation, stimulate stool evacuation, or clean out the colon.
Coffee enemas are administered to relieve constipation, improve immunity, treat autoimmune diseases, remove heavy metals from the body, and remove digestive system parasites.
The claims of coffee enema as a treatment for any medical condition are not backed by scientific research. The available evidence for the effectiveness of coffee enema is purely anecdotal.
Like most medicinal substances, using coffee is not without some side effects. The potential side effects of using coffee, especially at high doses, include:
- Addiction and dependence
- Frequent urination
- Digestive disturbances
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue after the effects wear off
- Increased heart rate
Taking caffeine in moderate amounts can provide several health advantages. However, very high doses can lead to problems that may interfere with daily life. The therapeutic effects of coffee vary among individuals.
To obtain the maximum possible benefits from coffee, every person should personally assess their energy levels, mood, sleep, and alertness to determine how much coffee is ideal.