If you drink several cups of coffee a day, your health is benefitting because the ingredients of the coffee can protect against diseases.
(Gesundheitstipp 11/2022, Credit: Andreas Grote)
Barbara Loeliger is a doctor at the Medin Health Centre in Biel BE. In the journal «Pharma-Kritik», she evaluated the most important studies on the use of coffee and caffeine. Result: Coffee has almost only advantages. The studies showed that the greatest positive effect for health was found when drinking three to four cups of coffee a day. Beyond that, coffee often showed no additional benefit, but also no harm.
The long-term effect is not only due to caffeine, but also impacted by ingredients such as alkaloids, flavonoids or terpenes. However, the studies should be interpreted with some caution, says Loeliger because they are less accurate than those for medication. For example, the content of caffeine and other substances was not uniform everywhere.
The most important findings:
If you drink three to four cups of coffee every day, you reduce the risk of dying early by 15 percent. This effect starts from just two cups of coffee a day.
Coffee can protect against strokes. If you drink two or three cups, the risk is reduced by a third. The risk of a heart attack also decreases, but less so. Coffee does not increase heart rate or blood pressure in the long term. Barbara Loeliger: «Even after a heart attack, patients can drink coffee without concerns.»
The caffeine in the coffee stimulates the brain, stops fatigue and improves performance. Barbara Loeliger: «It will provide the extra kick when working on boring activities.» Up to two cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's. The data situation regarding whether coffee can slow down dementia is unclear.
Regular coffee consumption lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Loeliger: «However, the mechanisms for this have not been fully explained» Coffee drinkers also have a smaller risk of gallstones and kidney stones.
Coffee lowers the risk of chronic liver damage. Coffee can also prevent small cancers, so-called hepatocellular tumours.
The caffeine in the coffee increases physical performance. It also expands the bronchi. Barbara Loeliger says: «It is not a bad idea to have a cup of coffee before jogging.» However: With more than four cups of coffee a day, the performance drops again.
Caffeine can stimulate digestion in some people. It can support bowel activity and thus bowel movements. «This happens to some affected people already after a few minutes», says Barbara Loliger. She recommends that patients with constipation have a coffee in the morning.
Coffee caffeine can increase the effects of pain relieve medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Barbara Loeliger says: «I recommend patients with migraines or tension headache to have a coffee.»
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