The answer isn’t that simple, but, below, we break down the health benefits as well as the effects that coffee can have on your physical and mental health.
Over 1 billion people around the world depend on that first cup of coffee to kickstart their days. Runners or cyclists may have an espresso before they head out for a training session to reap the benefits of added energy and focus. But not everyone responds that well to coffee. Some experience side effects which may include headaches and anxiety. Let’s look at exactly what coffee is and how it impacts us.
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that is known for its ability to fight fatigue and increase energy levels. Caffeine is potentially the most frequently ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world, according to an article published in the NIH National Library of Medicine. But it’s important to note that caffeine sensitivity varies from person to person.
People with caffeine intolerance metabolise caffeine slowly, which means that they feel the effects for much longer. Some people may develop an allergy to caffeine. This is when the immune system perceives caffeine as a harmful invader. Caffeine allergies are extremely rare but easily testable by a doctor.
Caffeine is not only present in coffee, but also chocolate, energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, some medications and black and green tea.
How much coffee is too much?
According to studies, moderate daily caffeine intake at a dose level up to 400mg per day is not associated with adverse effects, making it a healthy dose of caffeine. But how much is 400g?
A single shot of espresso contains approximately 75mg of caffeine. So your double-shot flat white probably contains around 150mg of caffeine. You can safely have two of these coffees per day and not be concerned about negative side effects, but it is important to remember that some adults are more caffeine sensitive than others.
Health benefits of coffee
- Coffee is a good source of antioxidants – coffee contains significantly high levels of antioxidants which help to fight free radical damage.
- Coffee may help with weight management. higher coffee consumption is associated with decreased body fat.
- Coffee may decrease the risk of depression – In a comparative review of several different studies, results showed that coffee and caffeine consumption were significantly associated with decreased risk of depression. Read more here.
The coffee conclusion
Take note of how you feel after consuming coffee and monitor if you experience any negative side effects. If side effects are felt, moderate your consumption of coffee and limit it to the recommended dosage above. Contact your doctor if you have any questions or if you are experiencing any negative side effects or symptoms that appear similar to caffeine sensitivity.
*Nawrot P, Jordan S, Eastwood J, Rotstein J, Hugenholtz A, Feeley M. Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Addit Contam. 2003 Jan;20(1):1-30. doi: 10.1080/0265203021000007840. PMID: 12519715.