Coffee - Good or Bad?

Coffee swings from being beneficial to harmful in the nutrition world so what is the truth about our morning pick me up?

The Down Side to Coffee.

A cup of coffee contains up to 200 mg of caffeine, a cup of tea up to 80 mg and coca cola around 55 mg of caffeine. Due to it’s high caffeine content excessive quantities of coffee can cause unpleasant side effects such as restlessness, anxiety, sleep disturbances tremors and problems with blood pressure.

If you are a regular coffee drinker, you likely are aware that the caffeine in coffee is also highly addictive. Coffee is so addictive that even individuals who consume just one cup per day can go through severe withdrawals symptoms if they eliminate their daily cup. Who remembers my whinging when I did the juice fast sans coffee?!

The ultimate pick me up?

On the plus side coffee is packed full of antioxidants which studies show help protect against free radical damage and therefore diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Caffeine can also help improve your memory and mood. When you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. Once in the brain the caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which in turn allows an increase in your alertness and memory. 

According to studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, drinking coffee on a daily basis also lowers your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 7%.

However, it's important to remember we are all different, meaning some people are slower caffeine metabolisers than others. Caffeine is metabolised in the liver through an enzyme called cytochrome P4501A2 (CYP1A2). This enzyme is responsible for 95 percent of the metabolism process for caffeine and differences in our genetic makeup decide how much of this enzyme we have. If you don’t happen to know your genetic predisposition to this enzyme then my advice is to stick to one good quality organic coffee per day.