Drinking Coffee: What Are The Health Benefits & The Side Affects!

Health Benefits  1. Drinking coffee helps you burn more calories...

Drinking Coffee: What Are The Health Benefits & The Side Affects!

Health Benefits 

1. Drinking coffee helps you burn more calories.

In one Spanish study, athletes who drank the equivalent of 12 ounces of coffee before working out burned roughly 15% more calories for as much as three hours after exercising.

Even if you don’t work out, drinking coffee has also been proven to boost your metabolism by 10 to 20%, for those who drink one to two cups per day.

2. Coffee improves your circulation.

Drinking a five ounce cup of coffee has been proven to cause a 30% boost in capillary blood flow, according to a Japanese study.

This level of increased blood circulation results in better oxygenation of your body’s tissues which has a number of benefits. Such as improved performance in physical activities.

3. Coffee helps preserve your muscle tissue.

When you drink coffee, your brain releases a substance called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

Which supports the powerhouse of your muscles.

Without this essential factor, muscles are more likely to experience atrophy.

Essentially, the caffeine in coffee helps stave off age-related strength loss. Which can also reduce your risk of injuries.

4. Coffee lowers your risk for depression.

Coffee has also been linked to a lower rate of depression, especially in women.

Those who consume as many as four eight-ounce cups per day have been found to lower their depression risk by as much as 20%.

This lowered risk is due to the fact that coffee also has an impact on the production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

5. Cancer Prevention

It seems that everyone is always looking for the magical anti-cancer cure, as the disease is one of the most deadly and widespread on the planet.

Coffee is not traditionally thought of as anti-carcinogenic.

But it has been linked specifically to two types of cancer prevention – liver and colorectal cancer, which are the 3rd and 4th deadliest forms of cancer, respectively.

6. Depression and Mood

The natural effects of coffee are to energize and activate the mind and body.

This can do wonders for someone suffering from depression. And has even been connected to a reduced occurrence of suicidal tendencies.

However, it has been connected to anxiety and mood swings if consumed in excess. Because the classic caffeine crash can be quite severe as the chemical’s effect runs out.

Remember – everything in moderation!

Coffee Disadvantages

Coffee and Hydrochloric Acid

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach, such as first thing in the morning, stimulates hydrochloric acid production.

This can be a problem because HCl should only be produced to digest meals.

If your body has to make HCl more often in response to regular cups of coffee. It may have difficulty producing enough to deal with a large meal.

Protein digestion in particular is affected by a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and protein based foods can pass into the small intestine before being properly broken down.

Undigested protein is associated in a variety of health problems, from bloating and gas to IBS, diverticulitis and even colon cancer.

In fact, the knock on effect of not digesting your food properly due to low hydrochloric acid in the stomach could be implicated in dozens of other health issues.

Some experts go so far as to say almost all disease begins in the gut.

Given this, you can see why it’s important to limit anything that interferes with its proper functioning.

Heartburn Problems

Acid reflux and heartburn can be caused by coffee due to the way it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter.

This small muscle should remain tightly closed once you’ve eaten to prevent the contents of your stomach from coming back into the esophagus and burning its delicate lining with hydrochloric acid.

Caffeine is known to relax the esophageal sphincter so Coke and high caffeine ‘energy drinks‘ can also contribute to heartburn, but coffee is particularly problematic for this.

Even decaf regularly causes heartburn problems for some people and researchers think other compounds in coffee can also contribute to acid reflux problems.

Coffee as a Laxative

Drinking coffee can stimulate peristalsis, the process in the digestive tract that makes us head for the bathroom. Some people use it deliberately as a laxative, but there’s a problem with this.

By stimulating peristalsis, coffee also appears to promote increased gastric emptying.

Whereby the stomach’s contents are quickly passed into the small intestines. Often before the digesting food has been properly broken down.

In this partially digested state, it makes it much more difficult for nutrients to be absorbed from your food. It also increases the chances of irritation and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract.

Once again, decaffeinated coffee has also been shown to have laxative and gastric emptying properties so it seems caffeine alone is not to blame.

Acrylamide in Coffee

Acrylamide is a potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance that forms when coffee beans are roasted at high temperatures.

The darker the roast, the higher the levels of acrylamide are likely to be. In fact, coffee has been shown to be one of the major sources of this dangerous chemical in American diets.

If you would like to know more about acrylamide. The other main sources and ways to avoid it, see the page on the dangers of acrylamide.

Four Coffee Substitutes To Help Kick That Coffee Craving 

1. Teeccino

Teeccino is the sweetest of the coffee substitutes I’ve tried, and in my opinion, the tastiest as well.

Carob is the first ingredient, and there are dates and almonds in here too.

It’s not overly sugary, though, and at just twelve calories per 8-ounce serving, it’s an indulgence I’m happy to partake in.

They’ve got many different flavor varieties in both loose and single-serving packaging. Hazelnut is a familiar favorite, while Maya Chocolate has a hint of chile heat.

2. Cafix Crystals

Cafix Crystals look just like freeze-dried coffee crystals, but they’re made from a mix of barley, rye, chicory, and sugar beets. The flavor is not particularly sweet, tasting mostly of roasted, toasty grains.

This is the quickest-brewing of any coffee substitute — just pour boiling water in with the crystals, stir, and you’ve got a piping hot drink in seconds. It’s easy to add more or less of the product depending on how concentrated you like your brew.

3. Ayurvedic Roast

Ayurvedic Roast touts its health benefits as well as its coffee-like flavor — it contains Ayurvedic herbs Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Brahmi.

The flavor profile is similar to Cafix, but fresher and more aromatic. This makes sense, as it’s a less processed product — the grains and herbs are simply roasted and ground.

It takes a little bit more effort to prepare this coffee substitute — you can steep it like loose tea for a medium-bodied beverage, or boil it in water for a more viscous brew. Either way, it’s got a nice, toasty flavor, and I’ve enjoyed both the French vanilla and unflavored varieties.

4. Art of Tea Chocolate Monkey Rooibos Fusion

Rooibos tea isn’t really trying to be like coffee, but this blend is far more robust than a regular cup of herbal tea, so I think it deserves a special mention! Art of Tea’s Chocolate Monkey Blend has a complex, intriguing aroma, with additions of dried apple and banana, cacao nibs, and pink peppercorns for a pop of spice.

This brews up more like tea than coffee — it’s lighter and more translucent than any of the straight-up coffee substitutes mentioned above. I like it on its own, or with a little honey and almond milk for an extra treat.


Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

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