Coffee is the most popular drink in the world – we drink around 70 million cups a day in the UK!
It’s most well-known for its caffeine kick and the effect it has on increasing our energy levels and alertness.
But caffeine only makes up 2% of the bean…so what else is in there? And what effects do these substances have on our health?
There are over 1000 different compounds, but some of the main ones include:
POLYPHENOLS – the perceived health benefits of coffee are linked in with its levels of antioxidants, which boost our cell defence mechanisms and are associated with decreased incidences of many chronic illnesses.
VITAMINS & MINERALS – a standard cup of coffee contains some B vitamins, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
CAFFEOL – produced during the roasting process and gives coffee its distinctive aroma and taste.
PHYTOESTROGENS – these are plant-based chemicals that are capable of influencing our own oestrogen levels to an extent. This mechanism can have some positive or negative effects, depending on the individual.
Why does coffee get such a bad press?
- Caffeine is an addictive stimulant and too much can cause elevated irritability, anxiety, blood pressure and insomnia
- It is also a diuretic and causes the body to excrete more fluid than usual
- Coffee is acidic and can aggravate many common conditions such as IBS and heartburn
- Drink an additional glass of water for every cup of coffee to avoid dehydration
- Caffeine increases our metabolic rate and fat-burning capabilities – an espresso half an hour before exercise can boost your performance
- Avoid coffee in the afternoons if you have trouble sleeping – caffeine can remain in our systems for up to six hours
- Avoid drinking coffee with or immediately after meals, as it can interfere with our absorption of nutrients
- If you are trying to decrease your coffee consumption, transitioning onto a couple of green teas instead can work well – these contain small amounts of caffeine to ease withdrawal symptoms
Want to try something a bit different? If your blender is currently gathering dust, put it to good use with this ‘Bulletproof Coffee’ breakfast recipe:
Crussh also conveniently sells bulletproof ‘Smart Coffee’ to takeaway on your way to the office or before the gym:
In summary, coffee is just like most things in life…not all bad, but not all good either!
From a nutritional perspective, the more the body relies on a whole foods diet rather than caffeine for energy, the better.
But having a coffee as a morning treat on a cold day or to kick-start your gym sessions is okay too…
Moderation is key!