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Coffee and Caffeine: Benefits and Risks

The indispensable coffee cup represents a typically Italian ritual, the result of a habit so rooted to bring many experts, of the most varied disciplines, to regularly pronounce on the benefits and risks of the beloved drink.

There are those who study the psychological aspects, those who investigate their organoleptic characteristicsand those who, like us, are concerned with studying their relationship with human health.

Benefits of Coffee

Among the many nutritional components of coffee , the most known and studied is undoubtedly caffeine , as it has important properties such as:

  • the stimulatory effect on gastric and biliary secretions (this is why it is believed that a coffee at the end of the meal facilitates digestion );
  • the tonic and stimulatory effect on cardiac and nervous function (this is why many people appreciate its energetic effect, which is useful, among other things, in order not to get bitten by a large meal);
  • the lipolytic effect, that is, slimming favor (caffeine stimulates the use of fats for energetic purposes and thermogenesis , increasing the quantity of calories burned by the “human machine”);
  • the anorectic effect (coffee taken in large doses decreases appetite).

In addition to caffeine, in the coffee are contained many substances, whose potential beneficial role on the body is still under study. In particular, several components have been isolated from the strong antioxidant , anti- mutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties , which are however insufficient to compensate for the risk deriving from a high consumption of coffee.

Coffee risks

The repercussions of caffeine on human health are dose dependent. A high consumption of coffee, which we will define in quantitative terms in the next paragraph, exposes the body to various risks:

  • when it is excessive, the stimulatory effect on gastric secretion can cause damage to the digestive system – due to the high acidity of the juices poured into the stomach – (this is why coffee is contraindicated if you suffer from ulcer , gastritis or gastroesophageal reflux );
  • the tonic and stimulatory effect on cardiac and nervous function can be harmful to people suffering from insomnia , hot flashes and hypertension ; as the dose increases the caffeine determines tachycardia, pressure fluctuations and tremors even in healthy people.
  • The lipolytic effect, that is to say slimming, is canceled and even overturned if sugar is added to the coffee (+ 20 calories) teaspoon) or milk (+ 10 calories if the coffee is stained).
  • The inhibitory effect on calcium and iron absorption can favor the establishment of anemic and osteoporotic pictures .

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