THE COFFEE DILEMMA: TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK?

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Intense flavours are produced by roasting the beans, not from caffeine. Supplied

You probably have noticed that the number of coffee shops, ranging from carts along the street to boutique stores, has been rising dramatically in Cambodia in the last decade. More people, especially youngsters, take coffee as part of a new lifestyle, but a long debated question still is: how good or bad is coffee for you?

YOUR BIGGEST SOURCE OF CAFFEINE

While coffee is the biggest dietary source of caffeine, the amount of caffeine varies between different coffee drinks ranging from almost zero to over 500mg. An average cup of coffee is likely to have 95 – 180 mg of caffeine.

THE UPSIDE

1. Helps you stay alert

A good old-fashioned cup of coffee not only helps you stay awake but can also keep your mind alert and focused. Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that increases wakefulness, attentiveness, the ability to focus, and boost overall energy levels.

2. Improves productivity

A study published in 2013 concluded that consumption of moderate amounts of caffeine can enhance both motor and cognitive performance. A more recent study published in April 2018 found that serving coffee in meetings can sharpen the discussions, whilst also boosting involvement from participants.

Caffeine is known to block receptors for adenosine, a compound in your brain that causes fatigue and drowsiness, thus increasing physical and mental performance.

3. Enhances your mood

A research review suggests that a repeated moderate administration of 75mg of caffeine (the equivalent of one cup of coffee) can result in a pattern of sustained improvement of mood. Research also suggests that caffeine may help to relieve depressive symptoms or help to protect against depression.

Is coffee good or bad. The answer lies in moderation. Photo: Supplied

WAY TOO MUCH COFFEE?

Overdosing on caffeine is a rare phenomenon but you’ll know you’ve consumed too much coffee when you experience any of these most prevalent symptoms:

  • Jitters, restlessness, and nervousness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness

It is best to seek immediate medical attention if you suffer any of these overdose symptoms.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAFFEINE

Decaf Isn’t the Same as Caffeine Free

Yes, decaffeinated coffee still has 3 percent of caffeine. It may be a small amount but drinking 5 or more cups can be equivalent to 1 cup of regular caffeinated coffee.

Coffee Activates in Minutes

From the first sip of your morning cup of coffee, caffeine immediately enters your bloodstream. A single cup of coffee has rapid absorption with caffeine uptake to the blood in just over 20 minutes.

It Affects Everyone Differently

Your caffeine tolerance is affected by everything from your lifestyle to your metabolism and genetics. For instance, if your metabolism is high, the caffeine in your coffee is likely to give you jitters and anxiety. People who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, osteoporosis and women who are pregnant are advised to avoid or reduce their coffee intake.

Energy Drinks have Less Caffeine than Coffee

A can of energy drink has around 80mg of caffeine, whereas a cup of coffee contains between 110 – 150mg of caffeine. Energy boosting drinks are usually loaded with sugar and other ingredients rather than solely relying on caffeine.

Dark or Light Roasts, Caffeine is the Same

Darker roasts are generally viewed as “stronger” than lighter roasts, and are accordingly presumed to have higher caffeine levels.

The intense flavours arise from the bitterness produced by roasting, not from caffeine.

Darker roasts actually don’t have more caffeine than lighter ones – they have about the same amount of caffeine.

DRINKING THE BREW RESPONSIBLY

Since people are ever unlikely to give up this popular beverage, here are three quick tips on how to consume this dark brew more responsibly.

Adding milk to your coffee has a number of health benefits. Supplied

1. Practice portion control

Moderate coffee consumptions are remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population.

Moderate caffeine intake equates to around 400mg, or 3 to 4 cups of coffee, in a day.

2. Add a little milk to your coffee

While black coffee can give you that instant burst of energy, adding a little milk to your coffee too has a number of health benefits, such as helping with sleep patterns, acidity and calcium intake.

Moderate coffee consumptions are remarkably safe, and it can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet by most of the adult population.

3. Occasionally switch to tea

There are several health benefits of switching from beans to leaves every once in a while.

Unlike coffee that can give you acute caffeine withdrawal should you miss a cup, tea can help you stay moderately alert and relaxed throughout the day. It can also help with weight loss and lowering cholesterol.

THE BREWING VERDICT

Good or bad? The answer lies in moderation.

A cup or two of coffee a day has a number of health benefits but more than four cups you are likely to experience its side effects.

It is best to consume coffee in moderation while monitoring the effects of caffeine on your body and understanding your own limits.

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