Is coffee killing you or making you immortal?

A couple of grandes a day could keep the doctor away, if you’re smart about it.

Meryl D'Souza August 23, 2016

It seems like we can’t get by without studies on coffee. One week you’ll read about how great coffee is and the next you’ll read about how it’s killing you. Truth be told, if you’re a coffee drinker, you’re not going to give up on your cuppa joe no matter what you read. 

A recent study by York University that tracked 3,721 heart-attack survivors claims that people who drink one or two cups of coffee a day are 20 per cent less likely to die prematurely from heart damage than compared to java teetotallers. In fact, scientists from The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee want people to drink more and even submitted reports to the United States’ Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture proposing changes to its dietary guidelines.

York University’s findings are consistent with previous studies that say that coffee reduces risk of heart attacks, can protect against dementia, type-2 diabetes and even skin cancer.

All sounds great, right? Except it isn’t all good news. For all its advantages, coffee is also known to cause anxiety and heartburn. In fact, coffee is not that much different from cocaine. Watch and learn:

In case you can’t watch the video, here’s what you need to know: caffeine helps fight adenosine – the molecule responsible for that tired feeling you experience come midday. Sleep helps reduce adenosine, but since you can’t do that on the clock without getting fired, it’s natural that you’d reach out for your daily dose of caffeine.

The problem is, the more coffee you drink, the more adenosine receptors your brain will create. Over time that leads to withdrawal symptoms when you miss your daily cuppa. Caffeine also increases adrenaline and dopamine levels in your body which in turn increases your heart rate, gets your blood pumping and opens up airways – exactly like cocaine, but to a lesser extent.

And before you go there, yes, you could theoretically overdose on caffeine. The death quantity stands at 150 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of your body. That means, if you weigh about 70kg, you would need to drink about 70 cups of coffee at once to fatally overdose.

So how do you get your daily coffee fix while sparing yourself the health issues? For starters, limit your coffee consumption to a maximum of three cups a day. Now, read on to find out what you need to keep in mind while consuming coffee. 

Staying in shape

Swap the latte for a green coffee that’s known to aid weight loss by reducing the amount of sugar absorbed from the gut, and speeding up the rate at which the body burns fat thanks to a compound called chlorogenic acid.

Matters of the heart

A cup of coffee can raise the heart rate to 100 beats a minute and can take up to an hour to settle back down to between 60 and 80 beats per minute. For a healthy person, this could be just the surge of energy they need and can even prevent heart attacks. Conversely, people with heart failure who consume coffee could put their heart under greater strain.

Milky is the way

Caffeine can lead to bone loss. However, you could add some milk in there to counteract the calcium-leaching habits of caffeine.

Million-dollar smile

You may have heard of coffee staining people’s teeth. Turns out, the staining only affects the biofilm – a thin layer of bacteria that covers the teeth and gums. A decent whitening toothpaste should fix that.

Under the skin

Thanks to anti-oxidants, coffee is said to lower the risk of skin cancer.

Faster, better, stronger

Caffeine triggers muscles to start turning fat into energy once your carbs have been burned out. This helps with putting in those extra minutes at the gym. Many trainers even recommend coffee as a pre-workout supplement.