Coffee is undoubtedly the most consumed beverage by many- it is the wake-up fix for most of us to warm us up and get us ready for the day. However, this much-beloved beverage has some downsides and, in this article, we shall explore the negative effects of coffee.
Most of us consume this delicious brew which was discovered by a goat herdsman in Ethiopia circa the 13th century after he noticed that his goats became hyperactive after eating the berries of the coffee tree. From there, it made its way to the Arab world, to Rome and later on to Brazil where mass growing, production, and popularity with the general public began.
Coffee is not an ominous drink; however, it has been proven to be addictive and if not consumed in moderation and or within a certain regime, can be a source of problems like insomnia and may be unhealthy for people with certain health conditions.
Acrylamide is a potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemical, a result of the coffee roasting process; the darker the coffee is roasted, the higher the levels of acrylamide created. Research and studies in the US, on coffee, have shown it be a major source of this dangerous chemical.
2. Acid reflux and Heartburn
What does coffee have to do with heartburn, you may ask.
Well, coffee relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the muscle responsible for keeping what you swallow from coming back up. For the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to work properly, it should be tightly shut after eating to prevent stomach contents from coming back into the esophagus and burning the delicate lining with the hydrochloric acid saturated content.
When you vomit or have a regurgitation of food, the unpleasant burning sensation resulting is caused by the hydrochloric acid in the food being digested.
This problem has even been diagnosed in some people who drink decaf regularly leading researchers to think that other compounds in coffee also contribute to heartburn problems.
3. Hydrochloric Acid
Hydrochloric acid is should only be produced by your body to digesting meals. When you drink coffee before you eat a meal, it triggers the production of the acid, essentially on an empty stomach, with no food to digest.
If this happens at a high frequency, and because the body doesn’t have an unlimited supply of daily hydrochloric acid, there will be a deficiency of the acid production to help digest food when you eat a large meal.
Deficiency of hydrochloric acid especially affects the breaking down of protein foods, the semi-digested or undigested proteins can easily make their way to the small intestines, which will result in problems like bloating, diverticulitis, gas, irritable bowel syndrome or colon cancer.
Coffee is not only apt for getting your system going in the morning- it is also an effective laxative for those with a problem relieving themselves. Coffee stimulates the process of peristalsis, which is the process responsible for your trips to the bathroom.
The problem with this is that, by stimulating peristalsis, coffee also boosts gastric emptying which means that stomach contents are passed quicker than normal into the small intestines before the ingested food is properly broken down. Using coffee as a laxative triggers peristalsis prematurely.
Partially digested food makes it much more difficult for the body to absorb the much-needed nutrients from the food, and it increases the possibility of irritation and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It makes the whole reason for eating useless if you will not benefit from the nutrients in the food.
5. Mineral Absorption
Those who drink a lot of coffee will have a hard time getting the right minerals and nutrients because coffee affects the absorption of minerals and nutrients in the stomach. Additionally, because of its effects as a diuretic, coffee hinders the kidney’s ability to retain minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Your body needs to absorb as many healthy minerals as possible, but coffee acts counter to this by preventing the absorption of minerals like magnesium which can lead to serious health issues. Magnesium is important for bowel movement regularity.
Interference with the absorption of minerals especially magnesium, like coffee has been shown to do, is worrying because it is essential for maintaining good bowel balance.
6. Stress and Tension
Coffee is good for injecting your system with extra stamina and alertness, which is great but not healthy for the long term because it also leads to extra stress and tension which is not very obvious.
Constant alertness is not good for your health; the mind and body should be allowed to relax and rest which can never be achieved if you fuel your body with coffee.
Coffee stimulates the release of the stress hormones epinephrine, cortisol, and norepinephrine, which elevate the body’s blood pressure, heart rate, and tension levels.
Many of the chemical constituents of coffee like caffeine and acids in coffee can irritate the stomach and the lining of the small intestine. This is problematic for people suffering from ulcers, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease and such people are advised by doctors to keep away from coffee completely.
The coffee acid effect of weakening the stomach and intestinal lining contributes to ulcers by making it easier for Helicobacter pylori bacteria which causes ulcers, to thrive. It prepares an optimal environment for the development of stomach ulcers.
Irritation of small intestine lining by coffee is thought to be a contributor to abdominal spasms, cramps, and excretion problems such alternating between constipation and diarrhea. This is known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which has been diagnosed in more people being diagnosed with this problem.
It is possible that you have not heard of all or some of these side effects of coffee, especially for the heavy drinkers. The most important thing now is to interrogate your coffee habit and find ways of making it healthier- reducing intake or opting for healthy alternatives is the way to go.