The Truth About Coffee – Natural Benefits & Effects of Too Much

We love to drink it, even if it makes us use the bathroom. Coffee makes any day better. It also makes us more alert. That’s why Americans consume over 450 million cups of coffee every day.

Want to learn what makes this drink so irresistible? Here are the natural benefits of coffee and what happens when you drink too much of it.

The Natural Benefits of Coffee

Most people cannot imagine starting their day off without a cup of coffee. To non-coffee drinkers, this may seem excessive or even problematic. However, coffee actually offers natural health benefits that reward those who just love their cup of joe.

Here are some of the coffee benefits that coffee drinkers may enjoy:

  • reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • enhanced brain function
  • boost in mood and reduced risk of suicide
  • reduced risk of cancer
  • a healthy supply of antioxidants
  • reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

A new study found that regular coffee drinkers experienced increased activity in parts of the brain related to people’s ability to focus on tasks.

As a mild stimulant, coffee helps people to feel more alert (faster reaction times) and have better concentration. This makes absolute sense as to why people choose to begin their days with a steaming cup of joe.

In addition to enhanced brain functions, some of the health benefits of coffee include lowered risk of many pervasive health conditions such as

  • cancer
  • mental health
  • neurodegenerative diseases

The natural benefits of coffee have reduced coffee drinkers’ risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 65%, Parkinson’s disease by up to 60%, and type 2 diabetes by upwards of 67%.

Studies have also found that those who drink up to four cups of coffee a day are 20% less likely to succumb to depression, and 53% less likely to die by suicide.

Coffee is a natural substance with many health benefits. Those interested in using naturopathic medicine or holistic medicine can learn to incorporate this beneficial plant into their daily routines.

Side Effects of Too Much Coffee

Woman having hard time sleeping as side effects of drinking too much coffee

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much coffee can result in adverse and uncomfortable side effects.

Some of the side effects of too much coffee include:

  • anxiety
  • increased heart rate
  • digestive problems
  • insomnia
  • dehydration
  • increased risk of high blood pressure
  • muscle twitches and spasms

This is not to scare you from taking advantage of the full potential of coffee. The effects of too much coffee may occur only if you over caffeinate on a regular basis or if you drink coffee in a way that upsets your stomach (such as drinking on an empty stomach).

The recommended dosage of coffee per day is no more than  four cups of coffee or 400 mg of caffeine. Do keep in mind that the caffeine content in your cup of coffee may vary depending on how strong your coffee is.

Moderation is key, and it can save you from experiencing some of these side effects of too much coffee.

Differences in Coffee Roasting Processes

Different Coffee Roasting Processes

From farm to packaged product, coffee beans go through a series of handling and preparation before it gets to your hands. This includes the bean roasting process, which helps to:

  • decrease water contents of the raw bean
  • reduce the acidity of the coffee
  • bring out the unique aromas and flavors of the coffee

The different factors of this roasting process affect the end product that you consume. For example, the shorter the roast, the more acidic the coffee. This could be the difference between an upset and sensitive stomach and a smooth and enjoyable brew.

In the coffee roasting world, there are three roasting methods–but only two of which are popular. 

Contact Roasting

This method of roasting coffee beans involves heating the beans via contact with a hot surface. 

In commercial bean roasting, this looks like tumbling massive amounts of coffee beans inside a large drum, which hovers over a gas flame.

The drum retains heat and thus roasts the beans as they come into direct contact with the hot interior of the drum. The roasting process concludes when the beans have achieved the desired browning for different roasts levels. This process can take up to 20 minutes for one batch. 

At home, you can use a skillet or pan on a stovetop to roast the beans. However, it is difficult to achieve an even roast with this method.

Air Roasting

Another method of roasting coffee beans is roasting them in the air. This roasting method involves floating beans inside a chamber of pressurized hot air, which heats the beans evenly on all sides.

As the beans roast, they become dry and their outer shells crack and fall off. Within a proper air roaster, these shells are removed and the beans continue to roast until the desired roast level.

To do this at home, you can roast the beans in a popcorn machine. The pressurized air that circulates in the chamber around the beans will help you to achieve an even roast.

Radiation

This method of roasting coffee beans is the least-used method as it is difficult to achieve and duplicate a consistent roast. It uses electromagnetic waves to heat and roast the beans until the desired browning and roast level.

The Importance of Sourcing Coffee

Coffee Beans

Before you purchase your coffee, you should learn more about the beans you buy, as they go through a lengthy process before it ends up in your hands.

A number of factors affect its quality and taste, and thus, your experience, including:

  • the method of growing
  • the place of growing
  • the roasting process
  • the handling and packaging

Sourcing your coffee from sustainable coffee farmers means higher quality, better-tasting organic beans that support the work of coffee producers.

These beans are often shade-grown without pesticides or herbicides, which ultimately helps sustain the natural biodiversity of the environment where they are grown.

Enjoy Coffee in Moderation

The natural benefits of coffee are undeniable however, too much coffee can be detrimental. If you are experiencing any of the side effects of too much coffee, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel for a consultation.

As a naturopathic doctor serving the larger Washington D.C. area, she offers a holistic approach to restoring your health and vitality. Get in touch today!

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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