Coffee – a curious little bean!

What is coffee?

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared using roasted coffee beans which are taken from the coffea plant.

There are two main species of coffee beans: –

  • Arabica
  • Robusta

Depending on where they are grown, both the country and the altitude determines the flavour profile.

Can drinking coffee be good for you?

The simple answer is yes – in moderation!

Let’s take a look at four benefits of drinking coffee that you may not have known!

  1. May be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes!

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, a condition resulting in elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar) and if left untreated can cause several serious health complications.

In 2014, researchers who gathered data on over 48,000 people found that those who increased their coffee consumption by at least one cup a day over 4 years had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

This is thought to be due to coffee’s ability to preserve the function of the beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for producing insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

It is also rich in antioxidants and may affect insulin sensitivity, inflammation and metabolism – all of which are involved in the development of type 2 diabetes.

  1. May help protect against dementia!

Dementia is a general term that describes when brain function declines.

Although studies have turned up mixed results, some research suggests that coffee may help protect against neurodegenerative disorders including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

Another study found that drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of not only dementia but also stroke!

  1. May help in weight management.

There is some evidence that consuming coffee may help people lose weight.  This could be due to the fact that in one study people who drank one to two cups of coffee per day were more likely to meet recommended physical levels, therefore higher levels of physical activity help promote weight loss!

According to another study coffee could alter fat storage and support gut health, both of which may be beneficial in losing weight.

Although coffee may provide some benefits in reducing obesity, it is not a substitute for eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise!

  1. Decaf coffee can also offer benefits!

If you enjoy coffee but caffeine isn’t for you, you can still reap many of the coffee’s rewards in a decaffeinated form.

Decaf coffee contains antioxidants, which can be man-made or found naturally that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.  It offers disease protection, including against type 2 diabetes, and even increased alertness!

Is coffee safe for everyone?

Caffeine is a stimulant and therefore everyone reacts differently to it.  Drinking excessive amounts of coffee may cause agitation and anxiety in some people.

People who are sensitive to caffeine may report dizziness, tremors and an inability to sleep well.

The factors which influence how well you process caffeine include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetics
  • Overweight
  • Smoker
  • If you have liver disease

Other considerations include:

  • In the UK, the NHS advise pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake to 200mg per day – the equivalent to two mugs of instant coffee.
  • Certain medications may interact with caffeine, one example is Fosamax, when consumed with a caffeinated drink makes this medication less effective.
  • Caffeine is a diuretic which causes the body to produce urine more quickly and can contribute to dehydration.
  • Due to their lower body weight and size, children may experience greater effects from caffeinated drinks.

How much coffee is too much?

The recommended daily amount of caffeine to be consumed by adults varies depending on the individual’s metabolism, which in turn is influenced by genetics.

This means that we may respond to caffeine in different ways, depending on the time of day we consume it.

Overall, a moderate daily caffeine intake at a dose level of up to 400mg a day is considered safe for most people.  This roughly equates to up to four cups.

This may vary quite considerably as used in the earlier example, pregnant women should consume no more than 200mg a day and children no more than 45-100mg a day.

So – is coffee good for you?

Overall, consuming a moderate amount of coffee a day is believed to help against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions as well as boosting energy levels and metabolism.

However, each individual’s reaction to caffeine is different, and therefore so is the amount they may safely consume.

Contact your G.P. if you are concerned that your caffeine level is too high.

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or