It´s our daily good morning, giving us the boost we need to face the day; it saves us from post-lunch sleepiness and keeps us company at night when we´re preparing for exams or finishing a project. There´s no getting away from it: we Italians love coffee.
But beyond the flavour we all appreciate, what else does it offer? Have you ever wondered why we´re more productive after a coffee? Why is it said to help dieters? What are its properties?
Let´s find out how and why coffee can be good for us
Like many other foodstuffs in our kitchens, coffee offers multiple benefits for the human organism. Obviously, we should consume the correct quality, never overdoing it and considering our own health conditions.
In the following paragraphs we´ll learn about all the beneficial properties of coffee, who it´s good for and when it should be avoided or minimised, but above all how it can help us in terms of general health.
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Coffee and the brain
Exploring the effects of coffee on health, researchers have conducted numerous studies on its impact on the brain, with extremely interesting results.
Before we analyse these, we should first explain the composition of coffee: as many people know, one of the most important substances in coffee is caffeine, which is known to stimulate our central nervous system (CNS). For this reason, the effect of coffee on our brain is considerable.
Caffeine - and therefore coffee - acts in many ways on the human central nervous system, but one of the best-known effects is undoubtedly the ability to keep us awake and alert. It´s no coincidence that we avoid drinking coffee in the evening before we go to bed, so that we can sleep well rather than spend hours staring at the ceiling due to the caffeine in our bodies.
Caffeine affects our brain function in various other ways: it can impact mood, enhance our ability to learn, speed our reaction times and increase our attention span.
Specifically, caffeine even appears to affect our memory, both long- and short-term. It improves our ability to recognise images and makes our memories clearer and more imprinted on the mind.
Read also: Coffee and sports performance: the role of caffeine in training.
What does coffee cure?
Although we´ve mainly focused so far on the short-term effects of coffee on our central nervous system, you should know that in the long term it also helps to reduce the risk of developing certain neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer´s and Parkinson´s disease: regular moderate consumption of coffee can combat deterioration and protect our nervous system.
What are the positive effects of coffee?
Besides its positive effects on the brain, coffee is also closely linked to health and wellbeing. So let´s take a look at the most important benefits of coffee on our organism, due to its nutritional properties:
· it improves our physical performance;
· it increases our baseline metabolism, and therefore helps us to consume more energy;
· it provides more energy, helping us to do our work;
· it improves our mood.
If you´re a bit lazy and can´t be bothered to fill the moka every morning, the perfect solution for you is coffee pods, to give you the boost you need to start the day.
If you´re looking for specific positive effects of drinking coffee, it´s good to know that raw coffee and health are closely correlated. If you´ve never heard of it, raw coffee means green coffee, i.e. unroasted beans which have not been subjected to heat. The main health benefits of green coffee are those we´re familiar with, with the difference that the raw version releases less caffeine in the short term.
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How many coffees should we drink in a day?
It´s a question many people ask, whether they´ve just had their fifth coffee of the day or simply to learn more about coffee, health and wellbeing.
The most authoritative study on this topic was conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Research established that the ideal daily dose of caffeine is between 200 and 400 milligrammes, which means that we shouldn´t drink more than five cups a day to maintain the correct balance between coffee and health.
Read also: How to make a great coffee: tips and secrets.
Who should avoid coffee?
Together we´ve looked at all the benefits of coffee and, specifically, caffeine on our organism and our nervous system, but coffee is not always good for everyone. We often hear of coffee and health contraindications, where it should be avoided completely or consumed in very small quantities. The following categories are not compatible with coffee consumption:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women (for whom the maximum daily amount is two cups);
- People who suffer from insomnia;
- People with heart disease or arrhythmia;
- Patients with advanced diabetes;
- People who suffer from anxiety and psychoses (e.g bipolar);
- People who tend to suffer gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux, dyspepsia, ulcers, irritable bowel or other intestinal conditions;
- Individuals with kidney or liver problems;
- Patients with inflammation of the prostate or urinary tract.
If you´re in one of the categories that allow you to drink coffee, but not too much, there´s good news: coffee capsules and health usually go hand in hand. Why´s that? The answer is simple: the quantity of caffeine in capsules is often considerably lower that in the classic moka coffee, so the effects - and the risks - are reduced.
Regardless of how you make it, the most important aspect is the quality of the coffee, whether it´s in capsules, ground or beans. If you want to look after your health as well as enjoying unique flavour, don´t hesitate and always choose the best brands.
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Now we´ve learned about the benefits of coffee, and also how much is recommended per day, take a look at our catalogue and buy the best coffee blends online - beans, ground, pods and capsules for Nespresso, A Modo Mio and Dolce Gusto from Caffè Corsini to please everyone, even the most exacting!