Article by Angela Haldane, 07 May 2006

Q. There are mixed opinions on whether coffee is good for you or not. Could you please outline the pros and cons of coffee consumption?

A. Coffea Arabica is a popular beverage, with a strong cultural following. The ritual, relaxation and friendships gained over coffee has merit in itself. At the most, have one coffee a day in the morning and enjoy it!

Unless you know that it doesn’t suit you – for example some people find they experience anxiety, stomach cramps, inflammatory conditions or migraine headaches from coffee.

Caffeinated coffee stimulates the contractions of the gallbladder, releasing bile which in turn prevents gallstones.

Coffee increases the basal metabolic rate which is used by athletes to increase their performance. Many use it to increase daily activities, as it increases mental acuity and concentration temporarily.

The polyphenols in coffee prevent some forms of cancer including colon, liver, and stomach. Although coffee may contribute to other forms of cancer.

The caffeine and theobromine in coffee is useful for treating asthma and hayfever. Airways dilate and sneezing abates with caffeine intake.

More than one coffee per day becomes detrimental, due to the diuretic effects. Water soluble vitamins (B complex) and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and zinc) are lost. Research states that excessive coffee consumption may lead to osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and strokes owing to these losses.

Excessive coffee intake can worsen premenstrual syndrome and increase levels of pain.

People with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia or anxiety are also advised not to partake in coffee. In which case, try a lovely green tea or fresh juice rich in antioxidants next time you visit a café.
Unfortunately coffee plants are highly sprayed with pesticides so choose organically grown coffee beans.