Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
The debate over coffee and health is likely to continue for a long time. Initially, studies suggested that coffee was not very beneficial to human health, but more extensive research has challenged this idea. Both Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta appear to contain compounds which may actually make coffee drinkers more healthy. Despite concerns about compounds in Arabica beans, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that they are unhealthy.
Early studies of coffee that concluded that it was bad for consumers often did not take other factors into account. Many regular coffee drinkers of the time also smoked and drank, for example, and these activities have been clearly linked to problems with health. A closer look revealed that many of the problems associated with coffee consumption were actually due to other influences.
The two compounds at issue in Arabica bean coffee are Kahweol and cafestol. Both are diterpene compounds, and both have been linked with health problems. Kahweol appears to elevate liver enzymes. Cafestol causes a rise in bad cholesterol, and is found in both Arabica and Robusta beans, although Arabica has a much higher concentration of the substance. It's best not to consume either to excess, but making coffee with a filter removes the bulk of these compounds, making the coffee perfectly safe to drink.
In fact, Arabica bean coffee may be good for people. Coffee drinkers in the Netherlands and Japan were discovered to be less prone to certain types of cancers. The high levels of antioxidants in coffee are probably responsible for this. It may also help to prevent heart arrhythmias, reduce cavities, and kill bacteria. Further study is required, but it seems apparent that the benefits of coffee outweigh the potential costs, especially when the diterpenes are removed through filtering. Many of these findings apply both to Arabica and Robusta beans, to the delight of people who prefer the more caffeine-packed Robusta species.
Coffee can, however, trigger migraines, contribute to stomach ulcers, and raise blood pressure. In some cases, a medical professional may recommend that a patient consider reducing his or her coffee intake, or switching to a decaffeinated version. Individuals should always follow the advice provided by a healthcare professional, since he or she is more aware of the issues that are unique to a patient's body.
Coffee is a perfectly naturally occurring fruit. What needs to be kept in mind is that nobody eats unroasted coffee beans. Coffee is altered in that you'll usually find other substances involved- coffee beans are roasted with a variety of sweets and flavors which contribute to the health, and many people are now used to places like Starbucks and Caribou Coffee which specialize in "gourmet" drinks pumped full of milk and sugar.
If coffee is roasted properly and drunk as plainly as possible, the antioxidants and benefits of the natural fruit become much more evident, and it's no more harmful than water!
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!