Coffee is the second most consumed drink in the world, only behind water. According to data from the International Coffee Organization (ICO) for 2022, Spain is ranked 19th in the world's most coffee-producing countries, a list led by Finland and Norway. Among the countries that consume less coffee we find Uzbekistan, Kenya, Azerbaijan, China and Pakistan.
For its part, the Café report
Despite the fact that various scientific studies confirm that moderate coffee consumption can be beneficial for health in healthy adults, as long as there are no contraindications (pregnancy, certain diseases...), most people are not clear about what exactly we mean by moderate consumption. . Nutritionist Marta Moreno points out that "despite the fact that coffee intake has always been controversial, as there are still people who believe that it is unhealthy, recent scientific evidence shows that a consumption of around two or three cups a day can be healthy." ”.
Among its benefits, Moreno highlights that "it reduces cardiovascular risk, from heart attacks to strokes, cholesterol or diabetes." However, he warns that, as with any other food or drink, it should not be considered a panacea capable of curing all ills. “There is no use drinking three coffees a day to improve cardiovascular health and then leading a sedentary life and eating junk food,” explains Moreno, who points out that coffee should be part of a balanced and healthy diet.
Numerous scientific studies support the expert's claims. To give some examples, one of them, carried out by Harvard University, points out that consuming between 3 and 5 cups of coffee a day can reduce the probability of premature death, which also occurs if decaffeinated coffee is consumed. The research also states that coffee consumption reduces the risk of suffering from neurological diseases and type 2 diabetes, in addition to the fact that its antidepressant effects can also contribute to the prevention of diseases such as depression and, therefore, also prevent suicide. .
Another study, in this case carried out by scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (United States), concludes that regular coffee consumption reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by up to 26%. This same research also ensures that coffee is related to a lower incidence of Parkinson's and an increase in life expectancy, since it reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. This research coincides with the previous one when it comes to establishing a safe and healthy consumption. Based on data from the Food
The World Health Organization (WHO) backs up these claims. According to a macro-study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal, carried out over 16 years in 10 European countries following more than 521,000 people, drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day reduces premature mortality by 18% in men and 8% in women. This research indicates that coffee consumption positively affects various body functions, but that it is especially linked to improving cardiovascular health and the digestive system.
So, despite the fact that regular caffeine consumption may have been questioned at some point, especially because of its effects on sleep, new research gives free rein to moderate coffee consumption, as long as –Moreno insists– “it feels good to us and have no effect on our quality of life.” Thus, those people who have low blood pressure and for whom coffee works like gasoline to obtain energy can take it without problems as part of a balanced diet.
This is corroborated by Ignacio Ferreira, head of the Cardiology service at Hospital Vall d'Hebron, in Barcelona. "Coffee causes occasional increases in blood pressure, so it can be of great help for hypotensives, who will notice its effects immediately." The doctor also warns of the withdrawal syndrome that restricting its consumption can cause in some people. “Caffeine makes us come out of a state of calm and relaxation to wake up and activate us thanks to receptors in the brain. By reducing the dose of caffeine, the receptors that have been created by consuming high amounts of coffee will be empty and will cause certain discomforts such as headache, exhaustion and loss of energy, insomnia, drowsiness, irritability and lack of concentration, circulatory problems and even constipation”, explains González Risco, a symptomatology that can last from a few days to several weeks.
However, according to Moreno, "people who notice that they get especially nervous after taking it or those who have high blood pressure should moderate their consumption, since it affects their quality of life." In this sense, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recalls that "a single dose of 100 mg of caffeine can alter the ability to fall asleep and reduce rest time in some healthy adults, especially if the intake is carried out close to bedtime." The EFSA also corroborates the recommendations of other institutions, establishing a safe intake of 400 mg of caffeine (between three and five cups) in healthy adults, except in the cases of pregnant women.
For his part, Moreno also alerts pregnant women that "safe consumption during pregnancy is one coffee a day, as a precaution." Coffee intake should also be controlled in the case of those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, since "it could worsen symptoms and increase discomfort." Finally, those who suffer from anemia should also be careful with their coffee intake, since "in some cases caffeine can have a chelating effect, which means that it can sequester iron molecules and prevent them from being properly absorbed by the body." In this case, the expert recommends "separating the consumption of coffee from foods rich in iron or supplements to guarantee the correct absorption of this mineral."
It is important to take into account what type of coffee we consume, since not all of them are equally healthy. “It goes without saying that we should not add sugar, but rather it is advisable to progressively accustom the palate to the taste of food and drinks. It may be a little difficult at first and we have to resort to a sweetener, but each time in smaller doses until we don't need any sweetener," says Moreno. You have to be especially careful with all those trendy coffees, from the cappuccinos that we buy already made in the supermarket to the frappé, mocca and the like, which usually contain huge amounts of added sugar and, therefore, are not healthy. "It is advisable to drink naturally roasted coffee, since the roasted or mixed coffee requires caramelization in its production: this extra contribution of sugar is not recommended."