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Wake up and smell the coffee: How this hot drink affects your body

With the mornings getting chillier, a hot cup of coffee helps us get up and through the daily grind. According to the British Coffee Association, we consume two billion cups everyday, taking into account all strengths and sizes. Whether you prefer a frothy cappuccino, strong flat white or milky latte, how much should you be consuming daily? Everyone is different and our personalised tests can give you a detailed insight into this. But first, here are some pros and cons when it comes to the body’s reaction to coffee.

Whether you prefer a frothy cappuccino, strong flat white or milky latte, how much should you be consuming daily?

PRO: Boosts physical performance and mental stimulation

Students cramming for an exam, bleary-eyed commuters lacking energy and office workers facing a big deadline usually have one thing in common: a cup of coffee in hand. Coffee improves our attention span and reduces fatigue, which explains why many of us put the kettle on before enduring a gruelling mental or physical task. This is thanks to caffeine – a natural stimulant which keeps your brain and central nervous system alert. One helping can give you a short-term burst of energy, but don’t drink too much as you may experience overstimulation.

PRO: Relieves constipation

Coffee makes you need the bathroom because caffeine causes your gut muscles to push food through your intestines more efficiently. If you suffer from constipation, your diet is probably to blame and our GutQlu test can clear up any uncertainty. For quick relief, a cup of coffee could be the solution. Black without milk is best for this, as dairy is known for worsening constipation.

PRO: Improves life expectancy

Alongside the stimulant caffeine, coffee also contains beneficial antioxidants which reduce the risk of harmful diseases such as heart disease. There’s also evidence that coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but this varies from person to person. Once again, black coffee is the closest you will get to finding the elixir of life as it contains the most vitalising antioxidants, and it is also believed that dark roast blends have a higher antioxidant content than light or medium blends.

Coffee contains beneficial antioxidants which reduce the risk of harmful diseases such as heart disease

CON: Causes stomach aches

Do you love the full-bodied flavour of a silky, smooth coffee, but hate how it sometimes gives you an upset stomach? Many people find themselves in this boat due to the side effects that coffee has on the gut. Sometimes your stomach may be sensitive to the acid in a mug of coffee which causes bloating and discomfort. This can be eased by developing a preference for decaf coffee and refraining from drinking coffee on an empty stomach.

CON: Leads to insomnia

Coffee might be great at waking you up, but it could also be ruining your sleep. If you drink coffee late in the day, you’ll find your mind racing and adrenaline levels pumping at night. Caffeine can linger in your system for up to 6 hours, so set yourself a new rule that it’s strictly for the early hours, and you should be feeling calm by bedtime.

CON: Developing a dependency

While much of our coffee obsession boils down to café culture and Instagramable coffee art, caffeine does have addictive qualities. If you can’t get your fix and experience headaches, irritability or a lack of motivation, you might be too dependent. Cutting down will keep high blood pressure levels under control, as this has been linked to excessive coffee-drinking too.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t get your fix and experience headaches, irritability or a lack of motivation, you may need to face the fact that you’re too dependent

A life without coffee is an impossible thought for many and there’s no need to deprive yourself of it completely. To make the most of its health benefits and avoid side effects, limit yourself to just two cups a day. 

And, although it’s the season for festive coffees, some flavoured beverages contain around 7 teaspoons of sugar, so assess the nutritional information before buying, and refrain from having them too regularly. Get started with our NutriQlu DNA test now for more information and advice on dietary requirements tailored to you.

Although it’s the season for festive coffees, some flavoured beverages contain around 7 teaspoons of sugar, so assess the nutritional information before buying

 


 

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