Does Coffee Drinking Lead to Inflammation?

  • Coffee drinking provides several benefits including reduced risks in developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • As a general rule, consuming two to three cups daily is healthy for heart health.
  • According to research, certain foods and beverages in the diet along with healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent inflammation in the body.

Americans just love their cup of Joe. In fact, 62 percent of people in the US indulge in it daily, drinking three cups daily on an average, according to a 2020 National Coffee Association survey.

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Although several studies have suggested that drinking coffee provides less harm and more good, according to national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Melissa Ann Prest, when it comes to inflammation, it depends.

Here’s what science says about coffee and its effects on inflammation in the body.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a process where your immune system sends specialized blood cells to protect your body from external invaders such as an insect bite or another injury, says Dr. Sameer Arora, a cardiology fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But if the immune system is chronically in overdrive, probably caused by factors like an unhealthy diet, stress or poor sleep, it can lead to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and more.

Inflammation can be prevented by avoiding bad habits and adding certain foods and beverages to your diet. These may include leafy green vegetables, fatty fish like salmon, and coffee.

Inflammation-fighting antioxidants in coffee

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Coffee’s health benefits such as decreased risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

“Antioxidants help protect cells against damage,” including damage from free radicals, says Prest. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body that can cause cell damage responsible for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more.

Polyphenols are another type of antioxidant that may link to LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and promote heart health, according to a 2019 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

“Any food items that contain antioxidants counteract that process,” says Sharon Zarabi, RD, bariatric surgery program director at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Coffee’s drawbacks

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Experts advise avoiding coffee or other caffeinated beverages at night due to its effects on sleep. It is also unwise for people with Parkinson’s to drink coffee due to the tremors it causes. It also exacerbates heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Drinking too much coffee also leads to fatigue. “Then you’re pumping out a bunch of adrenaline and cortisol which puts you in panic mode and causes stress,” says Zarabi. “

The effects of coffee on your heart

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People are often concerned about whether coffee may damage your heart. It can, after all, speed up your heartbeat. Good news.

Though coffee can speed up your heartbeat, Dr. Arora says coffee taken in moderate amounts will not harm your heart. In fact, two to three cups a day is generally healthy for the heart. While it can temporarily up your blood pressure, this isn’t long-lasting, he adds.

Cardiovascular disease is the top killer of Americans these days. Inflammation contributes to heart disease where it promotes the hardening of the arteries, causing blockages in blood vessels, potentially leading to heart attacks and strokes.

The healthiest brew

According to an April study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the best coffee would be filtered brew. Unlike an unfiltered brew, less than five cups a day of the filtered kind was linked with a reduced mortality rate. The authors believe that this is due to filtered coffee having more antioxidants.

Plus, think twice before you start adding spoonfuls of cream and sugar. “These are pro-inflammatory,” says Zarabi, which can add to your waistline, meaning added inflammation.

Bottom line is, coffee can help lower inflammation. But it can also cause inflammation in some people depending on their lifestyle and other individual factors.

Source: The Healthy