From the cultivation of the first grain of coffee bean in Ethiopia in the 11th century, its most common product; coffee - a brewed drink prepared from its roasted form- has grown to become the world’s seventh largest legal agricultural export by value (according to reports in 2005). With consumption rate standing at 141.6 million bags of beans this year, this value is expected to rise by 25% over the next five years because of the westernization of societies in India, China and Latin America according to International Coffee Organization (ICO) Director, Roberio Silva.
Besides being a beverage used to deduce if a society is westernized, it’s become a habit for countless people worldwide as they cannot help but start the day with a jolt of caffeine (Coffee’s most popular constituent). A habit that is still being debated if to be classified as good or bad due to the fact that caffeine albeit “Generally recognized as safe” by the food and drug administration has been discovered to have negative effects coupled with its constant medical and performance enhancing uses. It can be used medically to prevent Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, type 2 diabetes and in the treatment of ADHD, obesity and low blood pressure. A central nervous system stimulant, caffeine reduces physical fatigue, prevents drowsiness, increases focus and can delay sleep.
Negative side effects of coffee consumption include:
Somewhat related to the addiction, this effect occurs in adults who consume more than six cups daily making them totally dependent on coffee consumption along with symptoms such as anxiety and agitation.
Consumption of coffee on an empty stomach leads to the production of Hydrochloric acid which is an essential part of the digestion process. Its early production due to coffee consumption may reduce the amount produced when a meal is consumed thereby delaying food digestion.
Coffee may affect the kidneys ability to retain calcium, zinc, magnesium and other important minerals therefore making it difficult for heavy coffee drinkers to get enough materials from their food and even supplement.
A potential carcinogenic substance formed when coffee beans are roasted at high temperature, acrylamide has been shown to be a product of coffee. Its level is dependent on how dark the roast it
Although drinking coffee can make us productive, lots of it will increase the release of stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine in the body. Chemicals that increase the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, tension level and have long term health implications.
Most of the aforementioned side effects of coffee are results of excessive consumption. It is therefore advised that for long term productivity, coffee consumption should be at most four Cups daily.