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8 questions you may have about coffee!

8 questions you may have about coffee! From casual get-togethers to warm family conversations, business meetings and friendly chats, coffee is a beverage enjoyed at a variety of occasions by people all across the globe. Not to forget the pleasure of the morning boost we get from our cherished cup of coffee.

But like everything you enjoy, you may begin to wonder about the effects that coffee has on our health. So based on the latest research, we bring to you 8 answers to the questions you might have on coffee:

1. Is coffee addictive?

While enjoying a cup of coffee maybe described as a habit and coffee is known to act as a stimulant; this should not be confused with it being addictive.

Unlike other forms of addiction, coffee drinkers do not need to increase the amount they drink over time. Neither do they experience problems if they drink less than they are used to. Some people may experience mild withdrawal-like symptoms, such as headaches when coffee is suddenly removed from their diet. On the other hand, people who gradually reduce their caffeine intake over a couple of days tend not to experience these symptoms.

2. Does coffee inhibit sleep?

That entirely depends on sensitivity to the effect of coffee. There are some who consume caffeinated drinks during the evening and have no problem falling asleep. While others who drink coffee before bed find it difficult to fall asleep because of the mild stimulation it offers.

If you are particularly sensitive to the stimulating effects of caffeine, simply avoid drinking coffee 4 hours before bedtime or switch to decaffeinated coffee during the evening.

3. Does it cause heartburn?

Heartburn is experienced when acid from the stomach passes back into the food pipe causing irritation and pain. This is called acid reflux.We have been told for years that coffee, acidic fruit as well as spicy foods can aggravate acid reflux and should therefore be avoided in our daily diet. However, recent research has shown that only two behavioural changes can reduce symptoms of acid reflux – eating less and elevating your head while sleeping.

Coffee and many other foods increase acid secretion in the stomach, but this does not necessarily cause heartburn; although for some people it might. What is recommended is to be aware of the foods that cause this and avoid it.

4. Does coffee lead to dehydration?

Caffeine has a mild diuretic effect; which means it slightly increases the frequency of urination. However, recent evidence indicates that the increased frequency does not affect the total amount of water lost. This is because the diuretic effect of coffee is compensated by the water in it. So, a moderate intake of coffee has no effect on long term hydration and actually counts in the daily fluid intake.

Just remember, for proper hydration you need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

5. Does coffee increase blood pressure?

A cup of coffee may slightly increase your blood pressure temporarily. But it returns to normal levels within 2 hours after drinking it. Hence, drinking coffee in moderation does not increase the risk of developing blood pressure in normal people.

But it may increase blood pressure in some people who already have a history of high blood pressure. However, even though there have been previous studies, there is still no clear answer about the association between coffee consumption and hypertension.

6. Does coffee have an effect on calcium?

Although the amount of calcium in urine increases slightly after drinking coffee, the net effect on calcium levels is negligible. This is because calcium excretion decreases later during the day. Studies show that in moderation, drinking coffee has no effect on bone health. In order to ensure strong and healthy bones, you should make sure your diet contains adequate calcium, approximately, 1000 mg a day for women aged 19-50 years.

7. What about coffee and headaches?

New research shows that coffee might help relieve headache symptoms. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and helps counter the painful effect of blood vessel dilatation in the head, which is the main cause of a headache.

8. Can I drink coffee when I’m pregnant?

You can now put your mind at ease as recent research indicates that a moderate consumption of caffeine (two cups a day) for pregnant women is safe. If you want more, opt for decaf instead. It is always advisable to consult your doctor for any inquiries you may have during your pregnancy.

Now that you have all the answers to your coffee queries, it is also good to know that new evidence indicates that the antioxidant-rich properties of coffee can play a protective role for the body. To enjoy the benefits of drinking coffee, just remember to keep your intake in moderate amounts of 300mg caffeine / day, which is equivalent to 3-4 cups.