Health Hazards of Coffee

Coffee is injurious to health. It is more stimulating beverage than tea, as it contains greater amount of active alkaloid principle, caffeine.


Author: Dr Ranjeet Singh


Like tea, coffee is also one of the most widely consumed drinks all over the world. It is stimulant and helps get over a feeling of tiredness and fatigue. This leads to coffee drinking habit which is difficult to leave in course of time. Most of the coffee’s pharmacological Impact comes from its high concentration of caffeine, a psychoactive drug of great power and the most active alkaloid principle in it.

This is an addictive drug similar to cocaine in as much as it stimulates the central nervous system. These effects are short lived, but it has been observed they lead to withdrawal symptoms of irritability, lethargy, headaches and anxiety. this shows that it is quite a strong drug to constitute at potential health hazard. If taken in excess, it may cause psychiatric disturbances.

Botanical distribution

Coffee beans are the seeds of coffee trees that are widely cultivated in the tropics. There are a variety of coffee thees. Most of them are 10 to 15 feet high, with evergreen leaves. Shade trees are necessary to protect them from excessive sun. They bear clusters of white flowers which develop into the beans. There are large plantations in India, Indonesia, Africa and Brazil

Coffee is native to Africa, where it has been cultivated for ages on the slopes of Abyssinia facing the Red Sea. The coffee trees crossed the sea and found its way into the Arabia in 15 century. The world derives in famous Mocha coffee from there.

History of Drinking Coffee

Coffee drinking spread very rapidly in the East but entered Europe more slowly. It was imported into England about 1652. But it was not until the 18th century that coffee drinking was generally adopted. It is, however about two centuries since it become an article of general consumption by the people of Europe. In United States, about 96% of the family drink coffee daily.

Harmful Effects of Drinking Coffee

Coffee is injurious to health. It is more stimulating beverage than tea, as it contains greater amount of active alkaloid principle, caffeine. Sir Robert Hutchinson, an eminent nutritionist, found about 100 mg of caffeine and 200 mg of tannin in a cup of coffee, made by infusing 69 gram in 45 ml of water.

Research studies have shown that coffee drinking has potential health hazards. They have linked to heart disease, cancer and even birth defects. The most common side effects of coffee are nervousness, irritability, heart palpitation and insomnia. Some people experience opposed- stimulation letdown that can make them as tired and lethargic as they were alert and energetic immediately after drinking. Herein are discussed in brief certain in specific diseases which are caused or aggravated by excessive use of coffee.

1. Heart disease

The most recent study on coffees role in heart disease is done at Stanford University, found that sedentary men between 30 and 55, who drink three cups of coffee or more a day, may be at higher risk of developing heart disease than those who drink less coffee. A 10 year follow-up study of more than 1,00,000 individuals by Kaiser Permanent’s Dr Klatsky suggested that for more cups of coffee a day boost chances of heart disease about 30% in men and up to 60% in women.

2. Dyspepsia

Coffee can bring an dyspepsia. The researchers at University of Michigan studies 55 people with this problem and found that half of them suffered digestive distress after drinking two cups of Coffee day. Even drinking decaffeinated coffee caused indigestion. The researchers concluded that it may be due to acid in the coffee.

3. Constipation

Caffeine in coffee can contribute to constipation in some persons. One survey of 15,000 men and women by University of North Carolina, research noted that those who were often constipated drank more coffee. This is attributable to the fact that the nerve of colon may come to tolerate the constant stimulant effect of coffee and caffeine, thus become sluggish, just as they often do when people become over dependent on stimulant- type laxative. Another possible reason is that caffeine act as diuretic, disturbing the body fluid balance by drawing fluid out of the gut where they are needed to soften the stool. Thus the stools stay hard and become difficult to expel.

4. Diarrhoea

The use of coffee can also cause diarrhoea in some person with sensitive colon. According to a British test, even a single cup of coffee, either caffeinated or decaffeinated, can stimulate muscle contractions in the bowel in at least one third of the population.Further, caffeine is a diuretic that tends to rob the body of fluids that are most needed in diarrhoea. Thus, drinking coffee induce or aggravate diarrhoea.

5. Gall stones

Coffee can stimulate the gall bladder to bring about gallbladder attacks. This has been discovered by Bruce R Douglas and his colleagues at the university hospital in Leiden, Netherland. The Dutch investigators found in a test of healthy normal men and women that drinking as little as 115 ml of decaffeinated coffee stimulated gall bladder contractions. The researchers advise people prone to gallstones to avoid all types of coffee.

6. Osteoporosis

Caffeine in coffee can cause osteoporosis by promoting excretion of calcium, there by robbing bones of the minerals. A look at 3,170 older men and women who participated in the famous Framingham heart study indicated that two or more cups of coffee a day boosted the chance of breaking a hip or by about 50% recent. Harvard study of 84,000 middle aged woman found that those who drink more than 4 cups of Coffee a day were about three times more likely to suffer hip fractures than women who drunken little or no coffee.

7. Premenstrual Syndrome

Coffee drink led to premenstrual syndrome which have become quite disabling to cause upset in life.Dr Annette Rossignol associate professor of Public Health and Oregon State University conducted a study of 841 female American students and found that those consuming caffeine in a cup of coffee per day were more prone to PMS. The more caffeine in they consumed the more severe their PMS symptoms.