To many of us, coffee is a staple of our daily diet. We use it to help perk ourselves up, to socialize, and to cap a satisfying meal. Coffee is our favorite beverage, especially in the mornings.
And as coffee became part of our everyday lives and daily routines, we look at it as a very simple one.
But the caffeine that coffee contains is a very complex compound and probably one of the most researched components of the diet.
Opinions on coffee vary greatly — some consider it healthy and energizing, while others claim it’s addictive and harmful.
Still, when you look at the evidence, most studies on coffee and health find that it’s beneficial.
For example, coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, liver diseases, and Alzheimer’s, and overall, a moderate consumption of coffee, equivalent to 3-5 cups per day, has been linked with many health benefits and it can be fit for a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle.
Here you’ll find about some key facts about the compounds of coffee and its nutrients.
Compounds In Coffee
Coffee naturally contains a variety of compounds including caffeine, antioxidants and diterpenes. These contribute not only to the unique flavor but also to the well-researched physiological effects of coffee.
Caffeine is a major pharmacologically active compound in coffee and it is a mild central nervous system stimulant, most commonly found in coffee beans, cocoa-beans, kola nuts, and tea leaves.
In addition caffeine is added to many popular carbonated drinks and is also a component of a number of pharmacological preparations and over-the-counter medicines. A typical cup of coffee provides approximately 75–100mg caffeine.
Extensive research has shown that there are several beneficial effects of caffeine in the diet, such as improved attention, alertness and physical performance. In some individuals, however, there can be adverse effects, such as disturbed sleep patterns.
Coffee naturally contains a variety of compounds that display antioxidant properties. These include chlorogenic acids and melanoidins, hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, which may help to deactivate oxidants, or so-called free radicals, which can damage important molecules like proteins and DNA.
A number of studies have shown an increase in blood antioxidant levels after consumption of coffee.
Several factors (including level of roast, additives including milk or sugar, and the ratio of coffee to water) make it difficult to attribute these increases in blood antioxidant levels to specific compounds in coffee.
Many of coffee’s positive health effects may be due to its impressive content of powerful antioxidants.
In fact, studies show that coffee is one of the largest sources of antioxidants in the human diet.
Most people consume about 1–2 grams of antioxidants per day — primarily from beverages like coffee and tea.
The diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol, are both naturally present in the oil contained in coffee. Research suggests that high consumption of these compounds can raise serum levels of total and LDL cholesterol.
The impact is largely related to the method of brewing since these compounds are largely retained in the paper filter in filtered coffee, but pass into the brew in Scandinavian boiled coffee, Cafètiere (plunger pot), Greek and Turkish coffee.
Soluble coffee contains virtually none of these cholesterol-raising compounds. Moderate consumption of espresso (around 2-3 cups) also has negligible effects, as levels are lower than unfiltered coffee and serving sizes are smaller.
Some studies suggest that diterpenes may also have a protective role against some cancers, although further research is required before any conclusions can be reached.
Nutrition Facts Of Black Coffee
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (270g) of black coffee with no cream or sugar added.
- Calories: 1
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 6mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0.3g
Coffee only becomes a dietary concern when you start adding ingredients such as milk, flavorings, syrups, sugar, and whipped cream. By this point, a single coffee drink can pack as many calories and fat as an extra-large slice of cake.
A Final Word From Me
Moderate coffee consumption is key to enjoying the benefits and avoiding the risks of coffee. Adding dairy products and sugar or sweeteners will drastically change the nutritional properties of your coffee.
If you enjoy a flavored coffee drink every now and then but are struggling with your weight, be sure to check the nutrition information before placing your order with the barista.
You might want to consider reducing the sweet slowly, or replacing one of your sweet coffee drinks with a pure black coffee.
You can always opt for non-fat milk, or plant milk, like soya or almond, to reduce the dairy intake in your diet.
However, everyone’s taste is unique, and everyone knows their needs the best, as long as you drink consciously.
Don’t forget to share this article with someone that might find it interesting and useful.
How do you drink your coffee?
Tell us in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.
Enjoy your coffee!