Benefits & Drawbacks of Coffee

Although the coffee plant originates in Ethiopia, the widespread drinking of the beverage is attributed to the Sufi Shaykh, Abul Hasan Umar ash-Shaazili, who recognised its utility in keeping vigil for worship. The beverage has health benefits and drawbacks.

Coffee contains over 300 ingredients, many of which are beneficial antioxidants. One of these ingredients is the vitamin niacin. The bean roasting process produces niacin. A cup of coffee contains a milligram of niacin. Niacin helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves function. It is also important for converting food to energy.

Coffee and cholesterol
Drinkers of more than six cups of coffee have a greater risk of heart disease. This is however more to do with the preparation method than the actual caffeine content. The coffee bean naturally contains two chemicals, cafestol and kahweol, which it releases when coffee is prepared through percolation, or by adding hot water to coffee grounds and bringing to a boil. This release raises blood cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease. However, filtering coffee through paper or manufacturing instant coffee removes the cafestol and kahweol.  

Heart disease
Coffee increases the heart rate and raises blood pressure slightly. In moderation, coffee consumption does cause high blood pressure. It was previously believed that heart attack victims should completely abstain from coffee. However, research has shown that filtered coffee does not cause abnormal heart rhythms which had previously been feared from coffee.


Studies have shown that coffee helps control blood glucose of diabetics and is thus beneficial.

Laxative and diuretic

Caffeine stimulates muscle contractions in the large intestines, which are similar to the contractions that happen after you eat a meal. It increases blood flow through the kidneys, stimulating urine flow.

Women who drink more than three cups a day may face a risk of reduced fertility as well as brittle bones after menopause and in old age.
Coffee can cause migraines in some people and can disrupt proper sleep if consumed late at night.
Caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches and irritability.