For many decades, the use and abuse of coffee and its main element caffeine have been infolded in golden myths and distorted statements, but thanks to deep studies recent medical literature clearly distanced itself from them.
Coffee and tumours
Over the past two decades, methodologically sound researches carried out in the USA have ruled out the hypothesis that coffee might contribute to the onset of tumours, especially of pancreatic cancer. On the contrary, recent studies have shown that coffee has a protective effect against colon cancer.
Coffee and heart
As for the circulatory system, caffeine undoubtedly has a vasodilating effect and carries out a cardiotonic action, which however causes a barely perceptible rise in blood pressure and is not relevant from a medical point of view. The wrong conclusions reached in the past regarding the responsibility of caffeine in case of hypertension or palpitations are attributed to the fact that no other variables were considered in the samples of people taking part in the studies, such as habits, stress and cigarette consumption. A final response came from the research of a team lead by Dr. Lauretta A. Lynn (Hearth and Lung, July-August 1992), who claims: "there is no objective evidence showing a link between caffeine intake and the development of coronary diseases".
Kidneys and breathing
No alteration on breathing; coffee improves the performance of kidneys and has a diuretic effect.
Coffee and stomach
As for the digestive system, the most striking effect carried out by coffee is that the stomach produces acid secretion; this is not counter-productive for a healthy person and actually stimulates the digestive function. Those who have gastrointestinal problems (peptic ulcers or gastritis), should reduce the consumption of coffee. It needs to be highlighted that by virtue of its slightly bitter taste, the drink stimulates production of saliva, bile and intestinal motility, and thus facilitates digestion.
Coffee and pregnancy
Women don’t have to give up coffee during the breastfeeding period, because it has been proven that caffeine reaches its maximum level in the milk of wet nurses after about an hour. The drink doesn’t cause problems even during pregnancy, as explained by a study conducted on 12,208 pregnant women. (Linn et al.: No Association between Coffee Consumption and Adverse Outcomes of Pregnancy, N. Engl. J. Med. 306, 1982).
Coffee and diet
A cup of coffee without the addition of either milk or sugar contains max 2 calories, which is an entirely insignificant value. Actually, in case a person would like to go on a diet to lose weight or reduce food intake, a cup of coffee helps removing the feeling of hunger. Furthermore, it has been proved that the metabolic activity of a person who drinks 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day increases by 10% compared to that of non-regular coffee consumers.
Coffee and cholesterol
A possible increase in cholesterol level after coffee intake depends on the way the drink is prepared. The cafeolo and cafestolo, two elements found in the fat part of coffee, are responsible for this effect. Boiled coffee contains the largest amount of cafeolo and cafestolo. On the contrary, filtered coffee, instant coffee, espresso and coffee prepared with the moka pot either do not contain these elements at all, or their presence is so reduced as not to affect cholesterol level.