In recent years, Coffee has been one of the most profoundly studied dietary components. Most research findings suggested positive health impacts, but there are also some side effects. So as we celebrate the National Coffee Day, let’s delve deeper into the pros and cons of coffee drinking.

Considered the second most traded commodity on Earth, almost 1.4 billion cups of coffee are reportedly consumed on a daily basis worldwide, and about 45 percent (400 million cups) of it is drunk in the United States alone. According to The World Counts, the world consumes about 145 million bags (10 million tons) of coffee beans annually.

What is coffee?

Perhaps many drinkers would agree that coffee is like a drug that can turn one grumpy sleepyhead into an alert and energetic being but it’s more than just a “morning pick-me-up” or energy-boosting drink. Its beans originate from the plant genus Coffea, which has over 500 genera and 6,000 species of tropical shrubs and trees, the National Coffee Association (NCA) noted.

All commercially grown plants can be found in the Equatorial region called the “Coffee or Bean Belt.” It is also grown in over 50 nations worldwide and the most significant species in the commercial industry are Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica vs. Robusta

Arabica is discovered in Ethiopia and legend said that Ethiopian shepherds noticed the effects of Caffeine after seeing their goats become “frisky” and seemed dancing following the consumption of coffee berries.

This species, which is lower in caffeine, also brings the highest prices and represent 70 percent of the coffee production worldwide.

Robusta, on the other hand, represents 30 percent of the industry and is commonly found in Central and Western Africa, as well as in Vietnam and Indonesia. It is often used in instant coffees and blends and has about 50 to 60 percent more caffeine.

Health benefits

A cup of joe (a term derived from American servicemen aka G.I. Joes during World War II who were considered heavy coffee drinkers) reportedly brings several health benefits. Drinking this dark black and bitter-tasting beverage has been associated with diabetes prevention, lower risks of liver diseases and Parkinson’s disease, and a healthy cardiovascular system.

According to CNN, an observational study suggested that consuming at least four cups of coffee a day could lower the risk of early death by 64 percent compared to rare or non-drinkers. Since it is loaded with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, NCA spokesperson Joe DeRupo said that it brings “positive effects in reducing the risk of several diseases.”

Some findings also suggested that coffee drinkers have reduced the risk of uterine, colorectal pancreatic and esophageal cancer, stroke and gout, Harvard Health revealed. Daily Mail added that it could also increase the survival rates of patients with HIV and hepatitis C by 50 percent.

As the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance, coffee can also boost one’s energy level and general cognitive function.

It could also help with weight loss and in the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.


Up to 300 milligrams of caffeine or two to three coffee cups are considered safe for healthy adults daily. Too much consumption, however, can cause dehydration, hyperacidity, and anxiety so hypertensive patients and those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) should avoid it.

Pregnant women should not drink more than a cup of joe daily because fetuses are highly sensitive to caffeine. People with high cholesterol levels should also avoid this beverage because it contains cafestol and kahweol, which increase LDL and cholesterol levels.

Poor coffee quality could also be toxic.

Meanwhile, other side effects include restlessness, dizziness, insomnia, unstable heartbeat, upset stomach, and irritability. Excessive consumption could also interfere with iron adsorption and electrolyte imbalance.

Coffee drinking is mostly linked to positive effects. However, it should be taken in moderation to avoid its unhealthy and negative side effects. As they say, too much of anything is bad for you.