The properties of coffee
In this new article from “Caffè Pontevecchio Firenze”, let's explore the properties of coffee.
"It is a liqueur for the poet dearest, which Virgil lacked and which Voltaire adored. It is you divine coffee whose lovable liqueur, without altering the mind, makes the heart blossom, my sad, arid, stripped, laughs, richly emerges idea dressed, and I believe, genius of awakening, to drink a ray of sunshine in every drop".
Abbè Delille - French poet (1738-1813)
About 900 substances can be identified in a coffee bean, while blending the coffee from "Caffè Pontevecchio Firenze" we learned that, in addition to water, minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, lipids and waxes (contained in the cortical part grain), proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates (mainly insoluble), antioxidants and mildly stimulating alkaloids such as caffeine. It must be remembered that, despite the presence of all these substances, coffee in the doses contained in a cup practically does not bring calories, other than those of any added sugar or sweetener.
Caffeine and its effects
Of all the substances contained in coffee, the best known is certainly caffeine, even if it represents only 2% of the total composition.
Caffeine is water soluble and, once consumed, easily crosses cell membranes, is rapidly and completely absorbed by the stomach and intestines and then ends up in the blood system which distributes it to all other organs.
Its stimulating effects largely depend on its ability to infiltrate the nervous system, crossing the blood brain barrier. The secret of caffeine's power lies in its ability to cross that barrier as if it didn't exist. The maximum concentration of caffeine in the body is normally reached one hour after its intake. Absorption is slower if the substance is dissolved in non-alcoholic substances.
After traveling in the blood system and reaching every organ, it is metabolized in the liver, or converted into secondary products which are then excreted in the urine. So as quickly as it is assimilated by our body, it is excreted just as quickly.
Caffeine stays in our body for between two and four hours, which means that more than 90% is excreted from the body in twelve hours.
The benefits of caffeine on our body are many:
- increase in working capacity and sense of vigilance, reduction in the sense of fatigue and reaction times
- improvement of digestion and intestinal motility,
- broncho-dilating action with regard to the respiratory system;
- analgesic function in the central nervous system. Due to these properties, caffeine is also used in the treatment of asthma and, in association with painkillers, also for the treatment of migraine, tension headache, dysmenorrhea, pain of tumor origin, post-partum pain, sore throat, pain post-dental surgery;
- protection from the onset of Parkinson's disease;
- improvement of blood circulation. Although in the short term, caffeine can in fact increase blood pressure, when consumption becomes regular, the body develops a certain tolerance that puts the most assiduous consumers away from the risk of developing hypertension due to coffee.
Other benefits of coffee
From recent scientific studies it seems that the consumption of coffee (even decaffeinated) prevents the onset of some chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
“There are multiple works that have documented this link (both in terms of incidence and mortality), regardless of a person's ethnicity: among the most robust, one appeared in 2012 in the columns of the New England Journal of Medicine. The benefit was found among those who were used to drinking 2-5 cups of coffee a day, while the same response was not obtained beyond that. The strongest evidence concerns type 2 diabetes, the incidence of which is allegedly disadvantaged by a range of linked effects induced by caffeine: from reduced appetite and energy intake to subsequent weight management. This argument, warn the authors of the article, however, is valid if you only drink coffee and tea. Not if the two drinks are sweetened or if the caffeine is taken from soft and energy drinks, enriched in added sugars which (on the contrary) help to "enlarge" the waistline. While it is true that in the short term, caffeine can reduce the sensitivity of tissues to insulin (by slowing down the storage of glucose in the muscles, in the form of glycogen), over time the other molecules we acquire from drinking coffee seem to mitigate this effect. . Hence the assertion that, between pros and cons, regular coffee consumption can be considered irrelevant for the risk to get diabetes. "
“Those who drink coffee every day seem to be in some cases even more protected from cancer. The most significant evidences concern the relationship with the tumor of the liver and the body of the uterus. But several prospective studies have revealed that regular coffee consumption is associated with a reduced likelihood of developing skin, breast or prostate cancer. In any case, the liver seems to be the organ that most benefits from the mix of substances contained in a cup of coffee. Cirrhosis of the liver, which if left untreated can pave the way for the onset of hepatocellular carcinoma, is in fact less frequent among those who use the drink daily. " [source: www.fondazioneveronesi.it]
Contrary to what has been thought for a long time, coffee does not have a carcinogenic effect. During our research at "Caffè Pontevecchio Firenze", we noticed that there is in fact no correlation between the onset of tumors and coffee intake (not even for bladder cancer for which caffeine was thought to have a negative effect) , rather! As we have seen, coffee instead contains substances that can prevent the onset of cancer.