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Who should give up coffee to not harm health: Nutritionist's advice

Who should give up coffee to not harm health: Nutritionist's advice Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

The benefits and drawbacks of coffee continue to be a topic of debate among medical professionals. Undoubtedly, like any product, this beverage can be harmful to some and beneficial to others in terms of well-being, according nutritionist Anastasiia Holoborodko.

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach

"The stomach has numerous ways to protect itself. It produces a thick layer of mucus that creates a powerful shield between the stomach's mucous membrane and everything you swallow. This shield also protects the stomach from its own natural acidic environment, necessary for food digestion," explains the expert.

If a person does not have gastritis, untreated gastropathies, recurring ulcers, or heartburn, it is permissible to drink coffee on an empty stomach.

"Worse irritants include alcohol, cigarette smoke, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen. They alter the stomach's natural protective mechanisms and damage its mucous membrane so quickly," says Holoborodko.

She also adds that coffee affects the intestines, potentially speeding up motility. However, regular bowel movements should not be dependent on caffeine stimulation.

Benefits of coffee

Caffeine has neuro- and hepatoprotective effects if consumption is moderate. It enhances concentration and memory.

"Caffeine blocks adenosine and directs the system toward a more energetic path. Coffee doesn't increase energy, it borrows it, altering the release time of adenosine, which later makes us feel tired. But it doesn't disappear, it will be released eventually," says the nutritionist.

She advises delaying the first coffee for 90-120 minutes after waking up. For those who find coffee too stimulating, compensating with an equal amount of water or preferably an electrolyte drink is recommended.

Who should avoid coffee

Holoborodko advises against morning coffee for those in a stressful state and those who regularly experience afternoon fatigue. This also applies to individuals with reflux. People who feel tremors, tachycardia, or have sleep problems after consuming coffee should refrain from it, too.

"To minimize the negative impact of coffee, consume it after a meal and add cream to it. Choose espresso over filter or cold brew, and don't let the ground beans steep for too long. The less the coffee touches the water, the less caffeine will be released. While the taste will remain unchanged," says the nutritionist.