Coffee: Properties and Benefits


Coffee is a drink with strong antioxidant properties. Its regular consumption brings innumerable health benefits. It is good for the heart and has anticancer properties

The coffee, the drink known to all for its stimulant properties, is prepared from the seeds of the fruits produced by the plant coffee. The plant belongs to the Rubiacee family and takes the name of Coffea.

Coffee: properties and benefits
Coffee: properties and benefits

The plant has small round and green berries which, when ripe, become bright red.

The A rabica grows between 1,000 and 2.000 meters above sea level, is very delicate, but has more properties organoleptic. The Canephora  instead, also known by the name of Robusta, is more resistant and grows at lower altitudes, between 150 and 600 meters. The most cultivated quality in the world is undoubtedly the Arabica one which represents about 75% of world production.


It seems that the first news of coffee comes from Ethiopia and precisely from the Kaffa plateau, from where the first coffee plant actually comes from. As for the drink, it has its origins in Yemen, around the year 1000.

It is one of the most consumed beverages in the world and is also a major source of caffeine for most populations. ( 1 )

The coffee roasted is a complex mixture of over 1,000 compounds bioactive. These have potentially therapeutic properties: antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that provide biological plausibility to recent epidemiological associations. ( 2 )

Recently, coffee has been recognized as an effective beverage for healthy aging. In particular with regard to diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and mild cognitive impairment. ( 34 )

There are also several human studies that have revealed that habitual intake of this drink reduces mortality from all causes. (5 )

Chemical Composition

Originally, in the state of grain, it contains many substances including proteins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates which, however, after roasting are drastically reduced until they almost disapper. However, it must be emphasized that what remains are substances with properties that are very useful to our body.

Chemical composition for 100 grams of espresso coffee
Water g 97,80
Protein g 0,12
Carbohydrates g 1,67
Fat g 0,18
Ashes g 0,23
Caffeine mg 212
Calcium mg 2
Copper mg 0,050
Iron mg 0,13
Magnesium mg 80
Manganese mg 0,050
Phosphorus mg 7
Potassium mg 115
Selenium mcg 0
Sodium mg 14
Zinc mg 0,05
B1 mg 0,001
B2 mg 0,177
B3 mg 5,207
B5 mg 0,028
B6 mg 0,002
Vitamin C mg 0,2
Vitamin E mg 0,01
Vitamin J mg 2,6
Vitamin K mcg 0,1
Folate mcg 1

Source: Nutrionvalue

Other substances contained in coffee are methionine and asparagine, which are two amino acids,phytosterols, terpenes, tannins, pectin and cellulose which are dietary fiber and volatile oils.

It also contains acids such as aspartic acid, citric acid, stearic acid, glutamic acid, acid linoleic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and oxalic acid.


100 grams of coffee have a caloric intake of 9 kcal.

Coffee: Properties and Benefits

Coffee: properties and benefits


It is one of the richest sources of natural substances with antioxidant properties. This is thanks to the abundance of chlorogenic acids and to the compounds deriving from roasting. It has been calculated that this drink contains more than 30 compounds with antioxidant activity. ( 6 )

A cup can contain from 200 to 550 mg of antioxidants, an important quantity that can bring different benefits to our body. ( 7 )

The green coffee beans contain large amounts of polyphenolic antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid, caffeic, ferulic and  n-coumarin. The roasting significantly alter the composition of the polyphenols due to the Maillard reaction.

A study conducted in Spain at the University of Pamplona argues that the antioxidant capacity of the coffee is 10 times higher than other beverages such as tea and wine. The study states that the type of coffee with the greatest antioxidant properties is the espresso.

Studies show that most people get more antioxidants from this drink than from fruits and vegetables together. ( 7 )


Some studies published by  Harvard School of Public Health report interesting properties of coffee. A study published in the May 2011 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says that drinking coffee regularly significantly decreases the risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer.

There are 2 other types of cancer that coffee can prevent, the colorectal cancer and the liver. The liver cancer is the third leading cause of death in the world while colorectal cancer is the fourth.

Research suggests that those who regularly drink this drink have a reduced risk of up to 40% developing liver cancer.

Another study carried out on more than 480,000 people showed that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 15%. ( 8 )

Another recent study reports that coffee compounds inhibit the growth of prostate tumor cells. ( 9 )

According to a 2016 study, coffee intake could reduce the incidence of colon cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, oral carcinoma, pharyngeal cancer and melanoma. ( 10 ) The researchers found that two compounds known as cafestol and kahweol, have anticancer properties. ( 1112 )


The depression is considered the leading cause  of disability worldwide, with over 300 million people affected. ( 13 ) The most severe forms of depression can lead to suicide. This is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15/29 years, with about 800.000 deaths each year. ( 14 )

Two recent studies have found an inverse association between the consumption of this drink and depression. ( 1516 )

A recent Chinese study states that caffeine consumption was significantly associated with a reduced risk of depression. ( 17 )

Drinking a few cups a day reduces the risk of suicide by 50%, both in women and in men. This is supported by a study by the Harvard School of Public Health , published in July 2013 in  The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. The drink would also seem to have antidepressant properties on women, reducing their risk by 20%.

Cerebral Decline

Coffee drinkers usually develop greater protection against diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and brain decline. Several studies show that those who regularly drink this drink has a lower risk of 65% of developing Alzheimer’s. ( 18 )

A study by the University of Finland also came to the same result. ( 19 )

Caffeine fights the action of free radicals, which, as we know, can be responsible for the onset of various diseases, even serious ones.


Parkinson’s Disease

The Parkinson’s disease is the second neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s in the world. The disease is caused by the death of dopamine-producing brain neurons. Studies have shown that those who drink coffee regularly have a lower risk of 32-60% of developing the condition. ( 202122 )

Benefits to the Heart

Consumption of this caffeinated beverage has always been associated with a lower risk of mortality due to cardiovascular, coronary and stroke diseases. Summary estimates indicate that the greatest risk reduction occurs with three cups a day. ( 23 )

A British study reports that coffee consumption reduces the risk of mortality in patients who have had a myocardial infarction. ( 24 )

According to another study the consumption of this drink is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke. ( 25 )

Protects the Liver

The liver is a vital organ that performs many functions in our body. There are several diseases that can attack the liver and lead to a condition of cirrhosis. From recent studies emerged that coffee drinkers are 80%  less likely to develop liver cirrhosis. ( 26 )

According to Chinese researchers, its consumption, both high and low, is associated with a lower risk of cirrhosis. ( 27 )


It helps to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood thus representing an aid to those suffering from type 2 diabetes. Diabetes currently affects around 300 million people worldwide.

The 2 diabetes is characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood due to a resistance to insulin or the inability to produce it. Studies show that regular coffee drinkers reduce the risk of developing diabetes from 23 to 50%. ( 28 )

According to a review of several studies, with a total of 450.000 examinees, one cup has been associated with diabetes risk reduction of 6%. ( 29 )

Researchers in China confirm that consumption of the drink is associated with a lower risk of diabetes. ( 30 )


In the coffee there are many components with diuretic properties (caffeine, theobromine, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and asparagine). These compounds are used to counteract water retention and therefore also used in slimming treatments. Moreover, thanks to the presence of methionine, coffee also has beneficial effects on the prevention of urinary tract infections.

Recall that, as with all foods with good properties, coffee is  beneficial only when taken in moderation.

Energy Levels

The drink can help people increase energy levels and feel less tired. After drinking coffeecaffeine is introduced into the bloodstream and is transported to the brain from there. In the brain, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine .

When this happens the amount of other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine increases. There are several studies that show how the properties of coffee improve different aspects of brain function. These include memory, reaction times, cognitive function, energy and mood. ( 31 )

Physical Performance

Even the physical performance they get the benefits after taking this drink. Several studies have shown that caffeine increases adrenaline levels in the blood. Adrenaline is a hormone involved in the fight or flight reaction, or its presence prepares the body for an imminent physical effort. ( 32 )

Caffeine degrades body fat and makes it available in the blood in the form of fatty acids that are made available as fuel. Scientific research suggests that caffeine improves physical performance by about 12%. ( 33 )

Coffee to Live Longer

Given that those who regularly take this drink are less likely to develop many diseases, it makes sense to say that coffee can extend life.

Two very important studies have shown that the drink is associated with a lower risk of death death. In men the risk is reduced by 20%, in women by 26%. ( 34 )


The caffeine is an alkaloid naturally present in 60 species different plants, including coffee, tea and cocoa. At room temperature it shows a solid white appearance and without any smell. Once taken our body takes a few hours to metabolize it.

If taken in moderate doses, caffeine has beneficial stimulating effects on the human body: it increases the ability to concentrate, memory and strange to say, even the state of mood.

Coffee beans: Properties and benefits

Caffeine Curiosity

The caffeine has properties stimulants that act on the nervous system by delaying the feeling of fatigue. For this reason it is called a drug and is used, together with other substances with similar characteristics, in the composition of energy drinks.

The caffeine content in coffee as a drink depends very much on the preparation method:

Espresso mg 110/150
Moka mg 90/130
American mg 70-90
Soluble mg 40/108

According to experts, the optimal consumption of caffeine per day is estimated at around 200-300 mg, therefore equal to 3, 4 cups in 24 hours. The amount of caffeine present in the coffee varies greatly depending on the blend you choose: in a 100% blend of Arabica we find an average of 1.5% caffeine, while in a robusta mixture the quantity rises to 3%.

The qualities currently marketed are two: Coffea Canephora and Coffea arabica.

It is said that the stimulant properties of coffee were first discovered by a Yemen shepherd. He observed the strange excited and restless behavior of his sheep and immediately after having consumed his berries.

Always starting from the assumption that it is always better not to overdo it, the experts suggest to set the maximum limit of coffee in the number of 4 cups per day.

A study conducted on pregnant women  has revealed that excessive intake during pregnancy can cause the fetus the same damage as alcohol and smoking.

For those who are afraid of gaining weight, remember that a cup of coffee brings only 1 calorie.

Maybe not Everyone Knows That

Although the various processing steps drastically decrease the presence of antioxidants, up to 90%, the remaining quantities are still highly respected. In 100 ml of coffee there is a presence of 250 mg of chlorogenic acids.

Represents one of the most consumed beverages in the world, worldwide, the average per capita is 7 kg, while in Italy it is about 6 kg.

Keep in mind that other foods and beverages in addition to coffee  may contain caffeine, such as chocolate, black tea, cola-based drinks and energy drinks.

Furthermore, caffeine is present in supplements, in some pain medication and in slimming products.


People who abuse coffee consumption daily can develop an addiction called ceffeinism whose symptoms are very similar to those of anxiety attacks: nervousness, headache due to abstinence, palpitations, insomnia, irritability and nervousness.

As for pregnant women, the issue is somewhat controversial. It is known that high doses of coffee can cause serious problems to the fetus and it is suspected that two or three cups a day may increase having a baby under birth weight.

For these reasons it is always better to consult a doctor on the possibility or not of drinking some coffee during pregnancy.

During breastfeeding, through the milk, the mother transfers caffeine to the baby and, in high doses, can be harmful. Also in this case medical consultation is necessary.

The coffee does not  should be drunk by those persons who have conditions which may be aggravated by its intake. Those who suffer from: should not drink it

  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Heart problems
  • Ulcer
  • Liver problems

Coffee: Properties and Benefits

Italian language version


This is not a medical newspaper, the information provided by this site is for informational purposes only and is of a general nature, it cannot in any way replace the prescriptions of a doctor or other health professionals authorized by law. The notions of dosage, medical procedures and product descriptions on this site have an illustrative purpose and do not allow to acquire the necessary experience and manual skills for their practice or their use. If you have been prescribed medical care I urge you not to interrupt or modify them, because all the suggestions you find on  must always and in any case be compared with the opinion of your doctor.

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