How Coffee Affects Inflammation

Helper or pest?

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world. It is rich in many beneficial compounds that can help maintain optimum health and protect you from a number of dangerous diseases. Many are also convinced that coffee has the power to inhibit inflammatory processes in the body. Is it really so? We get to the bottom of this story.

Coffee contains a complex mixture of active compounds, including caffeine, chlorogenic acid (CGA), cafestol, trigonelline and cahvio. Decaffeinated coffee contains the same compounds, but contains almost no caffeine (except in very small doses). Studies show that coffee has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are likely to be beneficial to your health. Experts believe the presence of these compounds may explain why drinking coffee – regular or decaf – is often associated with a lower risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and possibly even certain types of cancer.

Current research shows that coffee can help reduce inflammation, at least in some people. In one study, respondents who drank coffee regularly had lower levels of inflammatory markers than those who did not drink coffee regularly. In another study, regular coffee drinkers had a 6% increase in inflammatory markers when asked to abstain from coffee for 1 month. In comparison, they experienced an 8-16% reduction in inflammatory markers when they were asked to consume about 0.9 or 1.9 litres of coffee per day for the same period of time. Moreover, a review of 15 studies of the effects of coffee, caffeine and other coffee-related components on inflammatory markers found that coffee consumption had a predominantly anti-inflammatory effect. However, some evidence suggests that coffee may increase inflammation in some people. Hence, individual differences in genetics or other factors are likely to influence these processes. Inflammation can lead to a variety of effects, including frequent infections, fatigue, pain and digestive problems. If you experience any of these while drinking coffee, try reducing your coffee intake.

So research shows that drinking coffee – even in small amounts – can help reduce inflammation. In turn, it may reduce the risk of certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and possibly even certain types of cancer. However, in some people, coffee can increase inflammation. If you suspect this is your case, consider reducing or limiting your coffee intake to assess whether this will improve your condition in any way.