1. Coffee is a psycho-stimulant that predominantly effects upon cerebral cortex. This means that it improves mental and physical performance, one’s mood and motor activity. Hence one may conclude that coffee is indicated for those involved in intensive mental work. Besides it causes vascular distention in muscles and brain and increases concentration of glucose in the blood due to glycogen disassimilation – the mix that is irreplaceable for one’s long “sedentary” work.
Though those suffering from diabetes might be careful and not be much enthusiastic about drinking caffeine-containing beverages.
2. Coffee acts as analeptic (from Greek analepsis – improvement, restoration). In pharmacology this name is referred to the group of medications that are able to rehabilitate processes in central nervous system after the organism’ exposure to toxic agents, drugs and hypnotics. Their action is based upon excitation of the vasomotor, respiratory and motor centers. As well as oppressed centers’ recovery to their normal (!) level.
Coffee enhances excitation processes and facilitates the process of nerve impulse transmission, shortening the response period.
It is also believed that one and the same dosage of coffee in different ways affects people with different types of nervous system (strong or weak): some of them after one cup of coffee feel nothing and remain “stone-cold sober”, some have their mood perked up, while others get tachycardia and super-excitation followed by over-exhaustion.
The analysis of all above-drawn tells us that “it’s all about the dose” that matters.
Subject to correct dosage coffee will efficiently stimulate excitation processes notwithstanding the type of one’s nervous system. It’s just that for a person with initially weak excitation processes the dosage should be less than for a person whose nervous system provides for strong excitation processes.
Moreover, if you feel like being subject to neurosis, especially the one with predominance of nervous system’ inhibitory processes (for instance, hypohondriacal neurosis accompanied by apathy and the feeling of indifference to everything happening around) a cup of coffee (or another dosage you find fit for yourself) will help to get the available potential engaged and will become a kind of impetus for getting out of a critical situation.
The only case when you should be careful and keep yourself from overdose is when you have a weak and high-strung nervous system that is not balanced by inhibitory processes.
3. Coffee has a curious effect upon the digestive tract. I have often noticed this drink to be by intuition taken by people whose bile passages problems (spasms, some functional disorders that prevent proper excretion of bile) begin to take shape. Here, coffee turns out to relax the smooth muscles of bile passages thus facilitating the involvement of “lazy” gall bladder into action.
In addition to this coffee stimulates the secretion of gastric juice, and this is why while searching through Internet you might come across the chills warning you against drinking this African liquid, saying that otherwise gastritis will be your only chance here. But why would it? You can act wiser. If you initially suffer from some superacidity, you can take coffee as “aperitif”, especially prior to taking the food with much protein, so that its digestion will be fast and efficient. Or you can take a cup of coffee with a banana – this product contains much starchy substances that will minimize the irritant effect of coffee on your gastric mucosa.
It should be noted that coffee facilitates abdominal cavity vasoconstriction that may result in poor absorption of the products of digestion in one’s small intestine.
But let us not take information superficially and try to figure it all out.
So, we have taken a cup of coffee and eaten something. Out of reflex, the secretion of gastric juice will increase (the small and medium-dosed intake of caffeine that comes as one of the key “coffee” substances stimulates the centers of nervus vagus). In this way the digestion of food shall be more effective. The vessels of the abdomen and intestinal tract are supposed to narrow, but so far it does not make any decisive effect upon the process of digestion.
The maximum blood concentration of coffee shall occur in 30-60 minutes after you’ve taken it, provided that you drank coffee with your stomach not filled with food. Normally, it takes the starchy foods ca. 1 hour for its digestion by the stomach, while in case of proteins the time will be ca. 2 – 2.5 hours.
Thus it means that by the time when caffeine concentration in blood recedes, the food will “manage” to pass through the stomach and will come to the intestinal stage of the digestion process exactly at the time when the intestine blood vessels will recover their initial tone. In this way the tone effect that coffee has on blood vessels does not prevent the absorption of food from the intestine.
Another important resume is that one should better take coffee as aperitif rather than while taking food or after it, especially if the food is made of easily digested carbohydrates.
4. Coffee acts as antispasmodic substance in respect of the bronchi, that is why it can be efficiently used when treating colds.
5. The effect of coffee concerning the blood pressure is very curious – if dealing with “ad hoc drop”, coffee will help restoring it to normal level, and when it is initially normal, the intake of coffee will either show no change at all or will cause a slight rise.
In case you suffer from hypertension you should be really careful since the processes of the vascular tone regulation are impaired and the response of the organism on your caffeine intake will not always be clear.
6. In small doses coffee has a direct stimulatory effect on the myocardium and relaxes coronary blood vessels. That is, it “feeds” the cardiac muscle. However in case of overdose such useful effect will turn into excessive reflex overload causing tachycardia and arrhythmia. One of the mechanisms is the adrenaline release from the depot.
7. Since coffee dilates muscular blood vessels, it will be helpful to drink coffee if you are likely to have delayed onset muscles soreness after physical exercises – the effect will in some way resemble that of sauna or massage: due to a more intensive blood flow the lactic acid will be faster in leaving the muscles tissue so that its normal metabolism will be restored.
Yoga Instructor, Yoga-Therapist