Espresso is a small cup of delicious energy most of us enjoy daily. It provides you with a boost you need in the morning, during a coffee break, in the afternoons, etc. But, is it safe for your health? Are there any downsides to consuming it regularly?
We covered all the health benefits and possible concerns around espresso. Keep reading to find out how much and how often can you enjoy it safely.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Let Us Define Espresso
Espresso is a highly concentrated type of coffee brewed using an espresso machine or another method such as a Moka pot. It is served as a strong, small shot and can be used as a base for a variety of beverages including cappuccinos and lattes, macchiato, americano, etc. It is mostly made out of high-quality Arabica coffee beans that give it a strong and rich flavor but you can make it using Robusta beans as well (the brew will have a bit more earthy flavor).
How Much Espresso Is Healthy?
There is a lot of benefits of drinking espresso but only if you consume it in moderation. How much is it? Keep in mind that FDA recommends that you consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine on a daily base, and no more. This means that you should not drink more than 6 shots a day (espresso is 1 fl oz). While this is a general recommendation, you might have less tolerance for caffeine or you might be able to withstand much more of it. The 7th espresso shot will not kill you (even though it is a higher dose than recommended) but if you do have a sensitive stomach, do not go overboard.
Benefits Of Consuming Espresso
Has Anti-Aging Effects
The antioxidants in espresso remove the toxins from the liver and slow down the aging process. By drinking espresso regularly, you can help to preserve your young appearance for a longer time.
The most common opinion is that espresso provides you with a boost of energy, and this is true. The energy kick comes from the caffeine in espresso that starts the dopamine in your brain. As a result, you can concentrate much better on your daily responsibilities. If you feel like you are low on energy in the morning, a shot of espresso can make a large difference in your productivity. Remember, concentration also depends on how much sleep you get during the night so be mindful of how much espresso you consume.
Improves Your Mood
Caffeine is a very powerful stimulant that boosts your brain activity. As a result, it takes the exhaustion away and stimulates you to do something productive. The caffeine molecules that bind to the dopamine receptors make you feel motivated and positive, meaning, it can even help with depression.
It Makes Your Teeth Less Adhesive
The most common question people have is whether espresso damages your teeth. The truth is that it does not as long as you do not brush them within the first 30 minutes of consuming the espresso. If you do brush them before the 30 minutes are up, the acidity from the brew can cause damage to your teeth. It is worth knowing that espresso has both antibacterial and anti-adhesive activity. This means that it can make your teeth much less adhesive to the bad bacteria.
Keeps Your Memory Strong
Not only does espresso keep you alert, but it also helps the brain to store information as well as to recall it. Again, this is all because of caffeine. It is a very powerful cognitive enhancer thanks to which you can remember things better and even strengthen the memories you have. For instance, if you drink espresso while studying for a test, you will have a better recollection of the information.
Boosts Physical Activity & Performance
A study has shown that espresso (again caffeine) increases adrenaline and noradrenaline levels in your body. While a single shot of espresso does not have as much caffeine as a single serving of drip coffee (this is because a shot of espresso is only 1 oz whereas drip coffee is served in an 8 oz cup), it will provide you with a much better boost of energy than drip coffee would. As a result, you become much more alert, have a higher heart rate, and your endurance levels spike up. Of course, it is important that you do not consume too much espresso as you will only end up jittery.
Aids in Weight Loss
Since by consuming espresso your physical activity and performance both get a high boost, you can spend much more time on your workouts. You can push harder without suffering any muscle sores. It can even help you feel less hungry. It is also worth knowing that espresso is super low on calories. This means that you can enjoy it even when on an exclusive diet. While this depends on what you add to your brew (i.e. milk, sugar, etc.), a straight espresso shot has only 3 calories.
If you ever have any trouble with digestion, a strong shot of espresso can come in handy. With its exceptional anti-inflammatory qualities, it can keep you from feeling bloated and get the digestive cycle going.
Reduces Chance Of Diabetes
Nowadays, when diabetes is becoming a more often disease both in younger and older populations it is good to know that espresso can help to reduce the chance of it (not prevent but reduce). A study shows that all those that consume espresso (caffeine) on a daily bases are up to 40% less likely to get type-2 diabetes. Although the reason why is not so clear, the correlation between the two is very strong.
Lowers The Risk Of Gout
While there still needs to be done some researches to confirm this theory, it is believed that espresso can lower the risk of gout too. This is because it is rich in chlorogenic acid. This is only when espresso is consumed in moderation. Too much espresso (caffeine) can even result in gout attacks.
Lowers The Risk Of Stroke, Cancer, And Premature Death
Those who drink espresso daily (in moderation) have a much lower risk of stroke than those who drink very little of it or do not consume it at all. Due to the high amount of antioxidants, espresso can lower the risk of cancer (again, lower the risk and not prevent it). It can reduce the possibility of liver cancer, mouth and throat cancers, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, and liver cancer. As we have established that espresso keeps versatile diseases at bay, consequently, it lowers the risk of premature death as well.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
We repeated this throughout the post: “as long as you drink espresso in moderation“. If you overindulge you can have versatile health problems including:
- weight gain – if you add any milk or cream to espresso it no longer helps you lose weight
- high LDL cholesterol – 3 to 5 cups a day lead to increased cholesterol levels both in men and women
- heartburn – in case you are sensitive to caffeine espresso may be too hard on your stomach
- fast heart rate – to avoid this you can opt for a decaf version
- insomnia and headache – too much caffeine keeps you awake
- dehydration and dizziness
- anxiety and panic attacks
- addiction to caffeine – once you get used to caffeine you will need more of it to function properly
FAQ: Espresso And Possible Health Concerns
Now that we covered all the benefits and downsides of consuming espresso regularly, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Is Espresso Healthier Than Other Brews?
Yes, it is. A latte can have as many as 110 to 200 calories (depending on how you make it) whereas a single shot of espresso has only 3 calories. Cappuccino is pretty much the same as a latte, so you should also avoid it in the afternoons.
Can I Drink Espresso Every Day?
Yes, espresso can be a part of your everyday routine as long as you do not overindulge.
Can You Drink It On An Empty Stomach?
The fact is that most of us do, and if you love espresso, you probably do too. Even though there are many myths about consuming espresso on an empty stomach, the truth is that none have been proven. It has the same effect no matter when and how you drink it.
When Should You Drink It?
Espresso is often consumed after a meal as it helps to overcome the sleepy feelings we often get from overindulging in food. It can also start your digestion, meaning, you won’t feel as bloated.
Can You Drink It At Night?
You can, but this is not something we recommend (especially for those who are sensitive to caffeine). This is for a very simple reason, you will not be able to fall asleep because you will become alert all of a sudden.
How Long Does It Take For Espresso To Kick In?
You might notice the effects of espresso only after 10 minutes. But, for the caffeine concentration to peak in the blood, at least 45 minutes need to pass after consumption.
Can You Get Addicted To Espresso?
Well, not espresso per se. However, caffeine, the stimulant in espresso, is known to be addictive. This means that you will not be able to function properly and do your daily chores without it.
How Strong Is A Shot Of Espresso?
A single shot of espresso can have anywhere from 30 to 50 mg of caffeine. Now, if you drink two, three, or four shots a day… As long as you do not consume more than 400 mg of caffeine a day, there is no need to worry?
How Long Does The Caffeine Last In Your Body?
Now, an average adult person will break down about half the amount of caffeine after 5 to 6 hours. This is considered to be the half-life of caffeine.
What Are The Signs Of Caffeine Withdrawal?
The main five signs of caffeine withdrawal are:
- difficulty concentrating
- drowsiness and fatigue
- flu-like symptoms including vomiting, nausea, muscle pain
- dysphoric moods such as irritability and depression
To Wrap It Up
There you have it. Now that you know all about the benefits of drinking espresso we are sure that you won’t feel guilty drinking your next shot. A morning cup will give you the needed energy boost and help you get through all your daily tasks. As is the case with everything, you should not overindulge in it because too much caffeine might make you feel jittery or cause anxiety and panic attacks. As long as you consume it in moderation, you can look forward to your next shot.