General Question

auhsojsa's avatar

When one says that coffee acts as an inflammatory what are they talking about?

Asked by auhsojsa (2511 points ) January 27th, 2012

I know that coffee contains caffeine and some anti-oxidants (correct me if I’m wrong!) but is it worth those benefits if overall it’s an inflammatory? What parts of the body are affected?

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6 Answers

Moegitto's avatar

Funny thing, is that you wouldn’t use the coffee in the way you may be thinking. The best way to use it as an anti-inflammatory is to wrap some coffee grinds in a paper towel, wet it with hot water and sit it on top of your swollen body part. The “Diet” that some people use that involves drinking tons of coffee is what you may be referring to, but it’s been proven to not be effective in helping inflammation. Coffee works the same way as using a tea bag on a sore leg, that’s the reason why you would wrap the grinds in a napkin. It’s the antioxidants that heal the body, the skin absorbs it.

thorninmud's avatar

The inflammation response is how the body reacts to illness or injury. It’s detectable by the presence of certain chemical markers in the blood. Studies have shown that drinking coffee can make these markers appear, so in some way the body is reacting as if it’s been injured. The worry seems to be that this inflammatory response will have deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system over time.

auhsojsa's avatar

@thorninmud Are these “markers” also present during being, “heated/pissed off/in dangerous situation” like when someone is about to fight. That adrenaline boost.

thorninmud's avatar

@auhsojsa The inflammatory markers are proteins that are typically present in the system anyway, but that go way up in response to injury. The “fight or flight” chemicals are hormones, not proteins.

BhacSsylan's avatar

small note from the biochemist, proteins can be hormones. However ephedrine, aka adrenaline, is not a protein.

As to the question, while it has been linked to those markers, an actual effect has not really been seen. There is no major link to coronary heart disease, which would be expected in the coffee was causing major inflammation. Also, coffee has been linked to beneficial effects when taken in moderation (less then 4 cups per day, which is still quite a bit), and this is looking at overall systemic effects, which means that if there was an increased risk of problems linked to the inflammation markers, it would have been seen.

However, this was also, if memory serves, an epidemiological study, and so confounding factors are rife. However, there still is little to no evidence to suggest any major harmful effects as long as the coffee consumption is not excessive.

snowberry's avatar

Alternative medicine people will tell you that drinking coffee as a stress reducer is a dubious concept. The beneficial effects of coffee is best used in an enema.

Perhaps the original poster is referring to this NY Times article. The article refers to studies that support the anti-inflammatory idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/15/health/nutrition/15coff.html

@Moegitto I’ve not heard of it being used in a poultice.

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