How Coffee Can Undo The Damage Of Heavy Drinking

Monday, March 30, 2015

The healthy properties of coffee have been very well documented over the last decade.

Here on the Cafe2U Blog, for instance, we’ve explored how drinking coffee regularly can help you protect against tinnitus, lose weight, reduce the risk of getting dementia, protect against diabetes, and even make you happier and more successful in life.

(Proof, if it were need, to justify all of our coffee addictions here in the Cafe2U office!)

And now a recent report has strongly indicated that a regular coffee intake can help protect against liver cancer, a disease which is all too common in heavy drinkers and alcoholics.

Globally, according to World Health Organisation figures, liver cancer has been one of the five most common sites of cancer diagnosed in men in 2012.

What’s more, in the same year, liver cancer was responsible for over 745,000 deaths around the world.


The findings

This new study, which was conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund, found that for each cup of coffee consumed per day there is approximately a 14% decreased risk of getting liver cancer.

To make its conclusion, the report analysed 34 studies - covering a total of 8.2million people of whom more than 24,500 had liver cancer.

However the report, which, two years ago, drew on the same information used to show that drinking coffee could also reduce the risk of getting womb cancer, did not recommend the amount of coffee we should be drinking.

And although these recent findings show that drinking coffee can potentially undo the damage caused by alcohol abuse, the World Cancer Research Fund, or the WCRF for short, made it clear that despite these protective qualities of coffee drinking just three alcoholic drinks every day may be enough to cause liver cancer.

The World Cancer Research Fund went on to estimate that, “The increase in risk per 10g of alcohol consumed – around one alcoholic drink – is about 4 per cent”.

The WCRF recommends that women should attempt to limit their alcohol intake to just one drink per day and men to just two.

Over to you

What do you think about this recent report and the many healthy properties of coffee?

Will it encourage you to drink more?

Remember to get in touch with us here at Cafe2U with your comments and questions.

Why not drop us an email or contact us on Facebook or Twitter!

How Caffeine Really Works

Thursday, March 19, 2015

We’re all more than familiar with coffee – and if you’re reading this blog then chances are you probably love your morning brew just as much as we do here at Café2U.

We revere coffee and its magical properties that help us wake up in the morning and get through arduous tasks.

But how many of us really know what happens in our bodies after we take that first glorious sip?

What does caffeine really do to us?


Well, to start with the basics, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant.

This means that by ingesting caffeine you will experience symptoms such as alertness, improved concentration, a quickened heartbeat, or the jitters.

However, all of these symptoms can essentially be explained as a kind of ‘chemical trick’…

Adenosine & Cell Activity

It all starts with a chemical in our cells called adenosine which supresses arousal and promotes sleep.

This substance causes cell activity to slow down by binding itself to certain receptors in the brain.

However, because caffeine is very similar to adenosine, these receptors can be fooled and bind to caffeine instead, which leads to less adenosine binding and, in turn, accelerates cell activity.

This increase in cell activity causes the pituitary gland to assume there is an emergency and it will tell the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone responsible for your extra energy and fast heartbeat.

The body will also release dopamine which is another stimulating hormone.

So, essentially what all this means is that caffeine – our beloved caffeine – is not the real stimulant at work when we drink a cup of coffee.

In actuality, it just tricks your body into releasing more of its own natural stimulants.

Caffeine Tolerance

The brain soon picks up on this ‘trick’ that caffeine plays and, as a response, increases the number of adenosine receptors in the body.

Thus the body develops a tolerance for caffeine.

This increase in adenosine receptors also explains why caffeine addicts experience a withdrawal when they don’t get their regular caffeine hit, as the brain becomes overloaded with adenosine from all the extra adenosine receptors.

Signing Off

So, there we have it, an explanation of what caffeine really does to your body when you drink coffee.

The next time you stop by your local Cafe2U coffee shop or coffee van, make sure you wow your fellow coffee addicts with some of this science.

And if you have any comments or questions – be sure to get in touch with us!

The Science Behind A Cup Of Coffee – Caffeine & Trigonelline

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Coffee is without doubt one of the nation’s favourite beverages – but how many of us actually know about the chemistry that goes into making a delicious brew?


Indeed, although producing a cup of coffee might seem like a quick and simple task – there is a surprising amount of science going on behind the scenes.

And it has only been in recent years that scientists around the world have begun to unlock the scientific secrets present in coffee beans, for there are thousands of compounds which work together to give coffee its unique properties.

It is these many complex compounds that are behind the intricate flavour of coffee.

Some of these compounds are naturally present in the coffee beans while others are created during the chemical reaction when coffee beans are roasted.  

(As Walter White says, “Chemistry is, well technically, chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change.”)

Of these compounds, perhaps the most important are called alkaloids.


One of the most important alkaloids goes by the name of 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine… or caffeine.

A typical cup of coffee (200ml) will contain around 50 to 75 milligrams of caffeine, although this will vary depending on the type of coffee bean (for instance Robusta coffee contains almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica) and the method of preparation.

Caffeine, which evolved in plants as a defence mechanism (it’s toxic to fungi and insects), is absorbed rapidly by humans and is distributed throughout the body in under an hour.

During the three hour biological half-life of caffeine, it acts as a cardiac muscle stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant and central nervous system stimulant.

Caffeine stimulates neurons and also acts as a diuretic, stimulates gastric acid secretions and increases plasma glucose and free fatty acid concentrations.


Another alkaloid present in coffee beans which is less well known than caffeine is trigonelline.

Trigonelline, which is present in a lower concentration than caffeine, produces the flavour of coffee that we know and love – that is, the sweet, caramel and earthy aromas of roasted beans.

This flavour is produced during roasting when 60pc of trigonelline decomposes and forms carbon dioxide, water and aromatic compounds called pyridines.

Researchers have also discovered that trigonelline prevents certain acids adhering to teeth, and so can reduce tooth decay.

Signing Off

So, there we have it, two important compounds – or alkaloids if you’ve been paying attention to this article – that go into making coffee such a special drink.

Remember, if you have any comments or questions, remember to get in touch with us here at the Cafe2U blog.