Coffee Consumption and Health Impacts: A Brief History of Changing Conceptions
Scientific understandings of how coffee affects health have been closely linked to the moral and political discourses of the changing times. Inquiries into coffee began in the 16th century, as Europeans wrestled with understanding the effects of this newly introduced beverage. These early studies built on the nascent fields of chemistry and physiology to examine how coffee stimulated the body. Coffee invoked strong scientific and moral opinions about its effects, and its portrayal in the literature has swung from seeing it as the cause of a variety of conditions to seeing it as a potential cure for an equally impressive range of ailments. Most recent studies on the bioactivity of coffee emphasize its salubrious potential, and popular opinion and health promotion policies are changing their recommendations accordingly.