Neapolitan coffee and health

Article by Michele Sergio published in Il Roma on 03 June 2018

The times when Francesco Redi, a XVII century doctor and naturalist, wrote “I would drink the poison first, that a glass that was full, of the bitter and rude coffee”.

It may seem incredible but for a long time coffee was considered as a dangerous drink for human health and many scholars advised against drinking it. The “prohibition” of drinking coffee lasted until the greatest expert in jettatura of Naples, Nicola Valetta, was pronounced, who even praised its qualities in his apologetic song about coffee, in which he exceeded the theses of the Redi, claiming that, far from being harmful (in fact Valletta suggests drinking it even three times a day without risking blindness, loss of sleep and even teeth (!) as the Redi had claimed), was the best of drinks, that only benefited his drinker.

However, after centuries it has not yet been fully clarified what the benefits that infused black can bring to human health can be. We can say, however, without the theme of denial, that in the first place the alkaloid contained therein certainly contributes beneficial effects to the organism. You may be wondering what this mysterious alkaloid is, which in reality we all know by the name of caffeine, an organic substance of vegetable origin

Caffeine is the basis of coffee success due to the exciting effect it induces in humans. Neapolitan coffee contains a higher percentage because it is made with an aliquot of robust species that on average has a double amount of caffeine compared to the Arabica species. Hence the typical and appreciated stronger and more intense taste of our coffee.

But is it true that coffee “does go to the toilet” or is it a commonplace? In reality, coffee is a powerful stimulant of physiological functions, so to speak, primary. The natural acidity of the drink stimulates the digestive mechanism and the function of pushing towards the intestine, as well as the production of two hormones, gastrin and cholecystokinin, which promote the movements and regularity of the intestine.

Certainly not least is the significant benefit of coffee on our psyche. It is drunk, at many times during the day, during breaks, indeed it is the coffee itself that constitutes the pause, in the company of family, colleagues and friends, in a mental condition, therefore, ready to relax. Its assumption, as mentioned, is, then, exciting and stimulating and, therefore, encourages social relations, the exchange of ideas and opinions, provides the right charge to face the rest of the day. A true catalyst for the social instinct of the human being, it is also the necessary early morning company, the inevitable completion of a meal: in short, coffee is good for the body and the mind.