Is Coffee Good Or Bad For Your Health?
Is Coffee really good for you? Will you ignore the answer if turns out it’s not?We all cherish our morning cup of joe. If you are among the millions of devout coffee lovers, you know how precious that morning coffee ritual is.
The aroma of fresh brewed coffee awakens the senses. The play of flavors tantalizes your tongue as you take that first sip. Your body and mind perk up as you get ready to step into the day ahead, sipping on that beloved cup of Jo. That simple cup of coffee becomes the keystone to start your day off right. With all of its popularity (did you know that there are over 2 billion cups of coffee consumed DIALY!?), coffee has gotten a bad rap over the years, but is it true? Is it bad for your health? Or is it possible that your beloved cup of morning coffee is actually good for you? Let’s take a closer look.
Is Caffeine Bad for You?
It appears that the main reason for coffee’s bad rap is due to health concerns related to caffeine. In moderation, caffeine is fairly safe. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult can drink about four 8 ounce cups of coffee a day with little risk. Children should avoid caffeine (this includes caffeinated sodas), and adolescents should have a much more limited amount of caffeine. As an adult, unless you have a sensitivity to caffeine or are on certain medications, you’re pretty safe having a few cups of coffee each day.
Large amounts of caffeine, however, can lead to some medical concerns that you should be mindful of.
- Among these include insomnia, irritability, dehydration, restlessness, increased stress, decreased bone density (leading to osteoporosis) stomach issues, high blood pressure, and nervousness.
- Caffeine reduces blood flow to the brain, which causes headaches.
- Consumption by pregnant women has also been connected to lower birth rates.
- You may develop a caffeine addiction, which will lead to withdrawal symptoms when caffeine intake is reduced or stopped – these include headaches, depression, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty concentrating. If you experience these symptoms when you don’t have your morning coffee, you may want to look at gradually decreasing your caffeine intake and eventually switch over to decaf.
But it’s not all bad news, coffee lovers!
Studies have shown some positive health benefits associated with caffeine and coffee, too.
Benefits of Drinking Coffee
Many studies have been done that evaluate coffee consumption and its impact on a number of health conditions. The results have been very positive in many areas. Current research does not show conclusive evidence that coffee actually prevents these diseases, but they are seeing a strong correlation between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of certain health problems. Caffeine appears to play a direct role in some of these, while others seem to be specific to coffee – high test or decaf.
- Did you know that coffee has vitamins, minerals and is high in antioxidants? It contains a number of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and chromium. It is actually higher in antioxidants than many fruits and veggies. Although not yet conclusive, scientists believe that these all play an important part in coffee’s health benefits. Do you really need to take multivitamins anyways?
- Studies have consistently shown the caffeine is related to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine may also help control movement (shakes) in a person with Parkinson’s disease. They have also shown a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in coffee drinkers – up to 65%.
- Caffeine stimulates brain function and dopamine production, helping to boost concentration and focus.
- Studies have shown that drinking coffee may prevent Type II Diabetes. Participants in the studies showed a 28-35% reduced risk of developing diabetes regardless of other risk factors. High antioxidants help reduce tissue damage, and magnesium and chromium support the body’s use of insulin. Coffee is rich in all of these.
- Caffeine also reduces inflammation, which can help prevent certain types of heart conditions.
- Type II Diabetes contributes to the risk of heart attack and stroke – the reduced risk of diabetes associated with drinking coffee also reduces these risks. A reduced risk of heart arrhythmia is also linked to coffee consumption. One study showed that women who drank two or more cups of coffee a day showed a reduced risk of stroke regardless of other common risk factors (high blood pressure and cholesterol).
- Coffee consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of cirrhosis in the liver and liver cancer.
- Trying to watch your weight? Black coffee is super low calorie – even adding a moderate amount of sugar and half and half can keep your drink under a 100 calories (get into the sugary fancy drinks and that’s a whole different story). Caffeine is a stimulant and can boost your metabolism and help burn more fat.
Coffee – Good or Bad?
Overall, research shows that there is a bit of both good and bad when it comes to coffee and your health. As with everything it all has to do with moderation.
As you can see, there are a number health benefits associated with drinking coffee – and many health risks. The good news is that most adults can drink coffee in moderation with relatively low risk. Each body is different. Sensitivities, medication and certain medical conditions may affect what is or is not safe for your body.
If you are an avid coffee drinker, you will want to watch out for the risks and not just focus on the benefits. If you are having sleep issues, high blood pressure, high stress and anxiety, signs of caffeine addiction, or other health problems, you will want to reduce or eliminate your caffeine intake. Luckily, if you love coffee, you can still enjoy a hot cup of decaf AND get the wonderful health benefits that coffee offers without the negative impact of caffeine.
Health Coach Drew
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