As coffee is the most popular hot beverage worldwide, many people get curious about this topic at least once during their coffee drinking “careers.”
Is Coffee Good Or Bad For You?
Well, the answer to this question is - potentially both, but this depends on a number of factors. I personally have never had any health issues from consuming coffee, but as someone who is deeply passionate about this magical drink I’ve researched this matter a lot, and today I’ll present you what I found out. Enjoy!
Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
Luckily for us coffee geeks, numerous scientific studies have shown that coffee does indeed have a variety of benefits on the human body, mainly as prevention of certain neurological diseases. So let’s list out all the good things.
Coffee might reduce the risk of oral cancers. Adults who drank four or more cups a day have shown a 50% decrease in chance of getting throat and mouth cancer. The key beneficial ingredient here seems to be caffeine, as people who drank decaf didn’t show such good results.
Coffee can boost your mood! As if you already haven’t realized this. However, there is a more significant impact of this effect, as a study done in 2013 showed that caffeine (or coffee) decreases suicide risk by 45%. This applied to people who drank two to three cups a day.
Coffee might reduce the risk of Alzheimers and dementia. Folks who were drinking three to four cups of coffee (regular, not decaf) in the fourth and fifth decade of their lives showed that they were 70% less likely to get Alzheimer's disease in their 70’s. Also, some studies have found that regular coffee intake might decrease the rate of cognitive functions’ decline in elderly individuals.
Coffee might prevent you from getting type 2 diabetes. According to some researchers, regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it is also known that drinking coffee can raise blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Some medical professionals recommend drinking decaf instead of fully caffeinated, as it has less of an effect on people’s blood sugar.
Lower risk of stroke for older women is another advantage of drinking coffee. A 2011 study has shown that women who drank a cup or more daily had a 25% less chance of having a stroke.
Health Disadvantages Of Coffee
Coffee is a two-edged sword, and if your body doesn’t take it well, then, I’m afraid it is not the ideal drink for you. In this section, I will write about the negative effects of coffee on a person’s health.
Coffee might lead to spinal bone loss. This refers only to women post menopause who are consuming more than three cups a day and do not have a diet rich in calcium. To counteract the caffeine’s negative effects on the bones, women are recommended to intake at least 800 mg of calcium daily – through food and supplements.
People with a sensitive stomach might also have troubles with coffee. If you experience heartburn often it means that coffee is not for you, as it is highly acidic and will irritate your GI tract. Decaf has an even worse effect on this that regular coffee, so avoiding it altogether is the best solution. Also, those who have acid reflux should try to avoid coffee because caffeine can cause this problem.
Caffeine may lead to anxiety or even heart palpitations. In some extreme cases, coffee consumption has been linked to panic attacks. The reason for this is that a certain number of people have a higher sensitivity for caffeine compared to the rest of the population.
Coffee might disturb sleep cycles and cause insomnia. This may create a vicious cycle of sleepless nights and then tired waking states where one depends on caffeine for energy, even though it prevents them from sleeping properly.
People with type 2 diabetes may find it harder to regulate their insulin levels if they drink coffee, as it increases the blood sugar and can also raise blood pressure. If you happen to have problems with any of the latter but don’t want to give up coffee, try switching to decaf.
People who are (unfortunately) not able to drink coffee or who experience negative side effects from consuming it, might want to find an alternative. Coffee isn’t the only drink that can help you start your day, and luckily for you, there are plenty of other, healthy beverages to try out. Here are some of my main suggestions.
This is essentially a tea made from the leaves of a South American rainforest holly tree. It contains caffeine and is known providing the same “buzz” as coffee but without the “crash” that follows. This is a good thing! It can be prepared hot or cold, using a French press and in a few other ways. Yerba mate contains a lot of nutrients, so it is a healthy option for kick-starting your mornings.
Green tea needs no introduction. Even though it has caffeine, the amount of it in one cup of tea is much smaller than in a cup of coffee. It is packed with polyphenols and antioxidants which slow down cell degradation, and the amino acid L-theanine which helps you focus.
The bottom line that I can draw from all this information is that it’s all up to you and your body. While some can drink 5 cups per day and be perfectly fine, others will feel their heart pound after a few sips. The important thing is that you realize which category you fall into and know your tolerance. Remember, overdoing anything is bad, and the same rule goes for coffee.