Many of us start our day with a freshly brewed coffee but this most popular of beverages has sparked numerous health debates over the years.
Among the many questions that percolate around our favorite brew, one resurfaces with remarkable consistency:
“Is Coffee bad for us or can coffee be healthy for you?”
Let’s dive into scientific research about delicious bean juice and try to uncover the truth.
Magic Coffee Beans: The Health Benefits of Coffee Drinking
Contrary to what many people believe, coffee isn’t just a caffeine delivery system. As well as being a wake-up call for our senses it’s also packed with antioxidants and other naturally beneficial nutrients.
Some research even suggests that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of several health conditions. Coffee consumption has been linked to reduced cancer risk, reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and lower risk of Type 2 diabetes!
Intriguingly, it is believed coffee might boost metabolism and enhance physical performance by mobilizing fatty acids from the fat tissues. This is due in part to the efficient delivery of the caffeine payload.
Coffee also contains essential nutrients like vitamins B2, B3, and B5, along with manganese and potassium.
While a single cup might not provide huge amounts of these beneficial nutrients, coffee is a delicious way to give yourself a significant boost if you are lacking them in your system.
Black Coffee for Weight Loss
Black coffee is often a go-to drink for people who are looking to lose weight due to the super-low calorie count. The USDA says that one cup of regular black coffee brewed from ground coffee beans contains two calories. One shot of black espresso contains only one calorie!
You can even get the dietary calories in your coffee down to zero if you make your coffee from decaffeinated beans.
Even more compelling, apparently coffee contains something called chlorogenic acid, which is believed to promote weight loss. A drink of black coffee after eating can slow down glucose production and the formation of new fat cells, leading to fewer calories stored in the body.
Is Drinking Coffee Daily Bad for Heart Health?
Many people have concerns about the effects of coffee and caffeine on heart health, but the British Heart Foundation says four or five cups of coffee a day should be fine for most people.
A recent study has linked coffee to LDL cholesterol but concluded heart diseases
the BHF also says that a reasonable amount of coffee should not adversely affect your cholesterol levels.
Their research shows that this moderate level of caffeine intake shouldn’t be damaging to your heart, heart rate, or heart rhythm.
Another recent study even implies that caffeine reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart failure, perhaps coffee could have a protective effect:
“The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising,”Dr. David Kao
So Coffee is Good for You?
While we have found that your daily cup of coffee may be packed to the brim with nutrients boasting potential health benefits, it’s not without its caveats.
Consuming too much caffeine can lead to negative side effects such as restlessness, insomnia, heart palpitations, and even digestive problems.
How much is too much? According to the FDA you should consume no more than 400 mg per day.
In addition to the caffeine side effects, adding sugar, dairy-based creamer, or flavored sweet syrups to your coffee can stack up the additional calories, possibly contributing to excess weight gain over time.
For folks with certain health conditions or chronic diseases, acid reflux, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, people at risk of heart disease, or if you are managing your blood sugar levels, you might need to limit coffee intake as well.
Coffee and Sweeteners
Aspartame and other popular sweeteners might reduce the calorie count but have been the cause for a lot of worry around increased risk of Alzheimer’s, liver cancer and fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, prostate cancer, risk of stroke, and ultimately the risk of death.
Cancer Research UK and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), however, say in the quantities likely to be consumed there is no cause for concern.
Bottom Line: Coffee Consumption Conclusion
So, is coffee healthy for you or is coffee bad to drink? Like many things when it comes to your health and nutrition, the answer is “it depends”.
There certainly seem to be many positive effects of caffeine and coffee consumption along with some potential downsides.
Part of this of course is what type of coffee do you habitually drink?
- Are you adding syrups, dairy creamers, and such in your coffee or drinking black coffee?
- Are you drinking decaffeinated coffee or caffeinated coffee?
- When you grab a brew, is it a double espresso or are you chugging an XL big gulp from your local donut store?
- Do you add sugar or sweeteners?
As you probably anticipated, yes coffee can be a part of a healthy diet, and there are a lot of perks that come with drinking it, but also no, drinking lots and lots of dark elixir won’t make you super healthy.
The key is to understand your own body and how it responds. Check-in with your nervous system. A cup or a few coffees could indeed be a part of your health-focused lifestyle, but monitor your intake and limit the extra additions.
We are talking about drinking a beverage rather than binging on your twelfth sugary dessert in a cup!
And remember, if you have any specific health concerns, it’s always best to get professional medical advice. Consult with your doctor, a nutritionist, a registered dietitian, or other healthcare providers for advice and peace of mind.
FAQs: Coffee and Your Health
How much coffee is safe to consume in a day?
For most healthy adults, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine (roughly four 8 oz cups of coffee) is considered safe.
Is decaf coffee healthier than regular coffee?
Decaf coffee has most of the same health benefits as regular coffee but with less caffeine. It’s a good choice for those sensitive to caffeine.
Does coffee dehydrate you?
While coffee is a mild diuretic (meaning it can increase urine output), moderate intake won’t significantly dehydrate you.
Can pregnant women drink coffee?
Best to stick to decaf. Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day, equivalent to a 12-ounce cup of coffee.
Can kids or teenagers safely drink coffee?
It’s generally recommended that kids limit caffeine consumption as it can interfere with sleep, cause anxiety and other side effects.
Is brewing coffee better for you than espresso-based drinks?
It really depends on what you take with your coffee, such as creamer and sweeteners. If we focus purely on caffeine content, a double-shot latte has 150 milligrams of caffeine due to the espresso having roughly 75mg each, whereas a travel-sized mug of ground coffee could contain roughly 23.4 mg of caffeine per ounce or up to a total of 375 mg of caffeine.