Is Coffee Good or Bad for You?
Coffee can sometimes get a bad reputation, but it can actually be very beneficial to your health. Like many foods and beverages, the overconsumption of coffee can become a problem that outweighs its benefits, so the key to getting the most out of your cup of joe is moderation.
The Good News
According to a 2015 study by the American Heart Association, moderate coffee consumption of 3-4 cups a day can help prevent a number of health issues, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease
- Colon, uterine and liver cancer
Harvard Health Publishing explains that we don't know the exact reason coffee seems to be beneficial, noting that caffeine could be a factor but many studies do not distinguish whether or not the coffee used was caffeinated or not.
Some of coffee's bad reputation stems from information that has now been ruled inaccurate. In fact, in 2016 the World Health Organization officially removed coffee from the list of known carcinogens and even went a step further to designate coffee as potentially protective against cancers in the uterus and liver. It can even help you live longer.
"The evidence is pretty consistent that coffee is associated with a lower risk of mortality," said Erikka Loftfield, a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute who has studied the beverage tells the New York Times.
The article goes on to reference a UK study from JAMA Internal Medicine that linked any kind of coffee consumption with this benefit: "It didn't matter if they drank one cup or chain-drank eight — regular or decaf — or whether they were fast metabolizers of coffee or slow. They were linked to a lower risk of death from all causes, except with instant coffee, the evidence was weaker."
The primary negative issue with coffee consumption comes with the side effects of caffeine. Though these are not high-risk side effects, they can be bothersome and interrupt your day-to-day life. Caffeine affects people in different ways and to varying degrees, so it's important to pay attention to your body, monitor how much you drink and adjust accordingly. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you might consider cutting back:
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased anxiety
- Muscle tremors
- Fast heartbeat
The Bottom Line: Enjoy your Java
Harvard Health Publishing concludes that although the evidence isn't enough to suggest you up your coffee intake solely for the health benefits, if you're already a coffee drinker, the science is in your favor. Learn more about how to manage your cardiovascular health here, or click the button below to find a Life Line Screening location near you.
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Note: If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before consuming caffeinated beverages like coffee.
American Heart Association: "Association of Coffee Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in 3 Large Prospective Cohorts"
Harvard Health Publishing: "The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee"
American Cancer Society: "World HealthOrganization says very hot drinks may cause cancer, but drops coffee from list of possible carcinogens"
The New York Times: "Is coffee good for you?"
Mayo Clinic: "Coffee: How much is too much?"