I love coffee. It is part of my morning routine and sometimes in the afternoons for a treat. I will drink it either hot – black, no sugar please! – or iced – cream only. I love coffee so much, my home office is “coffee” themed with artwork and a collection of my favorite coffee mugs. I have a bit of an addiction with coffee mugs too. As I said, I love coffee!
How Healthy is Coffee?
That being said, coffee has been the butt of innumerable jokes and is often connected with negative emotional and physical side-effects. This beverage has been accused of increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as raising cholesterol and blood pressure. So you may be wondering, how healthy is coffee? But coffee may not be all bad. While there is still enough evidence to mandate moderation, modest amounts of this potent brew might just provide some positive health benefits.
The Contents of Coffee
Mention the word “coffee” and most people will instantly think of caffeine. While caffeine is present in large proportions, there’s more to coffee than just the caffeine. Coffee contains antioxidants, chlorogenic acid, tocopherols, minerals, and trigonelline. All of these compounds have positive benefits. Quinones, one of the antioxidants found in coffee, is attributed to increased insulin sensitivity.
Other antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and liver cancer according to studies appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Archives of Internal Medicine. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to reduce glucose concentrations. Tocopherols and the mineral magnesium both aid in insulin sensitivity, while trigonelline seems to contain both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties.
Coffee does contain many compounds besides caffeine, but surprisingly the caffeine in coffee may also offer some health benefits as well. An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 85 mg of caffeine, enough to make some people think twice before consuming even a single cup.
But that caffeine may in fact be related to coffee’s positive impact on reducing the risk of Parkinson’s and even for reducing headaches and asthma-related symptoms. Caffeine has even been proved to boost energy levels and aid in athletic performance.
How Coffee May Improve Health
Recent coffee may not be all bad. seem to suggest that coffee may help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The presence of certain chemicals in coffee may in fact help to lower blood sugar and even boost resting metabolic rate, both helpful in combating diabetes. This evidence was supported by a Dutch study and further corroborated by research conducted by the American Medical Association, which suggested that the presence of antioxidants and chlorogenic acid were instrumental in the reduced risk.
The statistics are nothing to laugh at: six or more cups of coffee lowered the risk by 54% in men and 30% in women. However, that’s only the beginning. Other studies have revealed that regular consumption of coffee may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s, various types of cancer, liver cirrhosis, and gallstones. In addition to this, coffee may help to manage asthma, headaches, prevent cavities, and improve moods.
The Negative Impact of Coffee
With all these positives, it’s important to keep in mind that coffee still raises some red flags. Some research suggests that coffee, even decaffeinated, is attributed to raising cholesterol levels and factoring into artery-clogging.
Studies have shown that coffee decreases blood flow to the heart and increases blood pressure and homocysteine levels. Excessive coffee consumption can produce side-effects including headaches, increased irritability and nervousness, and sleeplessness. And most health professionals recommend that individuals with heart conditions, osteoporosis, and pregnant women stay away from coffee.
The verdict is still up for grabs. Is coffee something to avoid? Despite the possible negative implications, most health professionals suggest that consuming coffee in moderation will have no negative impact.
Just be reminded that moderation is the key. Excessive amounts of any consumable is unwise. So enjoy your morning, afternoon, or evening cup of coffee with a guilt-free conscience; just take it easy on the sugar and creamer.