Is Drinking Coffee Good for You?

Is Drinking Coffee Good for You large

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Whether percolated at home, guzzled on your way to work, or sipped at a sidewalk café, coffee is an important part of life for many Americans. According to the National Coffee Association, more than 60 percent of Americans drink coffee daily, averaging more than three cups a day.

But the questions persist: Can all that coffee possibly be good for you? According to medical research, the answer is a qualified ‘yes.’

Just remember – coffee, like all good things, is best enjoyed in moderation.

First, the Bad News

Drinking coffee – caffeine in particular – has its risks. Side effects of consuming caffeine include:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Nervousness
  • Jitters
  • Anxiousness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dehydration

Coffee can also affect your health by:

  • Interacting negatively with some medications, including thyroid medication, psychiatric and depression drugs, the antibiotic Cipro and the heartburn drug Tagamet
  • Raising blood sugar levels (on a short-term basis), making it harder for those with type 2 diabetes to manage their insulin
  • Slightly raising blood pressure
  • Contributing to osteoporosis (bone loss) in postmenopausal women, especially if they drink more than three cups (300 mg of caffeine) a day, but don’t get enough calcium in their diet
  • Worsening acid reflux or heartburn
  • Leading to caffeine addiction (making it hard to break the coffee habit)

On the Other Hand: The Good News

Is Drinking Coffee Good for You small

Several studies conducted by some of the nation’s leading medical researchers have found that biologically active compounds in coffee (including antioxidants) offer some health benefits. They may reduce the occurrence of a number of diseases and conditions, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and ALS)
  • Chronic liver diseases
  • Gallstones
  • Cavities
  • Suicide

In addition, there’s no scientific evidence indicating that coffee is linked to:

Even more heartening is a recent study by the National Cancer Institute and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that followed 400,000 men and women ages 50 to 71 for more than 10 years. It found that those who regularly drank coffee (either decaf or regular) had a lower risk of overall death than did nondrinkers. In particular, coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, the report said.

So What’s a Java Lover To Do?

Everyone’s body metabolizes (breaks down) caffeine differently; some react more quickly and strongly to caffeine than others. Researchers and physicians recommend:

  • Limiting your caffeine intake to no more than three to four cups of coffee a day, and stopping by early to mid-afternoon to help ensure a good night’s sleep
  • Slowly weaning yourself off of coffee if you decide that you want to quit the habit. Withdrawing from caffeine isn’t dangerous, but it can result in headaches, fatigue, and mental fog.
  • Limiting or avoiding caffeine if you’re pregnant
  • Skipping caffeine altogether if you suffer from:
    • Jitters, nervousness, trembling, irritability, or sleeplessness
    • Migraine headaches
    • Heartburn and peptic ulcers
    • Anxiety or panic attacks
    • Talking to your doctor if you have any concerns about coffee’s effect on your well-being

If you’re relatively healthy, the biggest take-away from all these studies is that coffee isn’t terribly harmful, and may even provide some health benefits. Just remember – coffee, like all good things, is best enjoyed in moderation.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

Small Steps: Get Plenty of Calcium and Vitamin D.
They help preserve bone strength and are found in a variety of foods and supplements.