Coffee drinking used to be a simple undertaking. Now it’s exploded into a growing, ever changing, specialized “coffee culture”. These days there are hundreds of brands of coffee, ways to drink and prepare it—even coffee roasting has become an art form. Everywhere you go there seems to be an espresso stand waiting to greet you. But as the coffee culture grows, so does conflicting information—mostly on social media—telling us that it’s good for our health one minute but that we should avoid it the next. We’ve gathered points from both sides of the debate…
How much is too much of a good thing? Studies have shown that sipping up to one to six 8-ounce cups of coffee a day is the best. However, if each of those cups you’re sipping has 4-5 shots of espresso in them, then that’s another story.
Pros – Why Coffee Is Good For You
Fruits and vegetables are chocked full of antioxidants, but the body seems to absorb the most from coffee – or so studies say. Here are some other good things:
- Coffee may reduce your risk from certain cancers. It may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in men, endometrial cancer in women, and may also prevent certain types of skin cancers.
- Coffee reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that regular coffee drinking decreases risk of Parkinson’s disease, since it’s shown to cause activity in the part of the brain affected by the disease.
- Coffee may help you lose weight and burn fat. Coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the body regulate insulin, control blood sugar levels and reduce cravings for snacks. Caffeine also helps fat cells break down body fat.
Cons – Why Coffee Is Bad For You
Ah, but wait—coffee may actually be bad for you. Read on.
- Lost sleep and irritability. If you’re caffeine sensitive and exceed your maximum for the day, side-effects could include restless and insomnia.
- Stomach problems. The acid in coffee can lead to heart burn, disruption of your gut flora, e.g., dysbiosis, and other digestive problems.
- More stressed. Caffeine increases production of catecholamines, a stress hormone.
It’s one thing to be talking about the pros and cons of coffee itself – it’s quite another to talk about the things we add to it: sugar, artificial sweeteners, creamers, and syrups, to name a few. These additions can also pack on calories, depending on what you’re adding to your daily dose. Cut back on those additives and you’ll have a healthier cup. If you’re brewing coffee, use a paper filter. Not using one can expose you to diterpenes, which is known to raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Want to go even healthier? Then stay away from instant coffee and go for the organic brands.
It seems that the pros of coffee outweigh the cons, but like everything, coffee has good and bad side effects, depending on the person who’s drinking it. If you’re pregnant or have high-blood pressure then you should keep a close eye on your coffee consumption. One person’s mood enhancer makes another person’s heart race. So, now that you have the facts—sip responsibly.