Coffee Questions

Posted August 3, 2017

Can drinking coffee be part of a healthful lifestyle? Several recent studies support drinking coffee for health benefits. Coffee is now associated with a lower risk of developing several diseases, including: type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, colon cancer, liver cancer and cirrhosis, and a lower rate of depression in women. Note: Research hasn’t established that coffee causes reduced risk.

Several years ago, drinking too much coffee was linked to high blood pressure; newer research shows it may improve blood pressure. Heart disease? In 2013, a review of 36 studies covering a million-plus people found even heavy coffee drinking did not raise cardiovascular disease risk — and 3 to 5 cups daily provided protection (dependent on the individual and how they metabolize coffee, which is based on genetics).

Can coffee help improve longevity? In 2015, the Harvard School of Public Health reported that coffee drinkers have a lower mortality rate than non-coffee drinkers and are less likely to die prematurely from strokes, heart disease, diabetes, suicide and neurological diseases. The study followed 20,000 non-smoking nurses and doctors for 30 years.

Can I drink as much caffeinated coffee as I want? An average cup has about 100 mg of caffeine. More than 400 mg daily may interfere with sleep and cause anxiety, nervousness, digestive trouble and frequent urination.

The studies listed here are based on 1-cup (8-ounce) servings. You generally don’t need to drink lots of coffee to achieve health benefits. And you don’t need to drink caffeinated brew — benefits were also seen with decaf coffee.

What’s the healthy ingredient in coffee? Probably its rich supply of antioxidants (nutrients and enzymes) that scientists believe may help fight chronic diseases by reducing oxidation in the body.

— Diane McReynolds, Founder, Personal Best Healthlines