My take on coffee

 

So is coffee bad? Well, there are some pros and cons about coffee and because it’s so widely ingested there’s quite a bit of research and study out there about coffee and caffeine.

The good

The reality is, there are a lot of benefits to drinking coffee. I think most of the cons come into play when you are drinking nearly a pot of coffee in a day. Moderation is key, whether it’s coffee, alcohol, or dare I say chocolate (even the yummy dark stuff I entirely refuse to take out of my diet no matter what Lent tells me to give up this year).

Recent research shows that coffee is actually rich in antioxidants. Depending on how the coffee bean has been treated, the melanoidins in coffee have been shown to have strong antioxidant effects. Although I wouldn’t replace berries and citrus fruits in your diet, studies even show that a cup of coffee contains as much if not more antioxidants than those foods do.  And another Swiss study concluded that there were more polyphenols—as much as four times as many as green tea.

There’s also a lot of evidence showing coffee consumption can even reduce the risk of some serious diseases and syndromes including Parkinson’s, diabetes, gout, asthma, and Alzheimer’s. It's even shown to reduce kidney and gallstones from forming. Go figure.

The bad

Now the cons are relatively obvious from the research. There is a relationship between heart disease, increased cholesterol levels and high blood pressure due to the caffeine found in coffee. But you have to drink a lot of coffee daily to even make these risks come into play. More than 4 cups a day is that it can inhibit the absorption of calcium and increase the risk of osteoporosis. There’s also many people who just drink coffee too late in the day thus it causes disrupted sleep habits, heart burn, and dehydration due to it also being a bit of a diuretic. Some people have a low tolerance to caffeine so it gives them the shakes.

(I learned to hard way in college when I drank what looked like a keg of coffee from Dunkin' Donuts and my hand started shaking and I couldn’t even hold a pen. I had to excuse myself from class to take a walk before passing out.)

Be mindful of how much

So the key here is quantity of coffee you drink not the fact that you drink it. Just remember, a “cup” is 8oz and most of us have coffee mugs that are at least 10-12 oz big so you could be drinking more coffee than you think to begin with. So before you grab the second cup-o-Joe or second shot of espresso, just consider just how much caffeine you are ingesting per day.

My coffee cheat sheet:

  • For every cup of coffee you drink, you must drink that much water as well.
  •  Adding sugar to your coffee can simply add to the diabetes potential especially if you are drinking many cups of coffee a day. I overheard a guy ask for 10 packs of sugar in his coffee just yesterday. Yikes.
  • Think about how big your cup is and if you are getting coffee at say Starbucks or a coffee shop, a short cup is 8 oz, tall is 12 oz, grande is 16 oz, and venti is a whopping 20 oz.

 

 


Richelle M, Tavazzi I, Offord E. Comparison of the antioxidant activity of commonly consumed polyphenolic beverages. J Agric F. Chem, 2001, 49 (7), pp 3438–3442.

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