Remember when too much coffee was bad for you? It wasn’t given to children at all because it would stunt their growth? It might be carcinogenic?
Coffee may become the next health food craze. Some articles touting the antioxidants in coffee put it up there with green tea, whole grains and cruciferous vegetables. But, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes, “While there has been a splash of positive news about coffee lately, there may still be grounds for concern.”
Coffee contains traces of hundreds of substances, including potassium, magnesium and vitamin E, as well as chlorogenic acids that are thought to have antioxidant properties. These may protect against cell damage and inflammation that can be precursors to cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Have another espresso—it may be
good for you. Photo courtesy SXC.
How has coffee been shown to help? According to an article in the Wall Street Journal Article, here are the studies that have been completed:
COFFEE IS GOOD FOR YOU
Osteoporosis: Caffeine lowers bone density, but adding milk can balance out the risk.
Alzheimer’s: Moderate coffee drinking appears to be protective.
Cancer: Earlier studies implicating coffee in causing cancer have been disproven; it may instead lower the risk of colon, mouth, throat and other cancers.
Diabetes: Many studies find that coffee—decaf or regular—lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes; however, caffeine raises blood sugar in people who already have diabetes.
Heart disease: Long-term coffee drinking does not appear to raise the risk and may provide some protection.
Mood: Moderate caffeine boosts energy and cuts depression, but excess amounts can cause anxiety.
And more good news: Coffee is ubiquitous, affordable, calorie-free and beloved by many. Some 54% of American adults drink coffee regularly—an estimated 400 million cups per day.
COFFEE IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU
Cholesterol: Some coffee—especially decaf—raises LDL, the bad kind of cholesterol.
Pregnancy: Caffeine intake may increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth-weight babies.
Sleep: Effects are highly variable, but avoiding coffee after 3PM can avert insomnia.
Hypertension: Caffeine raises blood pressure, so sufferers should be wary.More bad news: Coffee can aggravate anxiety, irritability, heartburn and sleeplessness; caffeine has also been linked to benign breast lumps and bone loss in elderly women.
So, coffee may or may not be your personal “health food.” But if you don’t fall into any of the risk groups, enjoy that double espresso.