More than 50% of people living in Tulsa, OK are coffee drinkers. For most, it has become a morning ritual. With that in mind, it is interesting to see how it is affecting our health. The medical community seems to have varying opinions, that change every few years, about the positive and/or negative effect that coffee can have. So is the most current information showing that coffee is good or bad for your health? Well, you may not be surprised to find that the answer, in short, is that it’s a little of both.
If you have too much coffee, not only can it become addictive, but it can also lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure, anxiety and upset stomach. And if you add cream and sugar to your coffee it can contribute to your weight gain. Did you know, for example, that a 24-ounce Starbucks venti double chocolate chip frappucino contains an impressive 520 calories!
However, moderate consumption of coffee has actually been shown to help reduce the risk of some problems. It can have a positive and protective effect against diseases including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver cancer, gallstones and Type 2 diabetes, just to name a few. It may also lower the risk of stroke in women.
Despite previous beliefs, the current research indicates that there is no increased risk of heart disease or cancer from moderate coffee drinking. Earlier studies that reached those conclusion were erroneous in that they did not take into consideration the other lifestyle habits of the participants that were associated with the increased coffee drinking. These included things like smoking and lack of exercise, two of the major causes of these diseases. Coffee has actually been shown to protect against many forms of cancer.
A study that was recently published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that in cases of endometrial cancer in women there was a 25 percent reduction in those who drank four or more cups of coffee per day. This may be due in part to the fact that coffee can lower concentrations of free estradiol and insulin, in addition to the cancer-fighting effect of coffee’s antioxidant phenols.
Just a few cups of coffee every day can cut a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 30 percent. Those who consume six cups of coffee a day decrease their risk of a dangerous form of the cancer by an incredible 60 percent.
Coffee can also help decrease your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by up to 20 percent, according to scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that women who drink coffee (four cups per day) also have a 20 percent lower risk of depression than those who do not drink any coffee at all.
Recommendations state that you should get no more than 500-600 mg of caffeine intake per day. This is the equivalent of about 6 to 8 cups of brewed coffee. And it is probably better to spread out your consumption of caffeine throughout the day if you are going to get that much.
As with almost everything, the key point to keep in mind is moderation. But all in all, the benefits of coffee consumption may outweigh the risks for most people. In most cases, it is smart to listen to your body, it will usually tell you if what you are doing is beneficial or harmful to you.
Dr. Jason Schluter is a chiropractor at Schluter Chiropractic in Tulsa, OK.