Java, mocha, latte, americano, cuppa jo, or rocket fuel.... no matter what you call it coffee is a magic elixir that keeps many Americans humming along. Coffee drinkers often express a sensory experience with each cup, from the percolating or dripping sound, the rich aroma, to that first hot sip that jumpstarts their day. But not everyone is a fan, and some skeptics report health concerns about coffee. So what is the verdict? Is coffee good or bad for you?
Although the effects of coffee have been studied, there is no simple answer to this question. This is largely due to the fact that coffee contains so many different substances, each with its own risks and benefits. A report from Harvard Medical School states, "Caffeine and some of these other substances in coffee seem to have their good and bad sides, and coffee's overall effect may depend on how much they cancel each other out." For a select group of people, with a specific gene mutation labeled CYP1A2, coffee could increase their risk of heart disease. But largely, the research shows many health benefits for this popular drink.
Rich in antioxidants, coffee can protect your heart and liver. By boosting the body's sensitivity to insulin, coffee may lower the risk for Type 2 Diabetes for regular consumers. Recent studies also indicate that drinking between 1-5 cups a day can provide a 25% risk reduction for Parkinson's Disease. The caffeinated version will increase alertness, focus and athletic performance. And the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound could be responsible for lowering the risk of endometrial and aggressive prostate cancer.
So should coffee actually be labeled a health drink? Probably not. But, research does favor it's variety of health benefits. A good rule of thumb is "all in moderation". And, if you are not a fan of coffee, don't worry there are plenty of other beverages out there that help you "Feel Better and Live Longer!"
Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health- Algoma