Gotta have that java? Know the pros and cons of coffee!

Nutrition

By pH health care professionals

If the coffee shops on every corner are any indication, we sure love our coffee! The U.S. is now drinking twice as much as in the 1970s and three times as much as in the 1960s. About 54 percent of the people over 18 drink daily coffee. The average coffee size is nine ounces and the average coffee drinker has three cups of coffee a day. And it seems demand for coffee is increasing worldwide.

So what does this mean for our health?

Coffee has its pros and cons. Let’s lead with the positive.

Most people use coffee as a stimulating agent to fight physical and mental fatigue. But that’s not all it does for you. More and more research shows there may be many more potential benefits of coffee. Coffee is not a cure for disease, but it does seem to exert positive effects for the following:

  • Cancer: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances in coffee could be responsible for possible anti-cancer activity. Studies show coffee drinkers may lower their risk of endometrial, aggressive prostate and estrogen-negative breast cancers.
  • Brain diseases: Human and animal studies suggest coffee may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Heart disease and all-cause mortality: Studies suggest reduced heart disease and mortality rates at age 65 for people who drink at least one cup of coffee daily.
  • Liver disease: Studies found ingredients from coffee may slow down cirrhosis of the liver and could benefit people with chronic hepatitis C.
  • Stroke: There are links between reduced stroke events and increasing the amount of coffee consumed.
  • Diabetes: Regularly drinking coffee is associated with lower risk for diabetes, and high intake (three to six cups a day) seems to have a greater effect.

But proceed with caution. Here are some of the downsides:

  • Excess caffeine: As with everything else, the dose determines the poison. Some people have increased sensitivity to coffee, potentially causing restlessness, nervousness, irritability, upset stomach, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping and muscle tremors. Know the caffeine content of your favorite beverages. One typical 8-ounce coffee has around 80-200 mg of caffeine. Daily average consumption is currently around 280 mg and research indicates levels below 400 mg are generally deemed safe.
  • Contamination of coffee with other products: Although these products may not be harmful, they may contain extra substances. Coffee may also contain some potentially harmful byproducts from the roasting process or may contain pesticides.
  • Extra calories: Adding half and half, regular milk, creamer or sugar adds extra calories. Studies have shown many people are packing in extra calories through their daily beverages, which may be as high as an extra 400-500 kcal per day.
  • Blood pressure: Coffee can raise blood pressure in people with previously limited caffeine exposure. Some studies suggest that people with stage one hypertension may have worse outcomes with coffee, while other studies actually suggest coffee may help lower blood pressure.
  • Addiction: There is certainly a chance of caffeine addiction, which may lead to generally mild withdrawal symptoms when stopping, such as headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, depression and more.

Inform yourself about the benefits of coffee, but use caution and choose what is right for you.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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