Many of us are addicted to coffee. And not in the way that you’re “addicted” to chocolate or minimalist Nordic design. The caffeine in your favorite iced vanilla late is addictive, literally. So if you can’t imagine your morning routine without coffee, there’s a reason. So what are the health effects of coffee exactly?
Scientists and researchers have gone back and forth on whether or not coffee is bad for our health. Like most things in this world, there’s no concrete answer. Drinking coffee has some health benefits and some negative effects, especially when you drink it to excess. About 54% of Americans adults drink coffee every day, yet most people don’t stop to think how it affects their body and mind.
To satisfy your coffee curiosity, here’s a quick breakdown of the good and the bad health effects of coffee. We hope this quick guide can help both coffee novices and long-time coffee lovers better manage this caffeinated beverage.
The Positive Health Effects of Coffee
If the thought of drinking just one cup of coffee each day sounds crazy, then we have good news! You can continue to manage stress with coffee.
The British Medical Journal recently published a massive review of existing scientific literature on coffee. The researchers found that drinking three to four cups of black coffee per day provides the most health benefits overall. Previous studies found that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk for heart disease, liver disease, melanoma, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer, and type two diabetes. These studies found that coffee can also help the health of the mind, too. Coffee can reduce risks of Alzheimer’s and depression and increasing overall cognitive function in drinkers. On top of that, a study conducted at the University of Scranton found that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the United States. The authors of this study did emphasize the importance of drinking coffee in moderation. They concluded that about two cups of black coffee a day would lead to the best benefits.
The Negative Health Effects of Coffee
With all of these health benefits, what could possibly be the risks of drinking coffee?
The same research published in the British Medical Journal found two areas of concern. Consuming more than four cups during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, pre-term birth, and stillbirths. In women with a higher likelihood of bone fractures, drinking coffee raises that risk even more. That same risk was not found in men, but prior research does suggest that anyone with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes should not add caffeine to their diets. Some studies have also found that drinking two or more cups a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific, but fairly common, genetic mutation. This mutation slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body, so the body’s metabolizing speed is certainly a factor in whether coffee is beneficial or risky.
Coffee-lovers can be assured that their daily intake is most likely not a detriment to their overall health. In fact, coffee can improve your health. So while you don’t have to cut your daily cup of coffee out of your diet, it should be consumed in moderation. You should also balance coffee consumption with an otherwise nutrient-rich diet.
The verdict: if you want to experience the positive health effects of coffee, then limit yourself to two to four cups per day. Remember, your 16 oz coffee mug actually holds two cups of coffee. Finally, limit the amount of extra sugar and flavor syrup you add to your coffee order.