Is coffee good for you or should we avoid it?

Is coffee good for you or should we avoid it?

I love a morning coffee. There is something almost comforting about holding that hot steaming cup in your hand. You have arrived at the coffee shop, lined up, said hi to your local barista, you check the news or do a quick bit of reading getting ready to start your day. Then they call your name, and you hold it with both hands, take that first sip and the flavour and warmth instantly soothes the soul.  Fills you with the confidence to get into the day.

Now I cannot say every morning is like that. Some days we just go through the motions don’t we. I try not to go to the coffee shop every day as well (it adds up!) my cheap home espresso machine rates at about 5/10 on my completely subjective scale of coffee taste, and I often find myself opting not to have one at home either. But I can definitely say it’s certainly a part of my morning routine. And I’m not alone. Studies show 64% of the population drink a coffee every morning! I personally don’t drink it for the caffeine content. I honestly love the taste.

A little while ago I had the thought, is it even good for you? I know how I feel when I don’t have one for a few days, headaches and fatigue and irritability until the caffeine works its way out of my system and my body is back to “normal.”

In my mind anything that does that to you can’t be a good thing! Think… if we enjoyed other drinks at the rate some of us consume coffee, like alcohol, or energy drinks it certainly wouldn’t be healthy. (Now bear in mind I’m saying a coffee every day, I don’t think any of us would disagree that having one on a weekend or when out with friends is that bad.) So, what is the verdict? Is it really bad to have a coffee every day.

So is coffee bad for you?

Research showed for years that those who had a daily coffee seemed to have a higher incidence of diabetes and heart disease when compared to non-coffee drinkers. But those studies were old, and had some design flaws not accounting for a whole range of variables. There was also the concern that due to it’s addictive nature people would build a tolerance and end up having stronger and stronger coffees to infinity to get the same hit. I think we all know that doesn’t generally happen to the average person either.

More recent research has shown that coffee drinkers don’t seem have a higher risk for heart problems or cancer than people who don’t drink coffee. Recently they have also found no major link between the caffeine in coffee and heart-related issues such as high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, stroke or heart attack. Well, that’s good news. But I’m not entirely sure that just because they can’t find a strong link between those findings and caffeine like they can with sugar means it’s really good for you?

But Is coffee actually good for you?

One study seemed to show that people who drank several cups a day (2-4 cups which I think is actually a lot!) had a lower risk of stroke. Caffeine may help keep blood vessels flexible which stops atherosclerosis and therefore reduces the risk. (or maybe individuals who drink coffee just don’t drink as much other sugary drinks?)

Coffee also contains small amounts of antioxidants, which are known to fight the oxidative damage that can cause cancer. Coffee may even help you live longer. Studies show that caffeine may reduce body inflammation and some of the effects of aging. A lot of these studies seem to be small scale though and more research needs to be done in that area.

How much coffee is safe?

Everything in moderation is a good idea when it comes to most food types. I’m sure there is a figure on how much caffeine it takes to kill someone, but I haven’t looked into that! I think a safe space is to not go over the top. 2-4 cups a day in my opinion as a health professional and a chiropractor is probably too much. One a day, as indicated above doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue.

The research still seems to be a little varied. There are studies that show it’s great and others that don’t seem to paint as good a picture. But I think if you have gotten to the stage where you can’t live without your morning shot. Maybe some time away isn’t a bad idea. But if you enjoy your café run in the morning or over a weekend I think we can agree your probably ok.

Our team of Chiropractors and Physiotherapists have a strong interest in seeing all our patients achieve their best. You are what you eat as the saying goes and we want everyone to be at their best. Nutrition is a key part of that. If you want any more information, contact our clinic or book an appointment online.

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