A recent article published on Bloomberg about making & drinking coffee caught my attention (as it would yours):
All of us coffee drinkers wonder about the same question: Is coffee good for you?
To give it a little persepctive, Joan Byrness who is a fellow coffee lover has written the following reply.
Ok. Now wait a minute! Coffee? Good for my health? Since when? I thought the large amounts of caffeine found in coffee meant that only one cup a day should be enough!
Why will I learn if I read “Is coffee good for you?
- Healthy? Are you kidding? Is coffee good for you?
- What are antioxidants? How much does coffee contain? What?
- Does coffee contain vitamins?
- What are the other health benefits of drinking coffee?
- Is coffee good for you? Really, too much of a good thing!
- Can you drink too much coffee?
- If coffee is good for you, how can you be addicted?
Healthy? Are you kidding? Is coffee good for you?
But recent studies have shown that the exact opposite is true! It turns out that coffee is actually great for your health and can help prevent some known diseases. Ok, so we know that the internet can spin a lot of stories, so it is important to know and understand exactly who did the research. That way we can judge whether the source of the research done was a reputable one or not!
Believe it or not, these findings were discovered by a US government appointed panel of scientists, who did their research for the purpose of setting up the US dietary guidelines. This has to come as great news to US citizens as they are the biggest consumers of coffee in the world!
Well, now that we know that the study was conducted by a reputable source, let’s find out what it is exactly that makes coffee so healthy before we decide – is coffee good for you?
What are antioxidants? How much does coffee contain?
First of all, coffee contains a fair volume of antioxidants. As we all know, antioxidants are chemicals produced by our bodies to neutralize atoms that cause excessive damage to our cells known as free radicals.
However, the body’s supply is sometimes not enough, therefore we need to consume external foods to supplement the antioxidants that our bodies supply. And because coffee contains a large amount of antioxidants, it is very good for our health!
Does coffee contain vitamins?
In fact, studies have shown that an average cup of coffee contains more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables! It also contains small amounts of vitamins in an average single cup, however, if you have 3 to 4 cups a day, the amount of vitamins found in an average cup becomes sufficient to contribute to a healthier you!
The studies that were recently conducted by the panel of scientists, show that the large amounts of antioxidants found in coffee contribute to assisting in the prevention of cancer. There have obviously been mixed reviews about this in the studies conducted in the past, but recent findings confirm this.
Tom Brenna, a member of the US government appointed committee and a nutritionist at Cornell University, said in an interview, “Coffee’s good stuff. I don’t want to get into implying coffee cures cancer; nobody thinks that. But there is no evidence for increased risk, if anything, the other way around.”
What are the other health benefits of drinking coffee?
Other studies conducted on the benefits of coffee have also found drinking coffee linked to the following benefits:
- stimulation of the brain
- increased metabolism caused by caffeine,
- reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,
- prevention of diabetes type 2,
- prevention of liver infection,
- reduced depression,
- reduced suicidal tendencies
Is coffee good for you? Really, too much of a good thing!
However, as much as it is good for us, we still have to be careful and consider that consuming too much coffee can lead us to becoming addicted to coffee, because caffeine is an addictive substance. It can also cause anxiety, heart attacks and insomnia if over consumed by someone who has a weak metabolism rate when it comes to caffeine.
The Mayo Clinic Minute knows about the benefits of coffee, even if they seem to be lacking in the taste department!
Can you drink too much coffee if coffee is good for you?
All in all, I would highly recommend not drinking more than 3 cups a day. However, if you find that after consuming 3 cups in a day you become overstimulated and anxious, then you should consider that you maybe one of the few who cannot metabolize caffeine so quickly. That means you should probably limit your daily dose of coffee.
Current health recommendations suggest limiting total caffeine intake to about 400mg per day for a normally healthy adult. 3 cups of medium sized (tall) Americano at Starbucks would easily take you over that limit.
If you’re pregnant, suffering an ailment, or facing extra strain on your physical system, you may want to cut down even more or refrain from consuming any coffee caffeine at all. Go see your health specialist to talk about any caffeine-related health issues!
Decaf Coffee: Swiss Water Processed Kicking Horse Coffee
Kicking Horse Coffee is a Swiss water-processed decaffeinated coffee, liked by those with a sensitivity to caffeine. The beans are organically grown, fairtraded and genuine Arabica coffee beans grown in the shade in Central & South America, both regions famouse for their high quality coffee.
When you brew this coffee in your French press or drip coffee maker (or even espresso maker), you’ll enjoy the notes of roasted hazlenuts, chocolaty body. Kicking Horse believes that this coffee should have exactly the same characteristics as their regular coffee beans!
Why we liked it!
- A good bold coffee with regular amounts!
- Avoids the ‘chemical’ aftertaste of some decaf brands.
- Can use in Drip, Chemex, Espresso, and even Iced.
What we didn’t like
- Needs a grinder! It’s whole bean!
- Some report the beans lacking odor or aroma.
Kicking Horse website explains nicely the intricacies of caffeine extraction and its relation to heat, time, and grind level.
Can you drink coffee on a diet? Is coffee good for you?
Coffee can act to accelerate your body’s speed (perhaps beneficial); however, it can also increase your intake of other less helpful elements, including cream & sugar.
Whether it’s your diet, or how it is influenced by your consumption of coffee, you can find out how much caffeine can help (or hinder!) your desire to go on a diet.
Can you be addicted if coffee is good for you?
Perhaps you will find that you need to take larger and larger doses, or that you are drinking more than a few cups a day. Either way, are you addicted?
How many calories are there?
You’ll be glad to know that there are almost no calories in a cup of black coffee! How nice! There are some calories in the beans themselves, but the extracted liquid contains no calories UNLESS
- you add tons of sugar;
- you pile on the cream or milk;
- you add different syrups;
- you drink frappe or iced; or
- anything else you add has calories
How many calories are in a typical iced mocha frappuccino (grande)? Do you know? Is coffee good for you then? Perhaps not!
For the rest of us, though, it’s great news! You no longer have to wonder “is coffee good for you?”… let’s say, it’s not bad for you at the very least! Now that caffeine can be a problem for some people… but most of the benefits can be had from drinking coffee with low amounts of caffeine!
Thanks Joan for taking the time reply in such detail. I usually manage one for breakfast, and one for work. On occasion, I’ll have a third up until about 9pm. It doesn’t affect my sleep. Of course, I do make coffee a little stronger than most recommend.
What do you think? Is coffee good for you? How much coffee can you get through in a day?
I am not a doctor! IANAD!
For more information and recipes on to our How To Make Coffee Page