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Is coffee bad for you?

Over the years coffee has received a bad reputation, with some people believing that coffee causes an increase of heart and metabolic disease, overall mortality rate, and even cancer. But more recently, news came out that coffee does the complete opposite and actually increases your health and quality of life! This could be extremely confusing for anyone. Should you get ready to throw away your coffee pot or stock up on all the different roasts and flavors offered at the grocery store?

For all you caffeine gurus out there, having a large cup of coffee every morning may be a ritual. It may even mean life or death (of mental sanity, that is).

So what’s the verdict? Is coffee good or bad for your health?

Studies have indeed shown both positive and negative side effects. Let’s start with the benefits of drinking coffee.

Benefits of drinking coffee

  • Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Minimizes cognitive decline associated with aging and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Increases awareness and decreases fatigue
  • Acutely increases your resting metabolic rate (metabolism)
  • Reduces you risk of cancer and Parkinson’s disease
  • Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Fights against free radicals within the body
  • Acutely improves vascular function (circulation)

But just like anything, too much of one thing can be bad. Non-habitual caffeine drinkers, tobacco smokers, individuals who are inactive or individuals who consume more than 200-300 mg of caffeine per day may experience the following negative effects from drinking coffee:

Disadvantages of drinking coffee

  • Acute increase in blood pressure in non-habitual drinkers
  • Stimulation of urination
  • Disrupted sleeping patterns if consumed close to bedtime
  • High dose (over 300 mg at one time) can cause an increase of anxiety
  • GI upset or discomfort

So what’s the bottom line? There are both advantages and disadvantages associated with coffee consumption, but the benefits very much outweigh the risks. Moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle, and this also includes coffee drinking.