Not everybody loves coffee, but lots of people do. According to StatisticBrain.com, over 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day, and the average coffee drinker drinks 3.1 cups of coffee per day.
Each day over 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine – mostly either in the form of coffee or tea.
Some drink it merely for the caffeine fix. Some love the flavor, but limit themselves to decaf. Others love the smell and find the drink flavorful and a welcome part of their morning.
Whatever the reason for drinking, it seems that every month or so there is a story saying that it is bad for you, then there is soon another study touting the benefits of coffee consumption.
So the question remains…Is drinking coffee good or bad for your health?
What Are The Effects Of Coffee On My Health?
The answer isn’t simple, and we aren’t scientists or doctors, but we did some research.
Here’s what we found.
Type 2 Diabetes
Coffee=Good: People over the age of 35, in particularly, are prone to Type 2 diabetes. It has been found that lifestyle, diet, and exercise factor into the onset and early stage progression.
Balz Frei from Oregon State University found that 6 out of 9 studies he reviewed showed that drinking coffee reduced the chances of onset of the disease. One of the studies he reviewed followed 14,000 Finnish coffee drinkers and found that those who consumed at least 7 cups of coffee per day (a whole lot of coffee) had a 55% less chance of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to a person who drinks 2 cups per day.
Coffee=Bad: James Lane of Duke University has found that caffeine impairs the function of insulin in regulating the amount of glucose in the blood. The failure of insulin to regulate glucose can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Subsequent studies have shown that Type 2 diabetics who eliminate caffeine from their diet experience improved glucose levels in the blood.
Conclusion: Caffeine may indeed be a contributing factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes, but other compounds in coffee may provide health benefits that work against the development of the disease.
Coffee=Good: A study followed 14,000 women for 14 years and found that those who consumed 4 cups or more of coffee per day had a 20% lower chance of developing depression than women who rarely or never consumed coffee.
Similar studies have shown that caffeine protects against certain neurotoxins in the brain that are linked to suicide. The findings were similar to studies of people who consumed caffeine in the form of chocolate and soft drinks, which leads to the conclusion that the caffeine is deterring the depression.
However, other studies have shown that consumption of soft drinks is linked to depression.
Coffee=Good: A study by Harvard followed 50,000 male health professionals for 20 years and found that those who consumed the most coffee had a 60% less chance of developing and aggressive form of prostate cancer compared to those who drank little to no coffee. The 60% reduction was for people who drank 6 or more cups per day.
A 30% reduction was found in those who consumed 3 or more cups per day.
The link was limited to the most aggressive form of the cancer. No link was found between coffee consumption and the overall risk of developing prostrate cancer. Similar results were found for people who drank decaffeinated coffee, so the benefit was not caused by caffeine.
Coffee=Good: Studies by McGill University has shown that the consumption of caffeine may help improve movement in people with Parkinson’s Disease.
Coffee=Good: Although there is no significant correlation between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease, it has been found that moderate coffee consumption lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes in women. Additionally, a 2009 Japanese study has found that caffeine reduces the chances of coronary heart disease by 38% in men and 22% among women.
Coffee=Good: A Swedish study found that drinking at least five cups of coffee a day reduces by nearly 60 percent the risk of a particularly aggressive non-hormone-responsive breast cancer among postmenopausal women.
Coffee=Bad: Cafestol is a compound in coffee that has been found to raise levels of LDL cholesterol in coffee drinkers. Fortunately, paper coffee filters capture the majority of cafestol in brewed coffee. French press coffee, Turkish coffee, and boiled coffee do have high levels of cafestol. Espresso coffee capures some of the cafestol, but not all of it.
Cirrhosis of the Liver
Coffee=Good: A 2001 study by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program concluded that for every cup of coffee consumed per day, there is a 22% reduction in the likelihood of developing cirrhosis of the liver as caused by alcoholic consumption.
Risk of Death
Coffee=Good: A National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study of people between the ages of 50 to 71 years of age found that drinking one cup of coffee a day reduced their chance of death by 6% during the 13 years of the study. Those who drank 2-3 cups per day reduced their chance of death by 10%, and those that drink 4-5 cups per days reduced their chances by 12%.
Total Score: 7
Although a new study may come out next week proclaiming coffee as evil and unhealthy, the vast majority of studies do indicate that coffee is a very healthy drink.
- Pregnant women should avoid coffee due to the caffeine content.
- Adding milk, sugar, and syrups to coffee will negate many of the health benefits.
- Tea drinkers experience many of the same benefits as coffee drinkers since some of the same compounds are present in both.