W hat’s the first thing you do in the morning? Grab a cup of coffee. You’re not alone! Millions of people around the globe depend on coffee to begin their day. Do you think they’ve done research on this? Yes! Scientists and doctors are divided over one issue, is coffee good or bad for health? Let’s find out. First, what are the benefits of coffee?

               Coffee boosts performance

We can all vouch for that cup of black coffee when it comes to performing at our best. The caffeine present in coffee increases the level of adrenaline in the blood, which helps us to prepare better for physical exertion and gives us more stamina.

Coffee boosts memory

A study by the University of Florida reveals that having coffee decreases your chance of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s.  People who consume coffee regularly experience a slower rate of cognitive decline and lower risk of cognitive impairment.

 What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Grab a cup of coffee. You’re not alone! Millions of people around the globe depend on coffee to begin their day.

Coffee lowers the chance of getting oral cancer

The risk of getting mouth and upper throat cancer is lower in people who drink coffee daily.May decrease pain associated with exercise

One study showed that caffeine dose 1 hour before exercise helped decrease leg pain by 27% if in hot environments (33 C), but had no effects in the cold.  Also, pain perception was 74% higher in the heat than in the cold, and caffeine partially tempered it.

 Cognitive Benefits

Coffee improves our focus, concentration and alertness What about risk of diabetes?reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetesLowers risk of stroke A meta-analysis showed that 4 cups or more of coffee per day was preventative Longevity New study found that people who drink more coffee actually live longer! How?

Telomeres are small protective ends on your chromosomes…which you get 23 from mom, 23 from dad.  As your DNA replicates, the telomeres get chopped off, and eventually the DNA dies, your cell dies and you age.  Coffee, was found to be associated with longer telomeres, therefore you live longer!

But what is bad about it? Drinking excessive coffee disrupts sleep pattern. It also increases anxiety making you more restless. So, if you have insomnia or are sleep deprived, having coffee may increase your problem.

Caffeine interacts with some drugs and may cause negative effects. If you have thyroid, depression or take psychiatric drugs, you should consult your doctor about drinking coffee.

Postmenopausal women should restrict their intake of caffeine as they may experience the spinal bone loss if they are taking enough calcium. People who suffer from heartburn and acid reflux should avoid drinking coffee as it may aggravate the symptoms.

Coffee may not be prudent in people with high cholesterol.

It has been found in a study that caffeine is bad for babies. Even unborn babies are sensitive to it. So, pregnant women should stay away from it or restrict their intake to only one cup a day, which is advised by their OBGYNs during pregnancy.  Why? Some studies show that maternal caffeine intake early in pregnancy is associated with behavioral disorders later in the life of the child.  Other studies show that as long as its <300mg/day then there is little risk to the fetus. Another study showed that high caffeine intake during pregnancy was associated with adverse affects to fetal growth. Babies were born smaller, they had smaller head circumferences, all of which are known as small-for-gestational-age infants at birth.  Meaning, they were born smaller.

Are you perplexed? Cannot decide whether to have your coffee or not? We would suggest you drink coffee in moderation. Do not take coffee after 8 ‘o’ clock as it may disrupt your sleep, but if you’re like me you might still get Zzz’s you need. If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, you  may be told to limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee. Studies show that moderate coffee intake is NOT HARMFUL in these diseases and some studies even show that moderate caffeine intake may reduce the risk of developing Diabetes.

If you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, switch to decaf.

What about if you have high blood pressure?  You can continue drinking your coffee! Studies have shown that regular intake of caffeinated coffee does not increase your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension).  Even during pregnancy, no associated has been found between coffee and maternal blood pressure.

A healthy lifestyle, getting enough nutrition and physical exercise is what you need to remain healthy. If you love coffee, consume it.  If you feel like you had one too many cups today and feel a bit jittery chances are you should lower your intake the next day. Being of Colombian heritage I love coffee! And depending on the day I can drink between 1-4 cups a day.  During medical school I definitely had like 4.. but more recently I have cut back without trying to.

 

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