There was a time when drinking coffee habitually was considered unhealthy. Fortunately for those who enjoy a morning cup (or more) there’s much more evidence to the contrary.
A review of recent studies found that coffee consumption was associated with lower risks of heart disease and death from heart attacks, improvements in type 2 diabetes and symptoms of depression, and protective against neurological diseases. And despite the ability of caffeine to make us feel revved up, it seems that coffee’s effects on blood pressure and heart rhythms are neutral overall.
Of course, there are always exceptions – women who are pregnant or nursing need to be mindful of their coffee intake, and adding sugar and creamers can certainly mitigate the drink’s healthy effects, but in general, it seems that coffee drinking is one enjoyable daily habit that is actually good for us.
O'Keefe JH, DiNicolantonio JJ, Lavie CJ. Coffee for Cardioprotection and Longevity. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2018;61(1):38–42. doi:10.1016/j.pcad.2018.02.002
Coffee, a complex brew containing hundreds of biologically active compounds, exerts potent effects on long-term human health. Recently, a plethora of studies have been published focusing on health outcomes associated with coffee intake. An inverse association between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality has been seen consistently in large prospective studies. Habitual coffee consumption is also associated with lower risks for cardiovascular (CV) death and a variety of adverse CV outcomes, including coronary heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (HF), and stroke; coffee's effects on arrhythmias and hypertension are neutral. Coffee consumption is associated with improvements in some CV risk factors, including type 2 diabetes (T2D), depression, and obesity. Chronic coffee consumption also appears to protect against some neurodegenerative diseases, and is associated with improved asthma control, and lower risks for liver disease and cancer. Habitual intake of 3 to 4 cups of coffee appears to be safe and is associated with the most robust beneficial effects. However, most of the studies regarding coffee's health effects are based on observational data, with very few randomized controlled trials. Furthermore, the possible benefits of coffee drinking must be weighed against potential risks, which are generally due to its high caffeine content, including anxiety, insomnia, headaches, tremulousness, and palpitations. Coffee may also increase risk of fracture in women, and when consumed in pregnancy coffee increases risk for low birth weight and preterm labor.
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