A recent study done by Harvard followed 130,000 male and female volunteers, who were already in their 40s and 50s, for 18-24 years to see who died within that period. They did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer or death from cardiovascular disease. Even people who drank up to six cups of coffee per day were at no higher risk of death. For the general population the study suggests that coffee drinking doesn’t have any serious detrimental effects.
If you’re drinking so much coffee that you get tremors, have sleeping problems, or feel stressed and uncomfortable, then obviously you’re drinking too much coffee. But in terms of effects on mortality or other health factors they did not see any negative effects from consuming up to six cups of coffee a day. Keep in mind that in this study, and most other studies, a “cup” of coffee is an 8-ounce cup with 100 mg of caffeine, not the 16-ounces you get in a grande coffee at a Starbucks, which has about 330 mg of caffeine.
The research is also based on coffee that is black or with a little milk or sugar, not the kind of high calorie coffeehouse beverages that have become popular over the last few years.
Studies have shown that coffee may also have many health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.
However, research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And some studies found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific – and fairly common- genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolise coffee may affect your health risk.
Although coffee may have fewer risks compared with benefits, keep in mind that it does not contain the nutrients found in other beverages such as milk and some juices. Also, adding cream and sugar to your coffee adds more fat and calories.
ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS IN COFFEE
Coffee is more than just black water. Coffee beans do contain many nutrients and these do make into your cup. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA*; Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA*; Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA*; Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA*. *Recommended Daily Allowance.
Although this may not seem like a big deal, most people are drinking more than one cup per day. If you drink 3-4 then these amounts quickly add up.
COFFEE AND ANTIOXIDANTS
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may actually be the healthiest aspect of that diet. Coffee contains a massive amount of antioxidants. I fact, studies show that most people get more antioxidants from coffee than from both fruit and vegetables COMBINED.