Is coffee healthy?
For many busy Australian mothers, coffee has become more of a survival tool than the backdrop to a blissful retreat and gossip session with friends. To get a good coffee a few years ago would require you to stop by your local café and stand in line to order, but with the invention of pod machines these days a good coffee can be speedily extracted in the kitchen of most residential homes.
Few of those who drink coffee would consider themselves drug addicts, but under strict definition coffee is indeed a drug. In fact caffeine is the most popular and commonly used drug in the world today. More people are addicted to caffeine than any other substance. Caffeine addiction is felt in the form of withdrawal symptoms when coffee is removed from the diet. These symptoms can include headaches, dizziness and nausea. Research suggests that 3-4 cups of coffee a day on a regular basis can be enough to form a reliance on caffeine.
What are the health consequences of coffee?
If coffee is a drug then surely its bad for you, right? Well don’t throw out your coffee bean just yet…
Contrary to commonly held beliefs, recent studies have been surprisingly positive when testing the health of regular coffee drinkers. A large study recently conducted in Finland, that included 60,000 men and women, showed that moderate and regular coffee consumption had zero adverse health effects and no increase in heart disease risk. Similar studies in Sweden and Japan have even shown that consumption of up to 3 cups of coffee per day can REDUCE the risk of heart disease. Now that’s reason enough to celebrate with a coffee! Other health benefits may include reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes, reduced risk of Dementia later in life and less risk of stroke and gout.
Most of the negative health issues associated with drinking coffee are for NON- REGULAR drinkers. These are generally short-term symptoms that may include increased heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, shaking and disturbance to sleep. The good news is that when coffee intake becomes regular, the short- term health effects seem to subside.
How much is too much?
The positive health effects of coffee are evident when consumed at up to 3-4 cups per day. Early research indicates that drinking any more of this may be detrimental to your short and long-term health and can lead to dependence. Don’t forget by definition caffeine is a drug, and therefore it is wise to treat it with caution and moderation.
For those coffee lovers my advice would be to enjoy 1-2 cups of good coffee daily. Drinking at this level will avoid dependence and at the same time may result in some long- term health benefits.