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Is Coffee Good For Me Or Not?

Contributed by Elisa Marley, RD, CD

Recent studies have suggested that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from heart disease, stroke, diabetes or kidney disease.  Additionally, moderate consumption appears to decrease the chance of developing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and colon cancer as well.

 Where does this benefit come from?  Best guess is the polyphenols.  Polyphenols are plant compounds in the coffee bean that possess antioxidant properties.  These properties reduce inflammation and therefore protect against disease.

So how much coffee are we talking about?  Studies suggest “moderate” consumption.  That translates to up to 400mg of caffeine daily.  An average 8 oz cup of coffee contains 100mg caffeine.  There can be some variability with caffeine amounts in different coffee brands as well as roasting levels.  So, best bet is to Google your favorite drink to see how much caffeine is in it.

As with everything in life – too much coffee isn’t a great thing either!  It can increase heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and contribute to sleep disturbances.  So, listen to your body – moderation remains the mantra.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that while the coffee itself can have benefits, beware not to overload your coffee beverage with sugar and heavy or artificial creams.  Those ingredients added to your drink, especially in high quantities, can have negative impacts on your body.  If you need to add sugar or cream to your coffee do so conservatively.  Also be careful when ordering pre-made beverages at your favorite coffee shop.  They can be loaded with sugar and non-beneficial ingredients which often make them creamy and tasty but not necessarily healthy.  As with most things, the more natural you drink your coffee, the better.

Go and grab a cup of coffee – sit back and enjoy it – coffee CAN BE part of a healthy lifestyle!