Is Drinking Coffee Healthy?

Are you a tea drinker or a coffee drinker?  Both?  Neither?  I love both, depending on my mood.  One or two cups of coffee in the morning, one in the afternoon and usually tea in the evening.

A lot of people think coffee isn’t healthy to drink.  It’s acidic, it has caffeine, it stains your teeth.  Is drinking coffee healthy?

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There’s a lot of evidence that drinking coffee is associated with a lower rate of early death.  Most of those studies are smallish, but an absolutely massive research study was just published out of the UK.  Over a half million people were asked about their coffee drinking habits.  What did they find?

In short, the researchers found that the more coffee a person drank the lower their risk of death over the course of the study.  Now this study was not designed to assess CAUSE, but when you look at such a large group of people for 10 years, it suggests pretty reliable patterns.

It was also very exciting to find that drinking coffee lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes.  Similar to the death rate, more coffee intake was associated with lower risk.  Since we in the US are having an absolute epidemic of diabetes, any little thing we can do to decrease the risk is very welcome!

Even more interestingly, it didn’t matter whether people drank caffeinated coffee or decaf.  The researchers took caffeine into account because there are genes that make it hard for people to metabolize that stimulant.  Even if you don’t like the buzz of caffeine that you can get from coffee, you can still benefit.

Why is coffee healthy?  Coffee is made by roasting coffee beans, then grinding them, then steeping them in boiling water.  Healthy plant compounds like polyphenols and antioxidants are probably the cause, although more research is needed to be sure.

Be careful what you put in your coffee, though.  Sugary syrups, artificial flavors and sweeteners aren’t good options.  Choose more natural flavorings and sweeteners like cinnamon, ground nuts, honey or a little table sugar.  One of my favorite treats when I’m not in the mood to drink my coffee black is a little brown sugar.  The molasses and caramel flavor is delicious!

If you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems be careful how much caffeine you’re taking in – it can be hard on the heart.  One of the great things about this study is that it showed decaf coffee is just as beneficial as regular.

If you enjoy drinking coffee there’s no reason to stop.  There is plenty of research showing coffee to be healthy to drink.

QUESTION: Do you like coffee?  Will this study change how much you drink?

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