Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Coffee Bad For You?

Is coffee bad for one's health?  Given the amount of coffee (and other caffeinated products) people drink, it's an important question to ask.  Like me, you may have heard that coffee can stunt one's growth or that it can lead to a greater risk of cancer down the road.  But is this true?  If it is, then there's a legitimate reason to stop drinking coffee.  If not, then by all means drink that coffee.

To answer this question we must turn to science.  There have been several studies done on the effects of drinking caffeinated products.  According to the Mayo Clinic:

"Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. In fact, most studies find an association between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality, although this may not be true in younger people who drink large amounts of coffee."

In addition:

"Studies have shown that coffee may have 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."

That's good news, right?  For the most part yes.  However, it's important to note that there are some possible side effects to drinking coffee.  From the Mayo Clinic:

"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 metabolize coffee may affect your health risk."

Here are the links to the Mayo Clinic comments on coffee consumption, as well as one from Harvard that concludes the same thing.

Mayo Clinic and Coffee Consumption

Coffee and Health

The main point to be drawn from this is that coffee does NOT stunt one's growth, nor does it lead to a greater risk of cancer down the road.  Coffee can have some health benefits, but can possibly lead to some health problems if one drinks too much.  However, a cup day appears to be perfectly fine, so go ahead and enjoy that coffee!  One last thing.  If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night or shaking/trembling after drinking coffee, you probably need to reduce your consumption or stop altogether.

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