As all my friends and colleagues know, I LOVE coffee. I like it hot, I like it iced, in the morning, at night, on a car, on a train, in the rain (sorry, too much Dr. Seuss in our house). For me, it is a simple pleasure…creamy, comforting, and best enjoyed in great company. It’s a morning necessity, a reason to linger, a quick pick me up, a great “snack” and an even better “dessert”. Does anything smell better than a freshly brewed pot first thing in the morning? I must say, that I’ve come by my obsession honestly. Growing up, my mom always had a cup of coffee reheating in the microwave and for as long as I can remember my dad has made a stop at Dunkin (small with milk) part of his daily work routine. I take mine with extra cream and one splenda. I used to do the whole “skim milk” thing, but I assure you it is well worth the extra 45 calories to treat yourself.
Imagine my delight to find out that one of my favorite things actually has some great health benefits! Although studies have not identified a cause and effect relationship, here are some positive outcomes associated with enjoying your cup of Joe:
- A longer life - According to a May 2012 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, those who drank coffee at the beginning of a 13-year study had a slightly lower risk of death
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes - In a 2009 study, the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that people who drank the most coffee seemed to have the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk of Parkinson’s & dementia (including Alzheimers) - Coffee, Alzheimer's & Parkinson's Disease Facts | Coffee ...
- Lower risk of stroke - Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that women in the study who drank more than a cup of coffee a day had a 22% to 25% lower risk of stroke
- Decreased risk of liver cirrhosis & cancer - Coffee intake is associated with lower rates of liver disease
- Less depression - A study out of the Harvard School of Public Health, which looked at 50,739 women over the course of three decades, found that a female's risk of depression goes down as her caffeine consumption goes up
As with everything, moderation is best. Harvard Health Publications has reported that there seems to be a tipping point where excessive coffee consumption can actually be associated with cardiovascular problems including increased heart rate or blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. It can also lead to higher calorie consumption, trouble sleeping, and some extra trips to the potty.
“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
By Meri Mayes, Owner - Iron Physical Therapy