Is Coffee Actually Bad For You?

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I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a morning coffee. I mean my morning routine is built around the stuff. With military precision.

The thing is, I still see so much chatter online about how ‘terrible’ coffee is for our health. Now, leaving people who are highly caffeine sensitive or the small number of people who are coffee allergic out of the picture, this notion that it is bad is absolute nonsense. In actual fact, there is a great deal of data to show that coffee is actually an incredibly healthy beverage!

To start with there is a growing body of evidence that coffee can reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. A meta analysis by Carlstrom & Larsson (2018), appeared to show that with each cup of coffee consumed daily, there is a 6% reduction in risk. Bear in mind though this is all relative to what else you do!

Secondly it appears that coffee consumption has been associated with reduced cognitive decline and dementia risk. Chen et al (2020) found that there was particular benefit in women who had a moderate intake of coffee. So what could deliver this benefit? Well, I personally feel that it is related to the polyphenols in coffee. Here in the UK the University of Reading is already showing a strong correlation between polyphenol intake and slowed cognitive decline. This is all due to polyphenols enhancing blood flow to the brain.

Following on from that, there seems to be a notable influence on mood too. A meta analysis of 7 studies, by Wang et al (2018), found that a cup of coffee per day lead to an 8% depression reduction. I can certainly say that a cup of good coffee every day certainly makes my day a little happier!

Now, one benefit that I find interesting is that coffee seems to protect against or at least reduce risk of liver damage. Particularly among alcohol drinkers. Studies such as that by Wadhawan & Anand (2016) have shown that drinking more than 2 cups of coffee per day was linked to reduced rates of liver scarring and slower progression in people with liver disease! It seems that it is the combination of polyphenols and a substance called chlorogenic acid that deliver this benefit.

So if like me, you love to indulge in a couple of cups of quality coffee (no milk and sugar mind you!!) each day, then you can do so in the knowledge that you may well be doing your health some real good!

 

References:

 

Carlström M, Larsson SC. Coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2018 Jun 1;76(6):395-417. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy014. PMID: 29590460.

Chen JQA, Scheltens P, Groot C, Ossenkoppele R. Associations Between Caffeine Consumption, Cognitive Decline, and Dementia: A Systematic Review. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;78(4):1519-1546. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201069. PMID: 33185612; PMCID: PMC7836063.

Wadhawan M, Anand AC. Coffee and Liver Disease. J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2016 Mar;6(1):40-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2016.02.003. Epub 2016 Feb 27. PMID: 27194895; PMCID: PMC4862107.

Wang L, Shen X, Wu Y, Zhang D. Coffee and caffeine consumption and depression: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;50(3):228-42. doi: 10.1177/0004867415603131. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26339067.

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