We’re no doubt all familiar with this question. With the churning of articles making various, contradictory claims about the magical substance to fill news bulletins, there will never be an absolute conclusion. One day it’s good for your heart, the next day over-consumption may be a risk factor for cancer. Us avid coffee consumers are forever wanting to solve the mystery to try and justify our caffeine-guzzling ways. We’ve done our research to add our two cents to the discussion.
Is coffee good for you?
A large umbrella study has had a look at all the other studies to come up with the biggest study of coffee. Well, perhaps not, but the study reviewed 112 analyses from observational studies that had been conducted around the effects of coffee and caffeine. Conducted by a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Catania in Italy, the study focuses more on the effects of caffeine. As caffeine raises blood pressure, it is often scrutinised for having a link to cardiovascular diseases. This study has gathered evidence from a number of other studies conducted around the links between caffeine and health issues such as cardiovascular disease and cancers.
So what were the findings? Overall, the study found that drinking coffee was associated with a decreased risk of a number of cancers, including breast, colon, colorectal, endometrial and prostate. It was also linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
So, to summarise, we cannot conclude absolutely that coffee is deemed as “good for you”. The study does state, however, based on the amount of diseases that it has been seen to reduce the risk of, that coffee can be classified as being part of a healthy diet.
Other benefits of drinking coffee
There are also other benefits of drinking coffee that are not necessarily disease-prevention related that may convince you to drink a daily cup of java.
Caffeine being a stimulant, it has bee proven that drinking a cup of coffee will improve various brain functions, including the obvious energy levels, mood, memory and general cognitive function. Got a morning meeting at work? Down that coffee and you’ll have a solid brainstorming session.
Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system and increases adrenaline levels, kicking into gear the “fight or flight” response and preparing the body for more intense physical activity, giving you more energy for your workout. Exercise = healthy, so coffee = healthy, right?
Coffee also contains a whole lot of antioxidants which help to fight disease.
So there you have the maths. With so many benefits, it can be concluded that your daily cup(s) of coffee can be contributing to your overall health. It may still be a little ambiguous, but for now, we’ll take it.