Coffee is an integral part of many people’s diet worldwide. We drink it in the morning to wash away the grogginess and to put our gears in motion. It can also be a warm cup of comfort on a cold day. For some, it’s a ritual, something best enjoyed with a friend as you discuss life and catch up. Beyond that, there are numerous other beneficial aspects of coffee consumption, but are there drawbacks? If so, how detrimental are these and do they outweigh the benefits.
Coffee is best known for its potency as a stimulant and its comforting effect. However, the medical advantages of coffee consumption are quite striking. At its most basic, coffee relieves our weariness and increases our level of alertness. It is among the best sources of antioxidants and has almost no caloric value, which is great for those looking for a low-fat treat. Coffee can be linked to improved blood circulation and a decrease in the likelihood of developing cirrhosis of the liver. Studies have shown a plethora of positive effects for those that imbibe 4-5 cups per day. With that level of coffee consumption you will see a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. You will also enjoy a lower rate of Liver Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, depression and suicide. Despite the enormous boons granted by coffee consumption, there is an argument that too much can be harmful.
Excessive coffee consumption can wreak havoc on your body. Coffee is a great source of caffeine, a substance which is not natural to your body. Essentially this makes coffee a drug in the way it affects you. Depending on your body’s tolerance level drinking too much can cause anxiety, increased heart rate, jitters, and some issues in pregnant women and their babies. Caffeine can funnel through a mother’s body into the placenta where the fetus receives a dose that it isn’t yet able to properly process. Studies show that this increases the likelihood of early and underweight births, as well as, the rate of miscarriages and stillbirths. In order to avoid this issue, it is recommended to avoid excessive coffee throughout pregnancy.
Overall the long-term benefits of coffee consumption outweigh any significant drawbacks. A decreased likelihood of developing certain health issues later in life outshines the risk of incurring jitters and mild anxiety. With a modicum of temperance and attention to your body you can easily mitigate these risks and enjoy the best that coffee has to offer. Of course, if you are having a baby, you are better off safe than sorry. Perhaps 4-5 cups a day isn’t for those looking to lower risk factors during their pregnancy, but a cup here and there will offer a swift and safe boost in alertness and perhaps an excuse to catch up with an old friend.