If someone were to ask me “Is coffee bad for you?” or “Is coffee good for you”, I would say that it has both health benefits as well as negative effects.
For healthy people, I would say that if you like coffee, by all means drink all you want without feeling guilty. Yes, caffeine addiction and caffeine withdrawal symptoms are very real phenomenons that can be quite unpleasant for some people. But remember, coffee is not only a vehicle for caffeine, it has a lot of other components. It’s likely that those other components—such as antioxidants and fiber—account for some of coffee’s health benefits. You always hear about tea, especially green tea, as being a good source of antioxidants, but coffee may be the largest source of antioxidants among people who drink it.
Generally, it may improve mood, alertness, and energy with recent research suggesting that regular coffee consumption may reduce the risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cancer—and regular coffee drinkers might even live longer. So, hmmn, what to do, what to do………
Here is a very well put together list of the pros and cons I found on Hub Pages from Katie B (and you can find quoted studies there:)
• 1. Antioxidants. Coffee is rich in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, a process that causes damage to cells and contributes to aging.
• 2. Parkinson’s disease. Regular coffee drinking reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies have demonstrated that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are significantly less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
• 3. Diabetes. Coffee drinking has the potential to protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. A prospective study as part of the US Nurses Health Study found that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
• 4. Liver cirrhosis. Coffee drinking may protect against liver cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
• 5. Gallstones. There is some evidence that coffee drinking may be protective against gallstone formation in both men and women.
• 6. Kidney stones. Coffee consumption lowers the risk of kidney stones formation. Coffee increases the urine volume, preventing the crystallization of calcium oxalate, the most common component of kidney stones.
• 7. Improved mental performance. Caffeine in coffee is a well-known stimulant. Coffee promotes alertness, attention and wakefulness. The cup of coffee can also increase information processing.
• 8. Alzheimer’s disease. Regular coffee drinking may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Recent study in mice showed that caffeine equivalent to 5 cups of coffee per day reduced the build up of destructive plaques in the brain.
• 9. Asthma. Caffeine in coffee is related to theophylline, an old asthma medication. Caffeine can open airways and improve asthma symptoms.
• 10. Caffeine safety. In 1958, caffeine was placed on the Food and Drug Administration’s list as generally recognized as safe.
• 1. Heart disease. This is somewhat controversial. Most prospective cohort studies haven’t found that coffee consumption is associated with significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
On one hand, diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes. Also, coffee consumption is associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.
• 2. Cholesterol. Heavy consumption of boiled coffee elevates blood total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels . Unfiltered coffee contains two cholesterol-raising compounds cafestol and kahweol.
• 3. Blood vessels. Coffee negatively affects the blood vessel tone and function.
• 4. Heart rhythm disturbances. Coffee can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias).
• 5. Blood pressure. Although coffee drinking is not a significant risk factor for hypertension, it produces unfavorable effects on blood pressure and people prone to hypertension may be more susceptible. A recent Italian study found that coffee drinking can slightly increase the risk for development of sustained hypertension in people with elevated blood pressure.
• 6. Osteoporosis. Coffee intake may induce an extra urinary excretion of calcium. Heavy coffee consumption (600 ml or more) can modestly increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women with a low calcium intake .
• 7. Heartburn. A cup of coffee can trigger the heartburn.
• 8. Sleep. Most are aware of the stimulatory effects of caffeine. High amounts of caffeine taken before going to sleep can cause difficulty falling asleep, tendency to be awakened more readily by sudden noises, and a decreased quality of sleep. However, some people can drink coffee and fall right asleep.
• 9. Dehydration. The caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase urine excretion. This effect may be easily neutralized by drinking an extra glass of water.
• 10. Dependence. Although “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, caffeine is still a drug, a mild central nervous system stimulant, and it produces dependence. Caffeine withdrawal is a real syndrome. You may get a few days of headache and irritability if you choose to quit drinking coffee, however, it is relatively easy to break this habit, and most people are not addicted to caffeine.
In my opinion, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives but every individual should decide for himself, but always be careful of the culprits of cream and sugar!