There is a constant barrage of opposing studies and articles, duelling each other over whether coffee is good for us or not. It seems that the result is often the same. These articles are merely a point of reference for friendly arguments between coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers. A couple of words stand out after each barrage has settled. Balance & moderation.
Coffee is made up of many compounds. The most famous being caffeine. Caffeine directly stimulates our nervous system, making us more alert and focused. Too much can make you anxious and shaky, as well as increasing our adrenaline, tricking our bodies into a ‘fight or flight’ state. This is why excessive coffee drinking can be dangerous to those with already high blood pressure.
However, caffeine isn’t the only compound that is found within coffee. Polyphenols are another one that has quite the opposite effect of caffeine. They actually can decrease blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risks. If you are an avid coffee drinker but are worried about your health (well, first consult your healthcare professional), try to go for lighter roasts as these contain the highest levels of polyphenols. Doctors also recommend not to drink more than two cups in one hour and never go above six cups per day.
A survey was conducted in the UK, that examined health records and diets of 350, 000 people aged between 37 and 73. Results showed that participants who drank six or more cups of coffee per day were 22% more likely to develop heart disease. The World Health Organisation lists cardiovascular disease as the leading global cause of death, despite its preventability. But researchers of the survey found that decaf drinkers and non-coffee drinkers weren’t that much better off. Heart disease increased by 7% for decaf drinkers and 11% for non-coffees drinkers.
The bigger picture
This just goes to show that coffee is but a minuscule part of our overall diet. Yes, people need to be aware of the health issues that can potentially cause and moderate their consumption. But health needs to be looked at as a whole. Physical, mental, emotional. Exercise regularly, clear your head and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Potentially why we are seeing so many health concerns about coffee, is because it’s so popular not because it is detrimental to our health. (Although it can be).