If you’re like me, your day doesn’t really start until you’ve had your first cup of coffee. There’s just something about the rich taste and aroma of coffee that helps get me going in the morning.
My love for coffee started many years ago when I was a kid (to my husband’s horror). Growing up in a Hispanic household, everyone drank coffee – even the little ones. I remember having my own taza (coffee cup) at my grandmother’s house for café con leche (coffee with milk). Back then, it made me feel like one of the adults; now, it’s a part of my daily routine. I can’t imagine starting a day without it!
The one small problem with that is that I married a non-coffee drinker (they do exist!) who likes to criticize my java obsession as unhealthy every opportunity he gets, which is basically every day. While I beg to differ with my dear husband, let’s see if science can settle our debate – once and for all.
Pros and Cons of Coffee Consumption
Like most things in life, you may have heard that coffee is good for you one day and bad for you the next. So what does the research show?
Studies have shown that coffee does offer some potential health perks:
- Coffee drinkers, compared to non-coffee drinkers, are less likely to have Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee consumption seems to offer a protective effect against liver disease, including liver cancer.
- Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
- Other health benefits of coffee include increased alertness, reduced asthma symptoms, and reduced gallstone formation.
- Coffee drinking has been linked to decreased overall mortality.
On the other hand, there are some potential side effects and health concerns linked with coffee consumption:
- Too much coffee can make you anxious or jittery; it can also cause insomnia, frequent urination, and upset stomach.
- Coffee can increase blood pressure in some people; drinking unfiltered coffee may raise cholesterol levels.
- Coffee contains acids that can aggravate heartburn in people who are predisposed to those conditions. The acid in coffee may also stain your teeth and weaken your tooth enamel.
- Drinking caffeinated coffee may weaken bones, leading to osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.
Bottom line: While there is evidence that some people may experience side effects from coffee, there is also good evidence that it has overall health benefits. Coffee consumption is considered safe for most adults as long as you don’t experience side effects, so do what works best for you and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
While this doesn’t resolve the coffee debate between my husband and me, we have decided to call a truce – for now!