Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. In the US, 64% of adults report drinking at least one cup of coffee per day. That’s a lot of coffee!
Many people choose coffee as their drink of choice for the wakefulness they experience due to the effects of caffeine. But how does all this coffee effect our health? As it turns out, coffee may actually have other important benefits than just getting us going in the morning.
A number of recent studies have focused on the protective effects of coffee for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Habitual coffee consumption has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular death and associated adverse outcomes such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and stroke.
Interestingly, healthy men and women from the ages 55-74 who consumed greater or equal to 2 cups of coffee a day showed about a 25% lower risk of CVD for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
Regular coffee consumption also appears to protect against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies suggest it may even lower the risk of liver disease and cancer.
So what’s the secret?
Coffee is rich in polyphenols. These bioactive compounds act as potent antioxidants and help improve glucose metabolism and vascular function. One polyphenol in particular, chlorogenic acid, significantly reduces chronic inflammation.
That being said, excessive coffee consumption has also been associated with developing insomnia, anxiety, headaches and palpitations, largely due to the high caffeine content. For some people, large doses of caffeine will wreak havoc on their adrenals and lead to chronically elevated cortisol levels.
So what are my recommendation?
• Do not drink caffeinated coffee after 2pm.
• Some cream (or grass-fed butter) is ok, stay away from adding granulated sugar.
• Be mindful of your caffeine intake.
• Buy “washed” instead of “natural process” coffee beans
• Look for high quality coffee beans from Central America, grown at high altitude.
Last step: Enjoy your morning coffee guilt free. You may even notice a boost in energy and greater focus throughout the day.
van Dongen LH, Mölenberg FJ, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Kromhout D, Geleijnse JM. Coffee consumption after myocardial infarction and risk of cardiovascular mortality: a prospective analysis in the Alpha Omega Cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017 Oct 1;106(4):1113-20.
Grosso G, Micek A, Godos J, Sciacca S, Pajak A, Martínez-González MA, Giovannucci EL, Galvano F. Coffee consumption and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in smokers and non-smokers: A dose-response meta-analysis.
O’Keefe JH, DiNicolantonio JJ, Lavie CJ. Coffee for cardioprotection and longevity. Progress in cardiovascular diseases. 2018 Feb 21.