In the last couple of years, you may have heard a lot of new information in the media and other health news outlets about how coffee drinking can actually be beneficial. In the past we’ve all been lectured that drinking coffee every day is bad – that it may cause cancer, heart disease, and that it’s generally just bad for your body. So, why the sudden change in rhetoric?
It turns out that viable, long-term studies have been conducted on the effects of coffee drinking by the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Cancer Institute. These studies involved around 130,000 volunteers over a period of 18-24 years. Many other studies have been conducted on the antioxidant properties of coffee and coffee’s effects on various illnesses.
Why Studies Have Changed
In the past, studies conducted on coffee drinkers didn’t take into account other lifestyle factors that were common at the time: smoking cigarettes and a lack of exercise. In the not too distant past, smoking was commonplace, especially with a morning cup of joe. And who were those people smoking cigarettes and drinking cups of coffee all morning? Mostly office workers who sat at their desks all day every day. Not too long ago, exercise for those with a sedentary lifestyle was not promoted or encouraged nearly as much as it is now. What’s changed is the way people live and work, and this alone has led to revelations in clinical studies of coffee drinkers. Now that smoking is mostly banished in the workplace and exercise is encouraged by employers, health professionals, insurance companies, friends, and family, the only thing that remains is the coffee, and these people are doing just fine, even better, perhaps, than those who aren’t drinking coffee.
The long-term Harvard study revealed that people who drank coffee regularly, up to six cups a day in some cases, weren’t dying of cancer or heart disease any more than other people. In fact there were even less deaths among these people, but more studies need to be done to confirm any link between coffee and a lower risk for heart disease. Research also suggests that coffee may help to prevent Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression and liver cirrhosis.
When Coffee Can Be Bad
Coffee affects everyone differently. Coffee and caffeine can be bad for people with high blood pressure, caffeine sensitivities, anxiety, or people who already have diabetes. A combination of coffee and sugar causes blood glucose levels to rise in the short-term. For those sensitive to caffeine who would still like to consume coffee, decaffeinated coffee is an option. Caffeine is far from being the only component in this beverage that makes a difference in your body. And just like anything else, all things in moderation. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Stick to about two cups a day to reap the benefits of coffee.
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