90% of adult Americans enjoy at least one daily cup of coffee. That morning cup of joe is a tradition, just like baseball or your childhood photos with your local mall Santa.
But… is your coffee wrecking your health? (Spoiler: probably not.)
Is coffee good for you?Coffee can be both healthy and unhealthy, and not all coffees are equal. The coffee you drink and the way you prepare it have a lot to do with whether coffee is bad for you or not.
We break down the benefits and drawbacks for you, along with great options for more conscientious coffee drinkers.
7 Health Benefits of Coffee
Despite the negative press that coffee can receive, there are multiple ways that your daily coffee intake can benefit your health. Believe the hype — here’s how caffeinated coffee may actually be good for you.
1. Lowers Cancer Risks
Your daily coffee may lower the risk of not just one, but several types of cancer. Daily coffee drinkers have:
- A 20% lower chance of prostate cancer for men
- A 25% decreased risk of endometrial cancer for women
- 40% less likelihood of liver cancer (as well as reduced chances of liver disease)
- A lower chance of developing basal cell carcinoma (emerging data finds that caffeine may help to prevent this type of skin cancer)
To get these benefits, participants drank roughly 4 cups of coffee a day. If anyone questions your coffee habit, tell them it’s for your health!
2. Accelerates Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose weight, this is one tasty way to do it. Coffee contains potassium and magnesium, which positively influence insulin levels and keep unhealthy cravings at bay, both of which support weight loss.
3. Improves Physical Performance
Your coffee is about to be your newest gym buddy. Drinking a cup of coffee an hour before working out could increase your performance by 11-12%. That’s because coffee amplifies our adrenaline levels, improving the body’s response times and boosting heart rate.
4. Balances Blood Sugar
Long-term caffeine consumption is linked to a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. It’s known to decrease insulin sensitivity and impair the body’s tolerance to glucose. (Just be sure not to pair it with sugar-filled creamers!)
The effects are undeniable: One study showed that for each daily cup of coffee, each daily cup of coffee reduced the risk of diabetes by 7%.
5. Protects Against Chronic Diseases
Regular coffee consumption shields the body against many different diseases and conditions.
- Coffee consumption can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease by up to 58% and protect against nerve cell damage.
- Regularly drinking 2-4 cups of coffee a day can decrease the risk of stroke in women by 38%.
- Drinking 3-5 eight-ounce cups daily may cut the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by a stunning 65% over the long term.
Not only does coffee decrease your chances of developing these health conditions, but a cup of coffee is also packed with antioxidants. These chemicals protect against the free radicals that contribute to heart disease, cancer, and more.
6. Increases Focus
Whether you’re writing a term paper or gearing up for your best golf game, a cup of black coffee is almost guaranteed to increase your ability to focus.
Studies show that caffeine consumption can increase cognitive speed during test-taking.
7. Boosts Mood
If you’re in a funk, caffeine may be able to improve your mood. Caffeine kickstarts a party for your nervous system and neurotransmitters. It’s known for boosting dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline levels and elevating your overall mood.
The effects of coffee are so powerful; it’s been proven to reduce the risk of suicide by about 50%.
Drawbacks of Drinking Coffee
Is coffee bad for you?For most people, regular coffee consumption is not bad for their health. But while the health benefits of coffee are far-ranging, there can still be drawbacks from consuming caffeinated beverages in some cases.
The disadvantages of drinking coffee are possible digestive issues, increased anxiety, potential toxicity, poor sleep, and heart health concerns. It’s important to note, though, that most of these are both rare and avoidable.
1. Can Aggravate Gut Issues
This is one of the most discussed side effects of drinking coffee: The acidity can cause heartburn, stomach discomfort, and even some digestive conditions. Ouch!
To avoid this, consider drinking coffee with food, not an empty stomach. You can also try a low-roast coffee that’s less acidic than conventional brands.
In fact, that’s why Golden Ratio was founded — to bring low-roast coffee to the world, showcasing incredible flavors with five times less acidity than traditional black coffee. We provide beans without the burn.
2. May Promote Anxiety
For some people, caffeine may increase feelings of anxiety. The “caffeine jitters” may turn into more severe nerves for specific individuals.
We love hearing reviews from our customers that our gold roast coffee doesn’t cause the same anxiousness as other coffee beans, despite being 50% higher in caffeine content.
That said, if you have existing anxiety issues or are under the age of 18, it’s usually best to drink coffee in moderation. Stick to a cup or less per day, and pay attention to how it impacts your mood.
3. Toxicity Concerns
Bad beans can lead to a concerning cup of coffee. The primary concern is with pesticides used in growing many lower-quality coffee beans. Pesticides have been connected to serious health concerns like nerve damage, reproductive issues, skin irritation, and higher cancer risks.
Hence our reasoning for choosing coffee only from ethically sourced, organic providers that pay the farmers fairly for the beans they grow for Golden Ratio. Better quality coffee beans mean healthier coffee.
4. Decreases Sleep Quality
Caffeine intake later in the day can hurt sleep quality. Research recommends stopping any coffee consumption at least 6 hours before bedtime for optimal sleep. If you simply need another cup in the evening, try decaf.
5. May Impact Heart Health
While coffee may benefit many aspects of health, there are some concerns about its effects on the heart:
- Cafestol, a chemical found in coffee, may raise LDL cholesterol levels, and therefore, the risk of heart disease.
- While the rise in blood pressure that caffeine triggers is minimal for most people, coffee may not be a good choice for people who already have high blood pressure.
- Some people with a specific genetic code (the CYP1A2*1F allele) may take a longer time metabolizing caffeine. These individuals have a greater risk of non-fatal heart attacks and high blood pressure than other people when drinking coffee.
The bottom line on the disadvantages of coffee: Unless you have preexisting concerns like high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, certain genetic codes, or high blood pressure, drinking coffee should be a fairly safe bet.
How To Get the Most Benefits From Your Coffee
Not all coffee variations have the same benefits. In fact, what you drink as your “regular coffee” is very important.
Instant coffee, espresso-based drinks like lattes, and icy drinks like frappuccinos are usually not health-conscious choices. They’re typically filled with sugars and additives that overwhelm coffee’s antioxidants and nutrients (although there are many healthful replacements for traditional cream and sugar).
No judgment here, but there are better alternatives!
Additionally, unfiltered coffee like French press or Turkish coffee is much more likely to raise your LDL cholesterol than filtered varieties because of high levels of the compound homocysteine.
To get the most benefits from your coffee, choose a brand that is:
- Low acidity, preventing discomfort
- Organically grown, to skip the pesticides
- Not packaged in plastic, avoiding unwanted chemicals
If you want to go the extra mile, pick a more eco-conscious brand.
These were some of the guideposts for us as we created Golden Ratio, a low-acidity, organically grown and packaged, sugar-free, more planet-friendly cup of coffee.
How much coffee is too much?
Unfortunately, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Most doctors agree that up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is OK, which comes out to roughly 4 cups of coffee.
Consistently drinking an amount of caffeine over this number may start to cause negative effects. Opt for decaffeinated coffee after your fourth cup of the day. (If you’re learning that you need to cut back, go slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms).
Who shouldn’t drink coffee?
Most experts agree that pregnant women should avoid caffeine. Additionally, breastfeeding moms or those trying to conceive should keep their intake below 200 mg daily (that’s 2 cups, for those wondering).
Additionally, people with high cholesterol or heart concerns should probably steer clear of coffee, particularly unfiltered varieties, as well as individuals who find it affects their anxiety. And finally, if you happen to have the CYP1A2*1F allele, decaf may be your new friend.
Drink coffee that’s good for you.
We’ve debunked the myth: In most cases, coffee isn’t bad for you and boasts quite a few health benefits from cancer prevention to boosting mental health.
Hey, you’ve just done some serious coffee research. You clearly care about your coffee, where it comes from, and how it affects your body. Good for you!
Why don’t you let us take it from here? We’d love to send our coffee straight to your doorstep every month. Enough talking about coffee; try a lighter brew for a golden you.
- Coffee consumption and prostate cancer risk and progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study
- Coffee consumption and the risk of primary liver cancer: pooled analysis of two prospective studies in Japan
- Coffee, caffeine, and the risk of liver cirrhosis
- Increased Caffeine Intake Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma of the Skin
- Magnesium and potassium in diabetes and carbohydrate metabolism. Review of the present status and recent results
- Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers
- Effects of caffeine ingestion on exercise testing: a meta-analysis
- Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance
- Coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis
- Caffeine Intake and Dementia: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Synergistic neuroprotection by coffee components eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide and caffeine in models of Parkinson's disease and DLB
- Relationship between coffee consumption and stroke risk in Korean population: the Health Examinees (HEXA) Study
- Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer's disease
- The Antioxidant Content of Coffee and Its In Vitro Activity as an Effect of Its Production Method and Roasting and Brewing Time
- Effect of Caffeine on Attention and Alertness Measured in a Home-Setting, Using Web-Based Cognition Tests
- Coffee, caffeine, and risk of completed suicide: results from three prospective cohorts of American adults
- Neuropsychiatric effects of caffeine
- Chemical Pesticides and Human Health: The Urgent Need for a New Concept in Agriculture
- Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed
- Possible mechanisms underlying the cholesterol-raising effect of the coffee diterpene cafestol
- Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction
- CYP1A2 genotype modifies the association between coffee intake and the risk of hypertension