To Drink or Not to Drink: The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee

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It’s estimated that people around the world drink 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day.

While drinking coffee is basically an American pastime, so is debating about whether it’s good for you or if it’s harmful to your health.

Recent research has found that coffee can be linked to many positive health effects. Do the benefits outweigh the risks, though?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of drinking coffee.

Pros

Why should you drink coffee?

Countless studies have been done trying to understand the potential health benefits and risks of coffee. The moderate coffee drinker will be pleased to learn that there are indeed many pros of drinking coffee.

Of course, adding lots of sugar to your coffee can have its own negative health effects. Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about the benefits of bulletproof coffee instead of drowning your cup of joe in cream and sugar.

Coffee May Benefit Your Heart Health

During one of the longest-running and largest studies in the United States, the heart health and eating patterns of more than 15,000 participants were tracked since the 1940s.

As a result of this study, an association was found between drinking coffee and a decreased risk of stroke, heart failure, and coronary heart disease.

Several other studies have found positive correlations between drinking coffee and heart health.

Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

One study indicated that consuming more than one cup of coffee a day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 11%.

Another study agreed that coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes. They attributed this to the presence of a bioactive compound in coffee named cafestol.

Coffee May Reduce Incidence of Neurodegenerative Diseases

The occurrence of diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia might be decreased by regular coffee consumption.

One study by the Honolulu Heart Program found a direct correlation between a significantly lower occurrence of Parkinson’s Disease and higher coffee consumption. Another study by McGill University indicated that the tremors caused by Parkinson’s Disease might be reduced by drinking coffee.

Moderate coffee drinking, which is defined as having between one and five cups a day, has also been correlated with a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Coffee May Protect Against Liver Cancer

Several studies have found that drinking coffee might reduce the risk of both cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Cons

While all that sounds like good reasons to drink coffee, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a downside to this popular beverage. Let’s take a look at the cons of drinking coffee.

Coffee May Fuel Your Anxiety

The stimulating effect of caffeine speeds up your bodily functions. It isn’t uncommon when you drink coffee to experience a faster breathing rate, a faster heart rate, and your body heating up.

These sensations are similar to those that one might feel when experiencing anxiety. It’s not necessarily easy for your brain to make the distinction.

Not everyone experiences the effects of coffee drinking the same way. People who are sensitive to its effects might have an increased risk of experiencing panic attacks and anxiety.

Caffeine Can Interact With Some Medications

If you’re prescribed medications that you take regularly, it’s possible that combining those pills with caffeine could have negative effects.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about possible contraindications with the medicines you’re taking.

Coffee May Increase Your Blood Sugar Levels

Though coffee might reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, drinking coffee might make it more difficult for people who already have this condition to manage their insulin levels.

Coffee May Increase the Risk of Heart Disease in Certain People

Even though many studies have found positive correlations between coffee drinking and heart health, these results may not apply to everyone.

There’s a fairly common genetic mutation that causes some people to metabolize coffee more slowly. For people with this genetic mutation, drinking two or more cups of coffee a day might put them at a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Coffee May Have a Negative Impact on Your Sleep Habits

Depending on what time of day you drink your coffee and how many cups you have, coffee can negatively affect sleep in a number of ways.

There’s a correlation between daily caffeine intake and a reduction in sleep quality. Not only that but drinking coffee can also lead to sleeping for a shorter length of time. If you find that you wake up frequently throughout the night, caffeine could be the culprit.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee

If you’re wondering “should I drink coffee?”, the answer is, it depends.

While the benefits of drinking coffee is a long list, that doesn’t mean drinking coffee is necessarily right for you.

It’s important to recognize that different people respond to coffee differently. While one person might have a fine time drinking three cups of coffee a day, another might feel increasingly anxious after just a couple of sips.

The only way to know whether or not drinking coffee is right for you is to pay attention to how it affects you. If you have existing health conditions or take any medications, talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s a good idea for you to drink coffee regularly.

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