Is Coffee Really Bad for You?

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My favorite coffee cup.

Throughout the years I have heard from some of my patients: “I’m trying to eat really healthy now, I even gave up coffee.” In my head I’m thinking I never thought coffee was so bad for your health, so I decided to do some research. Of course, I always want to read what Dr. Mercola has to say first, as he is my go to researcher. He has written several articles about the health effects of coffee. Interestingly enough, in the past, he recommended not to drink coffee, but in his recent articles he shows new research that supports the health benefits of coffee. In this blog I will summarize the pros and cons of drinking coffee referencing Dr. Mercola’s article “Mounting Evidence Suggests Coffee May Actually Have Therapeutic Health Benefits.”
Here’s the verdict: there are some therapeutic benefits to drinking coffee BUT it depends on how the coffee is processed, prepared and what is put in it. Healthwise, coffee contains vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and bioflavonoids. There is quite a bit of recent studies that show that coffee in moderation can help reduce your risks of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimers. Other studies show that coffee can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s, help keep muscles and other tissues youthful, decrease depression, and increase cognitive function. The above mentioned article, has a chart of studies supporting the therapeutic benefits of coffee.
First off, it is best to buy dark roast, whole bean, organic coffee. As a side note, the darker the roast, the lower the caffeine content. Espresso actually has less caffeine than regular drip coffee. Coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides. My family buys our organic coffee inexpensively at Costco. You want to brew your coffee with a non- bleached coffee filter. Finally, drink your coffee either black or with raw or organic milk. I call this drinking coffee the “clean” way. Never use sugar because it lowers your immune system and contributes to poor cardiovascular health. Never drink flavored coffee because the flavoring is usually artificial. Remember too, the fancy drinks at cafes are loaded with calories mainly from sugar. The main con to drinking coffee is that it contains caffeine which is a stimulant drug and is habit forming. Coffee should NEVER be consumed by a pregnant women because the caffeine goes to the placenta and can be harmful to the growing fetus. If coffee makes you feel awful, my advise would be to not drink it at all or limit its use, because I always think you should listen to your body. Other negatives are; that some people have a hard time sleeping at night if they drink coffee too late in the day, coffee is stressful to your adrenal glands, especially if you suffer from adrenal depletion, it is a diuretic and therefore it is not good for people who have issues with electrolyte imbalance. Some studies also showed a mild increase in cholesterol with drinking unfiltered coffee. In summary, in healthy, non pregnant individuals who drink their coffee “clean” and in moderation, the benefits outweigh the risks.