Hopefully, you’re not stressing over the coffee controversy. Some say it’s good for you—others say coffee is unhealthy. Science generally says it’s nothing to worry about. Just don’t count on it to save your life.
Caffeinated coffee, in particular, causes some people concern. Caffeine, known for its stimulating and energizing effects, can present danger in high doses. Caffeine tolerance is highly individualized, and it’s unlikely that a couple of cups of java each day will cause you any harm.
Of course, there are caveats. If you notice that too much caffeine makes it hard to sleep or makes you anxious, cut back. How much caffeine you drink, and when you drink it is easy to manipulate. Some people may have to stop at one cup of coffee, while others may be able to take back five with no side effects.
But what about overall health? Studies suggest that caffeinated coffee does not raise the risk of developing high blood pressure or exacerbate existing heart conditions.
Drinking coffee is even associated with several health benefits. These include a lower risk for heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and liver disease.
A recent review published in the New England Journal of Medicine reinforced these findings. The findings are associations between coffee and the conditions and do not prove that specifically drinking coffee makes a person healthier.
Not all coffee, of course, is created equal. A recent study found that unfiltered coffee, like espresso or French pressed, may lead to a slight boost in cholesterol.
Adding a ton of sugar and cream to coffee can also eliminate any health benefits. The summer Frappuccino and other specialty coffee drinks are more like a milkshake than a cup of coffee.
Even if you take your coffee black, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be healthy. At the end of the day, black coffee may offer some benefits, but you should drink it more for enjoyment than disease prevention.
Coffee is just one element of a healthy diet and lifestyle. It’s antioxidant profile and caffeine may have protective benefits, but it is not the be-all-end-all of maintaining a healthy heart or liver.