For years, researchers have studied the link between coffee and health. Pregnant women were once advised against drinking it, and coffee was once linked with heart disease and cancer. However, new studies have indicated that there are many health benefits of coffee, and that (in moderation) coffee may actually be as good for you as green tea.
The Link Between Coffee and Health
The health benefits of coffee are due to its high level of antioxidants, healthy compounds that help the body fight off disease. The types of antioxidants found in coffee are similar to the ones found in chocolate, tea and red wine.
Researchers have found that coffee drinking is associated with lower risk of the following diseases:
- Colon cancer
- Liver disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Type II diabetes.
The caffeine in coffee also provides a boost in energy. In fact, athletes have reported increased endurance after drinking coffee.
Finally, coffee is an excellent diet-friendly beverage, as long as you don’t add cream or sugar to it. An 8-oz. cup of black coffee only has 2 calories.
Drinking Coffee for Health
Of course, as with most food and beverages, moderation is key. Since coffee does contain caffeine, it’s not a great idea to drink too much. Excessive caffeine is linked to heart disease and elevations in cholesterol levels, especially in people who have a common genetic mutation that prevents the body from metabolizing caffeine quickly. In addition, too much caffeine can cause sleeping problems or increase anxiety levels. And coffee can be a very unhealthy beverage if you take it with too much cream and sugar.
Pregnant women in particular should reduce or eliminate the amount of coffee they drink. Studies have indicated that drinking just two cups of coffee per day increases the risk of miscarriage by as much as 50 percent. Nursing mothers should also be aware that the caffeine they consume is transferred to their babies through their breast milk.