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The Health Benefits of Coffee

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Cup of black coffee on a saucerOpinions about coffee are just like the beverage itself — they’re served either hot or cold but never tepid. And people who love their coffee really, really love it. No wonder it’s the most popular item consumed at breakfast in the United States.

Recently, I was speaking with my physician who warned me that coffee could be triggering my heartburn. I worriedly asked if I should give up my daily cup. His response: “I would never ask you to do that, but as with all things in life, moderation is key.”

Health effects of coffee
And this seems to be very true when it comes to coffee, especially from a nutritional perspective. Studies show that the antioxidants in coffee can inhibit the development of gallstones, cavities, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

Plus, there’s more good news. No scientific evidence has linked caffeine to developing any of the following health risks:

  • cancer (any type);
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • ulcers;
  • inflammatory bowel disease;
  • fibrocystic breast disease (benign fibrous lumps);
  • birth defects; or
  • infertility.

How much coffee should you drink per day?
Most healthy adults can enjoy 200 – 300 mg of caffeine daily without any health problems. This is equal to 2 or 3 cups of coffee. Pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to the equivalent of 1 to 2 cups of coffee daily. When breastfeeding, women should limit coffee consumption to under 3 cups per day. Consuming more may lead to these negative health effects:

  • The daily consumption of caffeinated drinks can increase blood sugar levels and cause problems for people with diabetes.
  • Caffeine is a diuretic and can cause dehydration.
  • Caffeine can prevent some from falling asleep, and interferes with deep sleep, which can lead to fatigue during the day.

Who should avoid coffee?
Some folks are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine due to their individual body chemistries and should avoid caffeine altogether, especially if they:

  • Have jitters, nervousness, trembling, irritability, or can’t sleep.
  • Have migraine headaches.
  • Have heartburn and peptic ulcers.
  • Have anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Are prone to depression.
  • Take antidepressant medications (caffeine can make some antidepressant medicines less effective).

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