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Preventive Health

Coffee: Does Your Body Good?

April 22, 2011

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-coach and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Coffee has long been one of my favorite indulgences. Actually, let’s be honest. I can’t get through my day without visiting Starbucks. Even so…my sipping usually comes with a teeny bit of guilt.

Reasonable? Turns out, probably not. In fact, it looks like I just might be doing myself some good with my daily dose.

There’s a growing body of research showing a boatload of benefits to coffee. I’ve been sifting through the evidence lately, and here’s the roundup:

  • Coffee appears to be good for your brain. It decreases the risks of Parkinson’s and dementia, including Alzheimers.
  • It’s good for your cardiovascular health. Seems coffee decreases your risks of stroke and cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal rhythms of the heart).
  • Coffee helps prevent cancer. There’s evidence for prevention of the following types of cancer: bladder, breast, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, liver, leukemia, pancreatic, prostate, oral cancers.

Prevention of dementia, strokes, and cancer? And all while enjoying my morning coffee? Me likey.

So what’s the deal? What makes coffee health food suddenly? The experts point to the multitude of phytochemicals in brewed coffee. Certainly there are plenty of antioxidants: polyphenols, flavonoids, and chlorogenic acid. Researchers have also isolated diterpenes in coffee, compounds known to be anticarcinogenic. What about the caffeine itself? More study is needed, but it looks like caffeine is one of the components that helps with brain health. For the other health benefits, it seems decaf might do the same job as full-caff versions.

What are the negatives? Well, if you overcaffeinate (more than 4 cups a day) your bone density can suffer. Coffee also increases heartburn, and worsens stomach conditions like ulcers. It also depends how you take your coffee: If you dump a whole lotta sugar in your cup, you’re going to be negating many of the health benefits. And if you’re pregnant? While studies suggest one cup a day is okay, more than that might increase your risk of miscarriage.

Bottom line: like so many things, don’t overdo it.

Vitamin Coffee? Drink up.

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