If you have ever been told to avoid coffee then chances are that you are not alone. For years coffee has featured as a drink where there has been no real consensus as to its benefits or hazards. Finally, the experts may just have agreed that for once drinking coffee is beneficial to health. Here’s the lowdown on the key facts.
At one time people were told to avoid drinking coffee. That opinion is changing fast thanks to some emergent research that shows just how beneficial this can be. Of course if you start drinking a calorie laden latte each day you’ll put on weight. But there are benefits to that morning coffee. One of the strongest pieces of evidence comes from a meta-analysis of the studies of long term coffee consumption and the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers reviewed 36 studies into the subject that had a combined cohort of 1,270,000 people. The results showed overall that moderate coffee drinkers consuming 3-5 cups a day had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, those who drank more than 5 cups of coffee a day were at no more risk of developing problems that those with a lower consumption.
Another study reviewed the connections to heart failure and coffee consumption. In the meta analysis the people drinking around 4 cups a day were seen as low risk and a consumption of around 10 coffees daily was associated with problems. The studies do not suggest by any means that drinking more coffee will lower the risk of heart disease. They simply mean that a moderate coffee consumption was not seen as influencing the development of cardiovascular disease. Obesity is associated with heart disease however, and the calorie packed latte style coffees with cream are potentially hazardous if consumed in excess. Some have a calorie count of 800 calories with some high cream varieties topping 1700. That’s where a big risk is likely to occur when drinking coffee to excess.
Coffee drinking has also been associated with cancer. However recent meta analyses of the research have shown that this is not the case. Take prostate cancer. The research studies here did not associated coffee consumption with a higher risk of developing the disease. In fact drinking a moderate amount of coffee was linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. Drinking 2 cups of coffee a day was also associated with a 40% lower risk of developing lung cancer. Similar results were found for breast cancer and there is a link that a moderate coffee consumption habit can reduce the overall incidence of cancer. In 2005 a research study into type two diabetes found there was less risk of developing the disease in moderate coffee drinkers. With similar results in liver disease there are patterns emerging. Other lifestyle factors would need to be considered such as smoking but that moderate coffee drinking habit is not considered bad for your health. Whilst no one would want to see coffee given to children in large amounts or excess cups being drinking this is a classic case where a little in moderation does you good.