Recently a patient asked me: “Is it OK if I drink coffee?” Since I drink coffee a couple times a week, I didn’t see any harm in it, but I wasn’t sure if there was a nutritional benefit, so I did some research. This article will discuss nutritional benefits of moderate coffee drinking.
Coffee is one of the most popular and consumed beverages on the planet. I found that there is quite a bit of scientific documentation on the benefits of drinking coffee. Most of the studies noted that moderate coffee drinking (one to three cups/day) was optimal. However, some showed that drinking more than 3 cups a day was even better.
I was surprised to find a 2015 study showing the association of coffee consumption (decaffeinated and caffeinated) linked to increased life longevity. The study included tens of thousands of men and women and found that regular coffee drinkers (one to five cups a day) had less risk for an early death. I found it interesting that those who consumed more than 5 cups of coffee a day did not necessarily show increased longevity.
The Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, September 2020 found that caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seem to benefit patients with colorectal cancer. This study of 1171 patients tracked their coffee consumption for five years. It was observed that those who consumed 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day had not only an increased survival rate but that their cancer was less likely to progress.
In 2019 scientists used MRIs of the brain to look for amyloid plaque build-up, which is a feature found in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study involving 411 seniors, without cognitive impairment, found that those consuming two or more cups of coffee per day had lower brain levels of amyloid. This suggests a reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
There were also studies showing that moderate coffee drinking may benefit those with type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease.
I believe everyone should take these findings and adapt them to their personal preferences and benefit. I know that if I drink coffee every day I do not do well. I get jittery, and don’t sleep well.
I seem to do just fine with green tea (which has its own benefits) and alternate days of coffee with days of tea. I also periodically like to take some days without any caffeine consumption.
Take this article and utilize it in whatever way you feel is optimal for you. Don’t be afraid to do your own research on the benefits of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Also, if you are interested in other topics on nutrition there is a plethora of science research that you can investigate. Have fun with it!