Health Coach Corner – Coffee. The Good and the Bad.

Are you a coffee drinker? I am sure you have read or heard about the good & bad when it comes to coffee and caffeine. Here are 7 pros & cons of drinking coffee. Do you enjoy a cup or two in the mornings? Or, are you drinking a pot of coffee throughout the day? In my opinion, you can drink coffee – and enjoy it. Just stick to less than 3 cups a day and try drinking it only in the morning hours, so it doesn’t interrupt your sleep at night. Be careful of add-on flavors (sugar high!) and other high calorie or high fat creamers. I like the taste of coffee but I drink mine really weak. I know, this is not for everyone (my husband likes a dark, rich coffee) but I add half hot water to my mug and fill the rest with coffee. So, I have the taste of coffee without all the caffeine or acid. Give it a try! Or, you can switch to green tea or black tea if you are limiting caffeine (both have caffeine but less than a regular cup of coffee).

The Good:
1. Coffee Reduces Your Risk of Diabetes
In a 2005 review of nine studies, researchers found that for those that drank four to six cups of coffee per day, versus only two or fewer, their risk for Type 2 diabetes decreased by almost 30 percent. The number decreased by 35 percent when people drank more than six cups per day. And if you’re picturing yourself running around the office with your eyes bugging out of your head, no worries because caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees provided much the same results.

2. Coffee Fights Free Radicals
We often forget that coffee is actually a plant and like all plant foods, the coffee bean contains more than 1,000 naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help prevent disease.

3. Coffee Improves Memory and Cognition
Researchers reported that volunteers who drank caffeinated coffee in the morning performed better than nondrinkers on tests that involved learning new information. Coffee can also improve cognitive function as we age.

The Bad
4. Coffee Can Increase Osteoporosis
It’s true that coffee can cause the body to excrete calcium in urine. We don’t want the body to rid itself of calcium because this can lead to osteoporosis. According to The Diet Channel, about five milligrams of calcium is lost per every six ounces of coffee consumed. But these calcium losses can be counter balanced with two tablespoons of milk or yogurt per cup of coffee.
5. Coffee Causes Wrinkles
Even though coffee has antioxidants, if you drink too much of it, it can cause wrinkling of the skin. This is a result of dehydration, which is the worst thing for your skin. So when you’re drinking that morning cup or two, make sure that you’re pairing it with water. Even better, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to your water and let them sit for 30 minutes. The chia seeds keep you even more hydrated than regular water.

6. Coffee Can Actually Cause Weight Gain
The blood sugar fluctuations that caffeine high produces can contribute enormously to cravings, according to iVillage. Coffee is also socially connected to food. For example, we pair coffee with dessert or that morning powdered doughnut. Additionally, when we crash from our caffeine high that’s when we reach for all sorts of fatty snacks to keep us going.

7. Conventional Coffee Is Laden with Pesticides
The coffee plant is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. It’s coated with chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides, nothing you’d want to be ingesting. If you do drink coffee, make sure that it’s the organic variety, free from assorted chemicals that leech into our ground water and can make us sick down the road.
If you switch to decaffeinated coffee, make sure the caffeine is removed in a natural way without the use of chemicals to do it. Often times, conventional decaffeinated coffee has more chemicals that regular.

For more information on the pros & cons of coffee: