A 30-Day Journey Exploring a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle – Day 29
Yesterday, Day 28, we dreamed wildly BIG! Today, let’s lament about another “Feel Good” moment – that first cup of coffee in the morning. It is Saturday morning and It was such a delicious body-mind-spirit wake up boost to get me going to the pool for another water aerobics workout.
To boost a joyful mood, I first checked what the weather will be today. Another sunny day! Yes, another sunny day in Cleveland! I had the perfect coffee mug to celebrate the day begin. Do you have special mugs, cups, drinking glasses? They add the right touch to the mood you want to set.
It was one of those mornings when I just had to push myself to get going, let alone to get ready for exercise.
Now, I have to apologize to all the non-coffee drinkers. And this is not to convert you but to join me in the ‘wake up ceremony’, the sentiment we create to start our day well when we are a bit slow waking up. I know you have a similar ‘helper’ drink or snack or routine to refresh you. Would be lovely if you could share this with us below.
Coffee – Healthy or Not? What does the Science Say?
Coffee, the most popular drink in the world, its health effects have been studied for several decades. I am sure you have read and heard both arguments. The best source of health information is the evidence based most current science literature. Evidence based means the best available clinical evidence from systematic research.
Always keep in mind that science is not absolute and studies build on current knowledge, depending on the selection of people being studied, their number and circumstances which all impact study outcomes.
Health Benefits of Coffee
National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2012 reports a significant study: Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Death. Data of more than 400,000 U.S. 400,000 U.S. men and women, ages 50 to 71, who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study were followed via questionnaire for about 12 years.
They found that coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections. But researcher stress that it did not prove that drinking coffee makes people live longer.
Researchers didn’t find any association between coffee consumption and deaths from breast cancer in women. That was long ago a high scare based on incomplete studies.
Overall results provided some reassurance that moderate coffee drinking does not adversely affect health.
Recently, June 15, 2017 Kris Gunnars, BSc published in Healthline a summary of the science literature: 13 Health Benefits of Coffee. He states that “Coffee is actually very healthy.”
Of the 13 benefits Gunnars reported, here are a few highlights. Coffee . . .
- Can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. The Caffeine in coffee blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
- Can help burn fat. Caffeine can boost the metabolic rate, though might lose effect over long time.
- Contains Caffeine which can drastically improve physical performance. That’s why many sports drinks contain caffeine.
- Contains several essential nutrients: Vitamins B12 & B5, Potassium, Magnesium.
- Drinkers have a much lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and Type II Diabetes.
- Can fight depression and make you happier.
- Drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease, but a slightly lower risk of stroke.
- Contains a massive amount of antioxidants which could account for the overall health benefits.
With all the health benefits you may think that coffee is good for everyone. Not so fast!
Coffee and Health Concerns
In the NIH study, researchers also emphasized that coffee’s health effects are unclear. The brew contains a diverse mix of biologically active compounds, so its effects in the human body can be difficult to tease out.
As with everything you put into your body, there are healthy and unhealthy amounts of caffeine. When you get too much caffeine for your system, the following problems can develop. Caffeine:
- May reduce the fertility in women.
- Can raise blood sugar level when suffering from Diabetes.
- Causes indigestion in some people.
- When consumed too much (6 cups and more per day) can also lead to heart problems which include stroke and heart attack.
- Can modestly increase calcium excretion and reduce absorption. That could lead to bone loss and osteoporosis over time.
As you can see, caffeine can be good or bad for us. It all depends on how much you get, and how your individual and unique system responds to caffeine. You may respond to drinking coffee in a way that is entirely different from someone else.
Understand that caffeine is not required by the human body. While it does offer several benefits, you don’t need any caffeine to be healthy, strong, alert and mentally sharp.
How Much Caffeine Should You Be Drinking?
So, how much is too much caffeine? Many other health factors play a role. If you have a history of high blood pressure, the American Journal of Hypertension and Mayo Clinic stress that moderation is the key with caffeine.
Multiple health agencies and caffeine “experts” around the world seem to agree that consuming 300 to 400 mg of caffeine (in about 3 -4 cups of coffee or 2 energy drinks) each day is a healthy amount which should not be exceeded.
Coffee is the most popular drink in the world. I have traveled many different countries and places, coffee in many variations is available and enjoyed almost everywhere.
Let’s all understand that caffeine has different effects on different people. There are too many studies to reference that remind us how vastly different caffeine affects different people.
Two nearly identical individuals of the same gender, age, nationality and fitness level may have decidedly different responses to any amount of caffeine.
To consume coffee in a healthy way, know your body, be careful if you are on any medications or have a health condition, and check with your health care provider!
Enjoy Your Coffee the Healthy Way!