Mmmm…. nice, hot, foamy cup o’ joe first thing in the morning. There’s nothing like it. It fires up your senses and puts you in the right mental place to start your day. Go ahead, have a cup or two.
You are half-way through the morning and you smell them making another batch of coffee in the break room. You feel like you could use a bit more of waking up. Once you take a sip — ahh! That’s just what you needed.
Your lunch break goes by and you start feeling that mid-afternoon slump. You need a pick-me-up. There’s a café in the lobby that you´ve heard makes the best lattés. You go ahead and order the biggest one they have. You might as well!
Does this sound something like you? If so, by the end of the day you´ve had at least 5 cups of coffee. Remember that most mugs these days aren’t standard cup size, so unless your mug looks like an old-fashioned tea cup, chances are you’ve had almost double that number of cups by early evening.
Some people abhore what they may call compulsive coffee drinkers, and they may even lecture you regularly about how you are doing damage to your body.Others feel like their days can’t go on without their regular cofee from day to day, and are ready to respond those coffee-abhorers with a list of studies that have shown the benefits of coffee for longevity and health.
So, is drinking lots and lots off coffee bad for you?
The answer isn´t that simple. There are benefits and downsides to drinking five or more cups of coffee every day. Here I’ll review some of the ones that might be of most interest to you.
Check out how coffee affects the brain by watching this video:
Downsides of Drinking Lots of Coffee:
1) Addiction. First of all, we have to remember that coffee has caffeine. And as you probably know, caffeine is addictive. Caffeine addiction, or dependence, can cause headaches, anxiety, shaking, and irritability if you don’t get your fix.
2) Ulcers and IBS. Coffee is very acidic, and together with caffeine, drinking too much or drinking even a little bit on an empty stomach could irritate your stomach lining. It may even contribute to gastritis caused by a bacteria calledHelicobacer pylori, as it helps it take hold. With stomach and bowel irritation come other issues, like diarrhea, cramps, or constipation. If you are experiencing any of these, talk to your doctor to see if it is the coffee that is the culprit.
3) Blocks absorption of some minerals. Coffee blocks some of the iron from being absorbed in the stomach, and the retention of other minerals in your kidneys including calcium, zinc and magnesium. Mangesium defficiency could cause major bowel issues. If you suspect being defficient in magnesium, talk to yoru doctor about taking a supplement.
4) Some coffee contains acrylamide, a carcinogen. Dark roasts and coffees roasted at high temperatures are in higher levels of acrylamide than lighter roasts, so go light if possible.
What are the benefits of drinking lots of coffee?
1) Reduces risk of liver and breast cancer. A meta study showed that drinking at least two cups a day could help reduce your risk for these types of cancer. Nice!
2) Reduces risk of liver disease and may help prevent cirrhosis for those with liver disease already.
3) Lower risk or progression against cognitive diseases. This includes Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.
4) Significantly reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. The more coffee you drink, the less risk you have of developing type 2 diabetes. This doesn’t give you the green light to stock up on sweets, though.
What’s the Verdict? Is Drinking lots of Coffee Good or Bad?
If you drink coffee already, go for it. But do your best to choose organic, light roasts, and monitor any symptoms of gastric irritation or dependency.
If you don’t drink coffee, starting now might cause some digestive and sleeping problems. There are other ways you can have the same benefits of drinking coffee mentioned here, like eating lots of fruits and vegetables, repalacing refined grain for whole grain, and eating less animal protein.
Sasha de Beausset is a Nutritional Anthropologist with a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.Sc. in Food and Nutrition from the University of San Carlos, and is currently in the process of becoming a licensed nutritionist.
She has been awarded for her academic writing and research, and she has been blogging on food, health, and nutrition for over four years.
Sasha is passionate about contributing to making quality and research-based information available freely on the web so people can inform themselves and make better decisions for their health.