Coffee - is it good or bad for your health?

Health and Fitness

Guy Leech Fitness Forum

For many years, coffee has been a ‘whipping boy’, blamed for many ailments and health concerns. The most serious claim is that coffee could be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and/or cancer. However recent scientific studies paint coffee in a new light, suggesting that the popular brew may even be of some benefit to our health.

Recent research has failed to find a relationship between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. It is believed that earlier studies didn't always take into account that known high-risk behaviours, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers… hence the association with an increased risk of cancer/ heart disease. 

Coffee was really masking the true cause - smoking and inactivity.

Research does suggest that a high consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And another study found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific (and fairly common) genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So the rate at which you metabolise coffee may indeed affect your health.

The good news is that a number of current studies have highlighted coffee’s ability to benefit our health in other ways. Coffee may in fact assist in protecting against Parkinson's Disease, Type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. It is believed antioxidants such as polyphenols found in coffee may in fact play an important positive role.

Of course this doesn't mean that more is necessarily better and other beverages such as low fat milk contain important nutrients not found in coffee. Also, keep in mind that accompaniments such as full cream milk and sugar all add extra kilojoules and fat to your diet… and that heavy caffeine use (in excess of four cups of instant coffee or two cups of percolated or espresso coffee a day) can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness and headaches.

So again it seems the old saying, ‘everything in moderation’, seems to hold true.

- Guy Leech 
Previous
Next

Related news

Health check: what’s the best time of the day to exercise?

Most people are aware of the importance of being active and exercising daily. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules, most people are forced to exercise around other numerous commitments. However, the timing of exercise can have profound effects on performance.
Read more

Can trying to meet specific exercise goals put us off being active altogether?

Encouraging people to meet specific fitness goals when they are new to exercising can be ineffective. In fact, it may even make it harder to become active. So what's the best way to set fitness goals?
Read more

Exercise more in 2018 – it really is good for your heart

With 2018 stretching out before us, shining with promise, many of us have made resolutions to be more active. 

But people also give many reasons for not exercising: That there’s “not enough time,” or there’s a lack of facilities or “it’s just easier to sit and watch TV.” Recent media coverage of new research studies has added to this list of excuses, through headlines such as: “Excessive exercise may harm the heart.”

Is this really the case? Could exercise be bad for your heart? Is there such a thing as too much exercise?

Read more