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Does Coffee Have Health Benefits?

Are you a coffee drinker? How much coffee do you drink each day? Is it good for you?

In faith communities, coffee frequently is offered during the social hour, which typically is called “coffee hour” in many locations.

Are you a coffee drinker? How much coffee do you drink each day? Is it good for you?

Here’s the good news: Moderate coffee consumption, which is 3 to 5 (8-ounce) cups per day, is associated with decreased mortality, improved cognitive function and a decreased risk of depression, among other chronic diseases.

Coffee contains many health-boosting components, known as antioxidants and polyphenolic acids. These health-boosting components assist the body in fighting disease, reducing inflammation and protecting the body against chronic diseases.

Coffee consumption in moderation also may benefit heart health. However, to obtain heart-health benefits from coffee, be sure to use a filter when making the coffee. Coffee filters trap the lipid-raising agents in coffee known to increase cholesterol and triglycerides.

No long-term increase in blood pressure results from moderate coffee consumption in individuals with or without high blood pressure. However, you should listen to your body’s physical response to the caffeine in coffee because everyone’s tolerance to caffeine is different.

For example, if you feel your heart rate increasing, or you become anxious or begin to lose sleep due to caffeine consumption, you may want to decrease your caffeine intake.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high cholesterol and abdominal obesity. This combination of factors increases your chance of heart-related diseases. Coffee contains a complex protein and various other compounds that have been linked to improved blood sugar control and a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions.

Moderate caffeine consumption should not harm bones, but if you drink coffee instead of consuming calcium-containing beverages and foods, you may be shortchanging yourself on bone-building calcium. Adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to your coffee offsets the osteoporosis risk associated with coffee.

Be sure to consume 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day if you are 50 years old or younger and 1,200 mg of calcium per day if you are more than 50 years old. Read Nutrition Facts labels to learn more about the calcium in your food and beverage choices.

Moderate consumption of coffee also has been shown to lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes for men and women.

In addition, the caffeine in coffee has been shown to reduce or delay the development of Parkinson’s disease. Consuming 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day maximizes coffee’s benefits related to Parkinson’s disease symptoms. However, decaffeinated coffee does not result in the same symptom improvement as caffeinated coffee.


Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist, and Ashley Gehl, dietetic intern, NDSU Extension

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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