Coffee; Good Or Bad-you Decide

Coffee drinking has become a worldwide phenomena over the last decade as Starbucks-style cafes have popped up all over the world. What seemed to be a chance event where an Arab goatherder allowed his goats to grave on this cherry-like bean quickly became a well guarded trade on the Arab Peninsula. There was a ban on export coffee seeds out of the territory but when the Turks made it a custom to serve coffee to Italian traders it made its way to Europe. 1500 years of use as a boiled broth has become a way of life for many around the world.

The issue we take with coffee is that it can be harmful to your health over time if it is consumed excessively. Medical researchers, for decades, have cautioned their patients on long term use of coffee due to its negative impact on the cardiovascular system as well as the adrenal glands. The caffeine laced energy drink craze propelled this thought process into mainstream thinking. It all may be true but I think it important to entertain another viewpoint that may carry some weight. Let's have a look at some proclaimed benefits of drinking coffee either moderately or excessively.

An 18 year study of 126,000 people and conducted by researchers at Harvard University resulted in the risk reduction of diabetes that was in the single digits. Three to six cups, however, reduce that risk by 54% in men and 30% in women. Although more research is appropriate Vanderbilt University's Dr. Tomas DePaulis believes very little bad comes from drinking coffee. Studies have shown that those who drink coffee on a regular basis are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's disease. Other research shows that 2 cups per day can reduce colon cancer risk by 25%, an 80% reduction in the risk of liver cirrhosis, and cut gallstone risk in half. DePaulis says that people who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don't.

Some evidence shows that coffee may reduce asthma and control the attacks when one is without asthma medication. Cavity prevention and headache cessation are believed to be affected by coffee.

As you can see there are cases to be made on both sides of the opinion board. In defense of regular or excessive coffee consumption we must consider the antioxidant power of the bean itself. Could it be considered and antioxidant drink? Antioxidants are necessary in reducing inflammation caused by free radical damage. Free radicals are the result of cellular oxidation and are the free floating destroyers of cells and their DNA. Antioxidants neutralize those free radicals and minimize their impact on the health of the body. Those heavy drinkers and smokers need all the antioxidant protection they can get.

Another study from Brazil has shown that children who drink coffee with their milk in the morning are less likely to suffer from depression.

Looking at the potential negative impact coffee can have on the human body (mainly from excessive use) it is clear that it can cause increased nervousness, hand trembling, and cause a rapid heartbeat. This is as a result from the adrenal glands being stimulated by caffeine, causing a ratcheting up of the nervous system for fight or flight mode. In this day and age neither is as necessary as they once were so the continuous upswing in adrenaline production combined with inactivity begins to take its toll on the cardiovascular system by raising cholesterol levels which may lead to clogged arteries. It is prudent for pregnant women, heart patients, and osteoporosis patients to avoid excessive coffee use if any at all.

On the ugly side it is important to be aware of the chemicals, accidently or on purpose, that are added to coffee. A certain popular coffee chain employs a known carcinogen in the cleaning of its brewwers. Brewing coffee in these machines afterward is sure to leave some remnants of the chemical in the cup you purchase.

All in all, at the end, of the day, like everything else, I recommend coffee in moderation. Lean to the realm of organic coffee if possible.

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About The Author, Ashley Canfield
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