Personally, I like a cup of tea first thing in the morning but, increasingly in the UK, we are turning to coffee. We are bombarded with opinions that either coffee is good for us or that it is bad for us- so it worth looking into it.
Of course, studies can only give an overall view of the “average” good or bad effects on a group of people. So, we need to be aware that just because the overall is good (or bad) for the group does not mean it must be good (or bad) for me or you. As ever, we must never underestimate the value of our own experiences and instincts.
There seem to be many benefits for drinking up to four cups of coffee a day. Statistically drinking coffee is associated with a reduced all cause mortality although, like the taxman, the grim reaper will get you in the end.
The chances are that your theoretically longer life will also be happier and more productive. The research shows that it tends to help lift our mood, make us more alert, improve mental focus and improve brain function. We are not just imagining our moods are lifted as even the risks of depression and suicide seem to be reduced.
In terms of physical health coffee drinking may be good for some of your internal organs has been associated with a lowered cardiovascular mortality rate and reduced rates of colorectal cancer. These benefits don’t seem to simply be the effects as caffeine as decaffeinated coffee seems to have similar benefits. This highlights the danger of trying to attribute the benefits of a natural food to one element of its chemical make-up.
Like just a about everything (even water) coffee drinking has its downside. The most obvious one is that it can be addictive and like any other addictive substance your body needs more and more to have the same effective, hence the qualification of the benefits of “up to four cups of coffee a day”. Cutting back can be physically and mentally uncomfortable and both excessive coffee drinking and reducing consumption can cause anxiety.
Like just about everything in life, including food, exercise and work, it is about finding the right balance for you. Sufficient is good for you but both deficiency and excess are both bad.