The pros and cons of coffee

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coffee has become an integral part of the daily routine for a number of Americans, so much so that many feel they could not start their day without it.

In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health claimed that more than half of Americans older than 18 drink coffee daily. During their daily coffee consumption, Americans drink more than three nine-ounce servings on average. It has become so ingrained in our culture that the United States spends an estimated $40 billion dollars on coffee annually.

Part of this coffee craze is the caffeine boost that helps people get moving every morning, but there are other possible health benefits as well. Multiple studies have shown that caffeine increases concentration and improves short-term memory. Recent research suggests that coffee may help prevent gallstones, as well as type II diabetes and liver disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

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It is important to note that the health benefits are derived from the coffee itself, not the copious amounts of cream and sugar some choose to add to it. Over consumption of sugar is always bad, even in coffee. Moderation is the key to a healthy intake of most foods.

Moderation is good for coffee drinkers, as well. While it’s not always bad for one’s health, experts say that coffee can cause heart palpitations and insomnia in certain people. If a person already has problems sleeping, it would be best to avoid drinking coffee too late in the afternoon.

The Harvard School of Public Health also advises against a sudden increase in coffee drinking, noting that individuals who start heavily drinking coffee after no consumption at all could increase their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

So is coffee good for you or not? Doctor Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic believes that for many people, the benefits outweigh the risks, but it also depends on how your body metabolizes caffeine.

So enjoy drinking coffee, and just try not to drink five cups a day of mostly cream and sugar.