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The Pros and Cons of Coffee Drinking

Mmm… coffee, the aroma, the flavor. It makes mornings so much better! But is our daily cup of coffee doing more harm than good? There is a lot of research concerning both the negative and the positive effects of coffee drinking.

The “Pros”

    1. Antioxidants. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins. Antioxidants help prevent oxidation, a process that causes damage to cells and contributes to aging. Melanoidins from roasted coffee have antioxidative effects depending on the way the coffee is treated. 

The “Cons”

  1. Heart disease. The relation between coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease has been examined in many studies, but the results remain controversial. Most prospective cohort studies have not found coffee consumption to be associated with significantly increased cardiovascular disease risk.

On one hand, diterpenes cafestol and kahweol present in unfiltered coffee and caffeine each appear to increase risk of coronary heart disease. High quality studies have confirmed the cholesterol-raising effect of diterpenes. Coffee consumption is also associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

On the other hand, a lower risk of heart disease among moderate coffee drinkers might be due to antioxidants found in coffee.Besides that, caffeine can increase the risk of heart attack, especially among those people who carry the “slow” gene variant for the enzyme that metabolizes caffeine.

So, what is the key? The old principle – “everything in moderation” – holds true for coffee. It is not bad unless you abuse it. Coffee has its downsides, but offers enough good points to make it a worthwhile drink. For moderate coffee drinkers (3-4 cups/day providing 300-400 mg/day of caffeine), there is little evidence of health risks and some evidence of health benefits. And for sure you can enjoy your coffee as part of a healthy diet.

Written for Dumb Little Man by Christine Simmons, contributing author for

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