Many of us find it difficult – or even impossible – to start the day without a big cup of coffee, but is this a healthy option or not? While the general feeling appears to be that coffee is unhealthy, actual research findings tend to disagree. In fact, one recent study even concluded that ‘information gathered… does not match the common belief that coffee is mostly harmful’. There may even be some benefits to coffee, too!
Benefits of Coffee
We all know that coffee can help stimulate the body and provide energy, motivation, and alertness, but there are actually many more potential benefits to the drink. Coffee contains high levels of polyphenols, which are famous for their antioxidant properties, and their anti-carcinogenic (anti cancer) effects, while caffeine may also help to protect the bones, the heart, and both the reproductive and nervous systems.
Believe it or not, the way in which a cup of coffee is prepared may have a significant effect on the drink’s benefits. Research suggests that coffee that is boiled and unfiltered is best, bringing advantages for blood pressure, diabetes, and weight management. In contrast, coffee that has been filtered through paper may actually be detrimental to health, possibly increasing the risk of inflammation in the body.
Despite the benefits, we must remember that caffeine is a diuretic that can contribute to mild dehydration, which can be especially dangerous in those who struggle with maintaining adequate fluid levels. Caffeine is also considered to be a highly addictive substance, and it’s not believed to be safe for pregnant mothers or those breastfeeding. The Food Standards Agency recommends a caffeine intake no more than 200mg per day, which is the equivalent of between two and four standard mugs of coffee.