The One Issue 2 - Coffee: Vice or Healthy
Coffee: Vice or Healthy?
“Coffee is really good for you. I make that statement as a physician, and liver specialist. In fact, coffee actually may well be the healthiest beverage you can drink.” – Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, Harvard Medical School
[Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This article should not be considered medical advice. The information below is for informational purposes only and should not replace the recommendations of healthcare professionals. Please use common sense.]
About 83% of adults in America drink coffee, but very few do so for health reasons. In the past, I remember feeling a sense of embarrassment admitting that I drank 3 cups of coffee per day. In the process of developing Copper Coffee, I was very interested in understanding how coffee and health were related. The data was shocking. My takeaway was that I should not have felt bad for drinking 3 cups of coffee a day. In fact, the data may encourage it.
My go-to source on coffee and health is Sanjiv Chopra, a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. He has written several articles on the health benefits of coffee and he wrote a fantastic book called “The Big Five”, where he outlines five simple things you can do to live longer. Spoiler alert: The first one is drinking coffee. He believes coffee “may well be the healthiest beverage you can drink.”
Here are a few of the health benefits from drinking coffee that he highlights (studies linked):
- Lower risk for type 2 diabetes
- Lower risk for heart disease
- Lower risk for cognitive decline and dementia
- Lower risk for common cancers including prostate, colon, endometrial, and skin cancer
- Lower rate of suicide
- Lastly – and maybe the most eye-opening – lower risk for mortality from “all-causes”. The meta-analysis suggests that those who drank 4 cups/day had a 16% risk reduction for all-cause mortality. That's right, coffee drinkers lived longer than non-coffee drinkers.
So should everyone drink coffee? Not necessarily, since not everyone can tolerate it. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has a great page on coffee as a nutritional source. They conclude,“Consuming moderate (3-5 cups) to high amounts (6-10 cups) of coffee daily may lower the risk of several disease conditions. However, some individuals may not tolerate higher amounts due to symptoms of jitteriness, anxiety, and insomnia.” Use common sense.
The data suggests that coffee may provide several health benefits. Yet these studies rarely specify the quality of the coffee. The participants could be drinking what we consider “low quality” coffee and they still experienced health benefits. If I had unlimited resources, I would love to a see a study comparing “coffee” with “Charge Coffee” to understand the benefits of 1) fresh roasted coffee 2) organic coffee, and 3) coffee with more antioxidants. Maybe we will be able to research this down the line.
Overall, don’t feel bad about drinking that second (or third) cup of coffee if you can tolerate it.
If you want to read further:
- Why This Is The Healthiest Beverage You Can Drink: A Harvard MD Explains - Sanjiv Chopra
- The Big Five: Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life - Sanjiv Chopra
- Coffee The Nutrition Source - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Written by Seth Jorde | firstname.lastname@example.org