Coffee – is it a healthy choice?

coffee

Coffee is the world’s second most consumed beverage and a popular daily drink of many.

There is an ever-growing number of studies and research being done on the topic and the effect it has on the human body, both in favour and against coffee being a part of a healthy lifestyle. 

The consumption of coffee has for a long while been viewed by health professionals and researchers to be mostly harmful.

However, in recent years this view has changed as the benefits of coffee on health now outweigh the negative effects.

An increasing number of studies now suggests that drinking coffee for most adult individuals is “beneficial and inversely associated with risk of various diseases” [1].

Coffee contains caffeine which is the cause of its stimulant effects. These effects cause different symptoms for different people. Some find caffeine to improve brain function and concentration, fight tiredness, increase exercise performance and energy. Others find it to cause upset stomachs, jitters, irritability, anxiety and insomnia. The difference in effects depends on an individual’s ability to metabolise caffeine and quantity consumed. Low to moderate dose of caffeine (50-300mg) are likely to produce more desirable effects than higher amounts [2, 3]. 

At this stage there are no firm recommendations on the amount of caffeine a person should consume in a day, however, the Nutrition Foundation recommends consuming it in moderation, about 300-400mg or 2-3 cups of coffee at most each day [2]. 

Current evidence does not show coffee to be harmful and suggests that for adults (excluding those pregnant or lactating) who do not have specific health conditions, moderate consumption of coffee can be included as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle [4]. 

It’s also important to keep in mind how you enjoy your daily cup of coffee. The extras often added to coffee (milk, cream, sugar, flavoured syrups) can offset some of the health benefits of a basic black coffee, or one enjoyed simply with trim or calci-trim milk. The commonly added extras can significantly increase the calories, sugars and saturated fat consumed each day, particularly if weight loss is a goal. 

So, all in all, coffee can be a positive part of a healthy diet. If you enjoy your daily cup of coffee and this leaves you feeling great, there’s no need to exclude it from your day! 

Alternatively, if coffee is not for you, try starting your day with a Green Breakfast Smoothie or a Zingy Pineapple Smoothie.

References: 

[1] https://www.biolmedonline.com/Articles/Vol7_4_2015/BM_Vol7_4_the-beneficial-effects-of-coffee-in-human-nutrition-0974-8369-1000240.pdf 

[2] https://nutritionfoundation.org.nz/nutrition-facts/nutrition-a-z/Caffeine 

[3] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coffee/ 

[4] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/coffee-caffeine-healthy-lifestyle/ 

Meet the Expert

Harriet ‘Honeydew’

Harriet is one of our Fresh Start Experts, here to help you with all your nutrition and healthy lifestyle questions. With degrees in Human Nutrition and Marketing Management from the University of Otago, she knows a thing or two about health and nutrition. From small town Kaikoura, New Zealand, Harriet has always had a passion and interest in what makes up a healthy balanced lifestyle. A true believer in making simple whole foods into nutritious tasty meals that make you feel great. Her favourite go-to snack is peanut butter on anything! YUM! If you would like to check out what else she gets up to when not here at My Food Bag you can find her on instagram @harriet_well.

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