You may have read lots of articles in the last few years telling you that coffee is awful for your health. Equally, you may have read that it is the best vessel for the wonder drug of caffeine! The reason for so many conflicting conclusions is because there have been a tonne of studies on the health risks and benefits of coffee, but they’ve all been done in different ways and have generated different results. I’m not a scientist, but I thought it’d be useful to try and take a balanced look at some of research out there and make up my own mind.
One of the obvious limitations to lots of these studies is that they are sometimes based on surveys which subjective and imprecise. I mean one person’s mug of coffee could be twice the size of another’s and different types of coffee, such as espresso based drinks, filter coffee, and instant all varying levels of caffeine. What’s more, if you are really fond of a latte, your health is not going to be solely effected by the coffee itself, as you’re also guzzling down lots of milk, and potentially some sugary syrup.
What do we know about the coffee itself? Well, it’s jam-packed with minerals and vitamins, such vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5, as well as a healthy dose of manganese and potassium. [http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beverages/3898/2]. A related downside, however, is that coffee can inhibit the absorption of zinc and iron [http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408390500400009]. Still, lots of studies have supported the claim that drinking coffee is good for you liver, more specifically, it has been shown to substantively lower the risk of liver cancer by a little over 40% and cirrhosis (the phase of liver damage caused by other illnesses) by almost 80% [http://www.wcrf.org/int/research-we-fund/continuous-update-project-findings-reports/liver-cancer]. Other studies have even demonstrated that coffee is linked to a reduced risk of type II diabetes, as well as [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12433517], dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12205639]. Yes, there are more downsides as well. Coffee may increase blood cholesterol, although no studies have proven that it does so in a significant way.
Having looked at the pros and cons of coffee in a bit more detail, I think I would say that the negatives shouldn’t put you off it if you like it, and the positives aren’t significant enough that you should drink it if you don’t, as both the risks and the benefits of drinking coffee only become something you should really consider after drinking coffee frequently and over a long period of