Coffee Health Benefits: the Pros and Cons of Coffee - Paula Owens, MS

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Is Coffee Healthy or Not? The Pros and Cons of Coffee

Coffee Health Benefits: the Pros and Cons of Coffee - Paula Owens, MSIs Coffee Healthy? The Pros and Cons of Coffee

Coffee Health Benefits

According to a European study, a daily cup of coffee reduces oxidative damage to DNA by an impressive 40 percent! Coffee contains polyphenols that help protect cells from oxidation, regulate insulin and reduce inflammation.

Another study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that coffee may inhibit fat storage and lower triglycerides. The study reported that those who drank four cups of coffee/day lost 1.5 pounds of body fat in four weeks.

Studies have found that coffee has more antioxidants than most vegetables and fruits. For these benefits, the coffee has to be organic, fair-trade, and a special Arabica coffee blend that is rich in unroasted (green) and roasted bean compounds that gives coffee its antioxidant boost, which accounts for its apparent power to reduce DNA damage and oxidation.

The caffeine in coffee may help prevent type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, and increase bile flow. [Jonathan Wright, M.D.]

Coffee Health Benefits and Cancer. Research findings suggest that coffee may be protective against obesity-associated cancers and cancers associated with insulin and estrogen.

Coffee Health Benefits - Paula Owens, MSHigh coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of ER (estrogen receptor) and postmenopausal breast cancers, independent of CYP1A2 genotype [Nutrition and Cancer, 2013]

Scientists at Harvard School of Public Health (published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute) conducted a study in which men who regularly drank coffee had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who consumed 1-3 cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of the deadly form of prostate cancer by 30% and men who drank the most coffee lowered their risk of lethal prostate cancer by 60%!

Coffee Health Benefits and Alzheimer’s. The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias reported that caffeine may have a protective effect on the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Another study published in 2009 based on nearly 1,500 people showed a 65–70% decreased risk of dementia and a 62–64% decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in those who drank 3–5 cups of coffee daily.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School report that coffee may provide cognitive benefits and have neuro-protective properties that may prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s, stroke, heart disease and cancer.

Coffee Health Benefits and Type 2 Diabetes. Coffee has been shown to be protective against diabetes due to its effect on insulin. A report in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry reported that those who drink four cups of coffee per day have a 50% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Coffee Health Benefits and Depression. The National Institute of Health reports that people who drink three or even more cups of this beverage a day are 12% less likely to be depressed. Harvard studies have reported that drinking coffee reduces the risk of depression by 20% and the risk of suicide by 53%.

Coffee Health Benefits, Longevity and Healthy Aging. A study in the Journal of Nutrition reported that higher coffee consumption is associated with longer telomeres, which are a biological marker for longevity and healthy aging.

Coffee Health Benefits and Liver Health. Coffee drinking is beneficial for the health of your liver and found to be associated with lower levels of enzymes that indicate liver damage and inflammation. Multiple studies have shown that coffee can lower the risk of liver cirrhosis by as much as 80% – the strongest effect was for those who drank 4 or more cups per day.

Think Before You Drink – Who Should Avoid Coffee?

Although coffee offers numerous health benefits, it can be problematic for some folks. It all depends on your unique biochemistry, lifestyle, health conditions, and your ability to metabolize caffeine and coffee.

Pregnancy. Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant should avoid caffeine and coffee. Women who consume caffeine and coffee while pregnant tend to have increased risks of smaller infants at birth. Just two cups of coffee ingested during pregnancy may be enough to affect fetal heart development and reduce heart function over the entire lifespan of the child.

Gluten. Cyrex Lab researchers found coffee to have the highest rate of cross-reactivity with gluten. Something to consider if you have an autoimmune disorder or you’re sensitive to gluten. Coffee consumption was associated with cross reactivity with gliadin antibodies in celiac patients

Autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes should avoid coffee. According to a study published in Autoimmunity Reviews, coffee consumption seems to increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. By contrast, coffee consumption may exert a protective role against multiple sclerosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and ulcerative colitis.

Concerning other autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, primary biliary cholangitis and Crohn’s disease, no significant association was found. In other studies, coffee consumption was shown to influence disease course and management options. Coffee intake led to a decrease in insulin sensitivity in T1DM, in methotrexate efficacy in RA, and in levothyroxine absorption in Hashimoto’s disease. Further, coffee consumption was associated with cross reactivity with gliadin antibodies in celiac patients.”

Thyroid. Excessive coffee consumption can have a negative impact on thyroid function. A study in the journal Thyroid reported that drinking coffee within 60 minutes of taking thyroid medication reduces absorption of thyroid medication.

Coffee Considerations

  • Some women can drink all the coffee they want without any problems, but unfortunately women with fibrocystic breast problems tend to be caffeine-sensitive.
  • Children should avoid caffeine and coffee.
  • Those with anxiety issues, insomniacs and adrenal insufficiency should limit their intake or completely avoid coffee and caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the adrenals. If adrenal hormones are constantly stimulated, the adrenals will become depleted, and affect thyroid health.
  • Consuming caffeine on an empty stomach especially first thing in the morning can be the very reason you’re experiencing weight loss resistance and can’t lose that ‘hard-to-get-rid-of’ belly fat. Caffeine on an empty stomach elevates cortisol, which is especially problematic for those with exhausted adrenals. Remember, fat cells in the abdominal have four times as many cortisol receptors as anywhere else.
  • Coffee consumption can increase the risk of acid reflux for some individuals.
  • Another point to consider is that excessive coffee consumption can cause dehydration. So, be sure to replenish your body with plenty of water.
  • Excessive coffee consumption can cause nutrient deficiencies such as B vitamins, magnesium, iron and calcium.
  • Coffee can interact with prescription medications and OTC drugs such as Tylenol, causing liver damage. Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver.  Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed.

If you drink coffee and get the jitters, become dizzy, anxious or wired, experience insomnia, these are signals that you’re probably not metabolizing caffeine efficiently.

Enjoy a cup of fresh organic coffee before your workout (pre-training) to enhance athletic performance and improve fat burning, energy and endurance. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that those who consumed caffeine after exercise experienced increased muscle glycogen that helped muscles refuel.

Opt for organic coffee ONLY versus non-organic coffee due to the high pesticide content in non-organic coffee. The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) urges consumers to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible. Pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems including hormone imbalances; neurodegenerative and cognitive dysfunction, skin, eye and lung irritation, digestive disorders, leaky gut, birth defects, depression, weight gain, and cancer. The negative effects of pesticides can take years to show up and by the time symptoms are clear the damage may have already been done.

 What you brew your coffee in matters greatly! I use an old-fashioned stainless steel percolator coffee pot. Get rid of the plastic Keurig coffee maker and the BPA plastic Keurig K-cups. Many people have also reported that even after cleaning their Keurig coffee maker every single week by running a few cycles of vinegar and baking soda through it and then rinsing it with a few cycles of water, it still reeked of a nasty, moldy aroma afterwards.

Coffee Health Benefits: Coffee Dos and Don’ts

  • Coffee is one of the highest pesticide sprayed crops. To obtain the health benefits of coffee, make sure your coffee is organic, fair-trade, low mycotoxin coffee only.
  • Rotate the brands of coffee that you purchase. My favorite brands of coffee are Equal Exchange’s certified organic Love Buzz coffee and the other is PowerCafe, a combination of organic dark roast Arabica coffee and Yerba Mate. Tasty! There are also many other organic brands available.
  • Although the numerous health benefits of drinking coffee apply to straight-up black coffee, some of my favorite add-ins are  grass-fed butter, MCT oil, coconut oil or organic full-fat cream.
  • You may also enjoy adding a pinch of cinnamon or raw cacao to your cup of coffee.
  • Need a sweetener? Ditch the chemical-loaded artificial sweeteners in the pink, yellow and blue packs and instead opt for the green packs, SweetLeaf Stevia – they’re easy to carry in your purse, briefcase or keep at your desk.
  • Pass on the sweetened syrups and flavored creamers (high in trans fats, toxic chemicals and GMOs), and definitely stay away from sugar-free syrups, which are loaded with artificial sweeteners, more chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup.

Keto Coffee Recipe

  • 16 ounces of freshly brewed organic coffee
  • 1 teaspoon of either MCT oil or coconut oil (I personally prefer the MCT oil)
  • 2 teaspoons grass-fed gelatin
  • Optional add-ins: 1 teaspoon organic, grass-fed butter or grass-fed ghee, a pinch of cinnamon

Blend all of the above in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Enjoy!

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