Coffee is Health Food: Myth or Fact?

I’m not a coffee drinker, never have been. But a common, cross-cultural custom that my world travels revealed to me is that much of the world enjoys coffee drinking. In fact, every country I visited I noticed that there were many coffee drinkers. According to the National Coffee Association USA, there are approximately 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed daily.

With such high numbers of diverse peoples drinking coffee, it got me wondering, is there some health benefit to this custom? For that matter do coffee drinkers even care if there are? Most certainly don’t seem to care if there are negative health risks, especially considers those stats from the National Coffee Association. Beyond flavor, aroma or even coffee addiction, are there actual health benefits that typical coffee drinkers–that’s people who drink three to four cups per day–get from drinking coffee? Furthermore, are we non-drinkers missing out on these possible health benefits?  Unless stated otherwise, I am referring to consumption of coffee in general, including decaf, caffeinated, with or without milk, creamer or some form of sweetener. There are many studies on both health risks and benefits of coffee drinking, but most have not proven an association between coffee consumption and for example increased cardiovascular disease risk. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, NIH:

some groups, including people with hypertension, children, adolescents, and the elderly, may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects of caffeine. In addition, currently available evidence suggests that it may be prudent for pregnant women to limit coffee consumption to 3 cups/d providing no more than 300 mg/d of caffeine to exclude any increased probability of spontaneous abortion or impaired fetal growth.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto – pexels

Every source I reviewed for this article concluded that black coffee consumption may help reduce risks for certain diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers (colon, uterine, liver), cirrhosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. The consensus among coffee research experts was that adding dairy creamer, milk or sugar does seem to incur negative health effects for coffee drinkers. The USDA reported in their Dietary Guidelines that drinking no more than 400 mg (or 4 cups) per day is a safe amount. Based on studies from the nearly 40 years ago, caffeinated coffee was listed as a carcinogenic. Now, at least as of 2016 it has been taken off those cancer-causing substances lists and is now considered a healthy food by the World Health Organization (WHO). So-called expert opinions aside, I recommend that you look to common sense logic, evidence and experience instead. Logic should tell you that adding sugar and dairy to any food will increase both its caloric value and glycemic index. Your research should tell you that caffeine is a stimulant for your metabolism. If you are pre-diabetic or have been diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetic then you would more than likely want to refrain from drinking coffee, especially caffeinated coffee with sugar and dairy. But what if you’re a healthy individual who just wants to experience those proclaimed positive benefits that moderate coffee consumption offers, or you’re a diabetic whose doctor has warned you to drastically cut your coffee intake, consider these tips:

  • go for herbal coffee substitutes
  • instead of mugs or 8 oz cups, use a 6 oz espresso cup
  • drink black coffee sweetened with low glycemic, natural sweeteners
  • never drink piping hot coffee (or any hot beverage over 149 degrees)
  • train yourself to drink it black (for the bitter taste factor)
  • inhale placebo, non-caffeinated coffee aromas vs drinking coffee

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

I am not a coffee drinker, but like many non-drinkers of coffee, I do enjoy the aroma of a hot roasted coffee blend, flavored with mocha and cinnamon. According to studies on the subject of coffee scents, the aroma of coffee has a placebo effect on mental functions. For example researchers of a study conducted by Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey USA,  found that exam takers of a General Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) who were exposed to ambient coffee scent scored higher than exam takers in an unscented classroom, especially on math portions of the exam. In another study conducted on lab rats by researchers at Seoul National University in South Korea, researchers found that sleep-deprived rats exposed to coffee aroma showed less physical and behavioral signs of stress than rats not exposed to coffee scent. There was also an increase in beneficial brain cell proteins which had overall antioxidant effects. Finally, for those those who don’t want to become coffee drinkers nor coffee scent inhalers but still want to experience health benefits of natural coffee, there’s always coffee with distilled water enemas. As long as you do not have any preexisting health limitations which preclude enemas, most of us could actually benefit from coffee enemas, especially before and after fasting. An enema of natural coffee with distilled water helps cleanse your colon of gut sludge, and toxins during all phases of fasting, purging or detoxing.  The great thing about coffee enemas is that it doesn’t matter whether you drink coffee or don’t.

Author bio:  Pharoh is a Health-wellness writer-researcher
and Counselor-Educator at  PharohsHouse


NIH – Coffee and Health: a review of recent human research

The Best Time to Drink Coffee

Coffee and Your Health

Benefits of Smelling Coffee 

Coffee’s Aroma Enough to Stir Brain?

Effects of Caffeine

Buy undiluted, pure coffee bean essential oil

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