Coffee is a popular beverage with many enthusiasts around the world. In the US, 87% of Americans consider themselves obsessed with coffee, while in the UK, 70% drink at least two cups a day. To understand the pros and cons of coffee, we conducted thorough research and consulted experts in various fields. Gunnar Peterson, a renowned personal trainer, highlighted the benefits of coffee as his preferred fuel for early mornings. Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School, shared his surprising insights on how coffee can affect memory. Dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi discussed the impact of coffee on skin health and aging, while Lily Mazzarella suggested alternative options like Reishi mushrooms for immune and nervous system support. Nutritionist Oz Garcia also emphasized the availability of other sources for a healthy caffeine intake. Cardiologist Dr. Icilma V. Fergus pointed out the benefits of coffee, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Overall, our research highlighted both positive and negative effects of coffee on health, emphasizing the importance of moderation.
Still, the question remains: can coffee be good for you? Let’s hear what the experts have to say
Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, a neurologist
Several studies have shown that drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies have suggested that excessive consumption (more than five to six regular cups per day) may increase the chances of developing the condition. Therefore, moderation is key in any case. It’s also important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, there may be something in coffee, such as caffeine or chlorogenic acid, that slows down Alzheimer’s. Last week, it was demonstrated that espresso coffee bean extracts reduce the formation of tangles that kill nerve cells in Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, it could also be that the type of person who consumes a lot of coffee is more intellectually stimulated, socially interactive, or physically active, which may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Gunnar Peterson, the personal trainer
I am a big fan of caffeine. It has many benefits. For example, it can slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It also helps improve circulation, which is crucial for overall health because it helps eliminate toxins. That’s why exercise is so important – it brings oxygen to the muscles, provides nutrients, and helps eliminate toxins. However, when it comes to the negative effects of caffeine, it all depends on the dose. Consuming 1,200 milligrams per day will likely result in some negative side effects. Different types of coffee can also impact cholesterol levels. While one or two cups of light coffee are fine, if you want to have five cups, it’s better to increase the intervals between them. To maximize the efficiency of caffeine, it’s important to pay attention to the dose and timing. Personally, I use it as a pre-workout when I wake up early. So, to answer your question, yes, coffee does bring health benefits. However, excessive consumption can have undesirable side effects. When used judiciously, in the right amounts and at the right times, it is a known performance enhancer.
Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, dermatologist
Coffee is good! It is the main source of polyphenols and hydroxycinnamic acids in the human diet. These powerful antioxidants fight harmful free radicals, protecting our cells from damage. Studies also show that black coffee can extend telomeres, a reliable marker of healthy aging. In a study of Japanese women, coffee consumers showed reduced photoaging. As the saying goes, everything in moderation, and coffee is no exception. Excessive consumption can lead to dehydration and loss of beauty sleep. Just don’t overdo it.
Lily Mazzarella, herbalist and nutritionist
Coffee, especially when obtained in a responsible manner to address the environmental and social impacts of the trade, and prepared to filter out the diterpenes that increase LDL, is associated with a range of health benefits – although research on this subject is ongoing and variable. The benefits and drawbacks are not the same for everyone. In my clinical nutrition practice, I see many individuals who are not suitable for consuming the beverage, including those who suffer from anxiety, sleep problems, acid reflux, dense breast tissue and irregular ovulation, adrenal fatigue, high blood pressure, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. People who metabolize caffeine slowly (who have a variation of the CYPA12 hepatic gene, which processes coffee) tend to feel more of the potential harmful effects of the beverage. However, for those who feel tired and nervous without it, it is worth trying a substitute. Look for something formulated with responsibly sourced adaptogens, tonics for the nervous system, and medicinal mushrooms. A daily botanical beverage can be a great opportunity to experience traditional restorative herbs that have been proven to normalize our HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) or ‘stress axis’ response. Most people love the ritual and sensory experience of coffee, and these functional beverages offer flavor and energy without caffeine crashes.
Dr. Oz Garcia, nutritionist
Although I don’t recommend coffee, it does have several health benefits. It can act as a powerful antioxidant and improve cognitive function and cardiovascular health. However, many commercial brands are acidic, contain pesticides, and may be contaminated with mold. Regular consumption of coffee can lead to anxiety, stress the thyroid and adrenal glands, disrupt blood sugar levels, and cause stomach discomfort. It also has the potential to dehydrate the body. If you can’t live without it, it’s best to opt for an organic brand with low acidity and free from mycotoxins. Decaffeinated coffee is not necessarily a better option. While it may not cause jitters, it can still have negative impacts on your health. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, choosing decaf for recreational purposes is advisable. However, better alternatives include green tea or matcha, which contain caffeine along with the added benefit of L-theanine, providing a smoother sensation without jitters. Additionally, there is a nutritional powder called ATP Boost, developed as an alternative to coffee, which helps with energy production and mental clarity without the negative side effects of drinking coffee.
Dra. Icilma V. Fergus, a cardiologist
As coffee is widely consumed, the benefits versus adverse effects have been debated over time. It is the most consumed beverage in the US after water, according to the National Coffee Association, NY 2012. Coffee consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension. It can be beneficial for weight maintenance and depression, but it may adversely affect cholesterol, according to research published in JACC 2013. Overall, it has neutral to beneficial effects on heart diseases and all-cause mortality. Some studies also suggest benefits for neurodegenerative diseases, gastrointestinal issues, and asthma. A daily intake of two to three cups of coffee seems to be safe. Adverse effects are usually related to a very high concentration of caffeine and may include insomnia, tremors, palpitations, as well as bone loss and possibly an increased risk of fractures. However, most of the data comes from observational studies and not large randomized clinical trials. Consequently, moderate consumption without extremely high caffeine content is satisfactory and primarily associated with beneficial outcomes. Those with anxiety and palpitations should minimize their consumption.