Believe it or not, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the United States.
Recall that antioxidants help strengthen our immune systems and lower our risk of developing chronic disease. Coffee’s popularity and high composition of antioxidants has made it very popular among researchers.
Coffee drinkers will be pleased with the findings.
Research has shown that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of heart failure, stroke, certain cancers, depression and cognitive decline. Moderate coffee consumption was usually defined as somewhere between two to four cups of coffee depending on the study.
Keep in mind that a cup of coffee is eight ounces, and most coffee shops sell much bigger sizes. For example, a small or “tall” Starbucks is twelve ounces.
Fun fact: You actually can order an eight-ounce cup of coffee from Starbucks by asking for a “short” size.
Coffee consumption has also been linked to a decreased risk of diabetes thanks to one of its compounds known as chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid improves glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
Conversely, as one would expect, sweetened coffee is linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Although the research is promising for coffee drinkers, caffeine can cause trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, anxiety, diarrhea, heartburn, palpitations, insomnia and tremors. It can also increase risk of fractures, especially in women, because it increases calcium and magnesium excretion, so coffee drinkers should make sure that they’re consuming enough calcium.
Plus, caffeine’s addictive and can lead to dependence.
All in all, the current evidence supports the role of coffee as part of a healthy diet for the general public as long as it doesn’t exceed 32 ounces per day. Decaffeinated coffee is a good option for people who like coffee but wish to avoid caffeine. Keep in mind that decaf coffee is more acidic than regular coffee.
Tea is also a terrific source of antioxidants so there is no reason for tea drinkers to feel compelled to switch to coffee. Plus, tea is typically easier on the gut.