August is National Coffee Month

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW AND BERNICE BORN

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offee. Love it or hate it? Is it good or bad for your health?

 

 

August is National Coffee Month, and the good news is that drinking coffee in moderation may actually lead to living longer — according to a growing body of evidence.

 

For example, a Harvard study found that people who drink three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes and suicide.

 

“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, M.D., nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

 

That said, we must note that there are enough studies raising issues with coffee that each person should weigh the benefits and drawbacks before adopting or increasing coffee consumption. MedLine reminds us that coffee, like just about everything we eat or drink, has its pros and cons.

 

This month enjoy your coffee and celebrate International Coffee Day on September 29.

 

 

 


What is caffeine?

 

Caffeine is a bitter substance that occurs naturally in more than 60 plants including

  • Coffee beans
  • Tea leaves
  • Kola nuts, which are used to flavor soft drink colas
  • Cacao pods, which are used to make chocolate products

 

What are caffeine's effects on the body?

 

Caffeine has many effects on your body's metabolism. It

  • Stimulates your central nervous system, which can make you feel more awake and give you a boost of energy
  • Is a diuretic, meaning that it helps your body get rid of extra salt and water by causing you to urinate more
  • Increases the release of acid in your stomach, sometimes leading to an upset stomach or heartburn
  • May interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body
  • Increases your blood pressure

 

Who should avoid or limit caffeine?

 

You should check with your health care provider about whether you should limit or avoid caffeine if you

  • Are pregnant, since caffeine passes through the placenta to your baby
  • Are breastfeeding, since a small amount of caffeine that you consume is passed along to your baby
  • Have sleep disorders, including insomnia
  • Have migraines or other chronic headaches
  • Have anxiety
  • Have GERD or ulcers
  • Have fast or irregular heart rhythms
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Take certain medicines or supplements, including stimulants, certain antibiotics, asthma medicines, and heart medicines. Check with your health care provider about whether there might be interactions between caffeine and any medicines and supplements that you take
  • Are a child or teen. Neither should have as much caffeine as adults. Children can be especially sensitive to the effects of caffeine

 

Source: MedlinePlus, produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine

 

 

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