Published On: Fri, Mar 10th, 2017

HEALTH COLUMN: Dear Cherokee Choices – Am I addicted to coffee?

Dear Cherokee Choices,

I LOVE coffee! I drink two cups every morning and one in the afternoon. I feel more energized afterwards but I am worried I am addicted. Is this an unhealthy habit that I need to break or is it ok?

Sincerely,

Coffee Lover

 

Dear Coffee Lover,

As an avid coffee lover I share your affection towards coffee. Coffee is by far one of the most enjoyed beverages around the world. Most of us can attest to the glory of coffee in the morning and even in the afternoon. Coffee does not only prevent us from strangling coworkers in the morning but recent studies are finding health benefits to consuming coffee as well. Here are a few of the benefits below:

 

  • The Nurses’ Health Study that consisted of 83,073 women showed that regular coffee consumption was associated with a modest reduction in stroke risk.

 

  • An additional study found a reduced risk of heart disease with 37,514 participants that consumed a moderate amount of coffee.

 

  • Research from the Harvard School of Public Health, shows upping your daily coffee intake by 1.5 cups—or roughly 12 ounces—can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes (37 percent lower than people who drank 8 or fewer ounces of coffee daily).

 

  • Coffee (or caffeine) is also a proven and safe performance aid for athletic performance- decreasing fatigue and increasing focus. Consume 1-2 cups of coffee one hour before exercise.

 

  • Coffee even offers protection against gallstones in men.

 

So, how much coffee should you drink? Two to three 8-ounce cups are considered moderate consumption (*Stay under 200-300mg, an 8oz cup of homebrewed coffee contains 80-100 mg) Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant may want to abstain from coffee or drink less than two cups a day. People with hypertension should observe the effect of caffeine on their blood pressure, since it may increase blood pressure.

Coffee is naturally low in calories; a cup has less than 10 calories. However, added sugar and cream can quickly increase calories. Those specialty drinks at our favorite coffee shops can quickly get in the 300-calorie range thus negating the health benefits.

So, keep it simple, don’t go overboard with the cream and sugar, and enjoy the benefits of your cup (or three) of coffee!

Article by Tony Walker, WCU Dietetic Intern, Review and modified by Robin Callahan, RD,LDN, MHS- Cherokee Choices

References: Coffee consumption and risk of stroke in women. Circulation. 2009;119:1116-23;Tea and coffee consumption and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.  2010;30:1665-71.; A prospective study of coffee consumption and the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men. JAMA. 1999;281:2106-12; Caffiene and Athletic Performance, Sports Science Institute,2014; Coffee Lowers Diabetes Risk, Harvard School of Public Health, 2014.