The truth about our favorite beverage: Coffee

More than 75 percent of us drink coffee and more than 50 percent say they drink it every day. But coffee has a longstanding history of being blamed for many health problems, from stunting your growth to causing heart disease.

However, there’s good news for those of us who love a good cup of joe — recent research shows that coffee may not be so terrible for you after all.

Benefits and drawbacks 

Coffee improves energy levels due to the caffeine, which is the most commonly used stimulant in the world. Several studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can help burn fat and increase physical performance. Coffee also contains many important nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, niacin and riboflavin.

Those who drink coffee may also lower their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, liver cirrhosis and depression. Coffee can also be great relief for those suffering from constipation.

For those who are sensitive to caffeine, coffee can cause “the jitters,” but these feelings can be tempered with this surprising fruit. Coffee can also rob you of sleep if you drink too much too late in the day. It takes about six hours for caffeine to clear your system, so try to limit yourself to just the morning cup of joe.

A few other things to keep in mind: The dark color of coffee is known for staining teeth. Coffee can also be an irritant to those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Did you know?

Ground coffee has about 115 milligrams of caffeine per cup, while instant coffee only has 65 milligrams of caffeine.

Keep an eye on the size of your coffee cup.

A “grande” size drink has over 300mg of caffeine — three times as much as a regular size cup of coffee. Most experts will suggest that you stop at two or three cups. Too much coffee can lead to a fast heart rate and high blood pressure.

Although coffee has many health benefits, be aware of how many calories and grams of fat that milk, sugar and cream can add to your coffee. Try using skim milk or almond milk instead of cream. Agave nectar, honey or stevia are great natural alternatives to sugar.

Related: How to make smarter beverage choices

About the author

Emily Hein
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Emily works as a Clinical and Outpatient Dietitian at The Heart Hospital at Baylor Plano. She has a strong passion for cooking, hot yoga, and believes that moderation and enjoyable physical activity are the keys to a healthy life.

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The truth about our favorite beverage: Coffee