Many of us are concerned about drinking too much coffee. A lot of us need it (desperately) to get through the work day, but is it putting our long-term health at risk?
Or could it be helping us?
If you are talking about the potential prevention of some serious diseases, and even death, the answer might be a resounding YES.
Researchers out of Italy conducted a meta-analysis of the scientific literature to identify qualifying studies that examined the relationship between caffeinated coffee consumption and both the incidence of and mortality resulting from the following diseases:
- cardiovascular disease (CVD)
- type 2 diabetes (T2D)
- hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
- endometrial cancer
- melanoma, and
- nonmelanoma skin cancer
Their results, published in the July 2021 issue of Advances in Nutrition, are sure to paint a broad smile on the faces of coffee-lovers’ all around.
The researchers found there to be an inverse association with risk (associated with lower risk) of the following five diseases:
- endometrial cancer
- non-melanoma skin cancer
They also found coffee to be inversely associated with risk of HCC, although not to the point of statistical significance.
So five out of six ain’t bad.
For each of the five diseases listed above where coffee was associated with decreased risk, the risk reduction observed was linear in terms of caffeinated coffee consumption. This means the risk decreased more as consumption increased over the range of consumption they observed.
It is very important to note that the risk decreased linearly only over the range they observed, rather than over an infinite range of coffee consumption. This means we should not take this result to mean the more coffee we consume, the better. There is an upper limit where too much coffee or caffeine consumption can be dangerous or even fatal, so talk to your doctor before adding or increasing coffee or caffeine consumption.
Now with that said, there was one disease where the benefits of caffeinated coffee consumption seemed to “top out” and that was CVD. CVD was the only disease of the five where the association was not linear. In the case of CVD, the largest risk reduction was observed between 3-4 cups of coffee a day.
So, should we all put on a pot of coffee right now and start chugging?
As stated before, you should certainly talk to your doctor first. There is such thing as too much caffeine, and the results of overdosing could be fatal. So it is imperative that everyone consumes caffeine within reason and in a normal, healthy range. Talk to your doctor to find out what that normal, healthy range is for you.
It should also be noted that caffeine is a diuretic, so if you’re drinking a significant amount (while still a safe amount), you might want to make sure a bathroom is nearby.
And while this study found great results in risk reduction of several diseases, as we all know these are not the only diseases known to mankind. So again, it is important to discuss with your doctor what the right and healthy amount of caffeine consumption is for you specifically. Perhaps there is a sweet spot where you get plenty of the benefits of coffee consumption, including all its beneficial compounds that may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, while avoiding any drawbacks that might come with over-consumption.
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