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Coffee: Bad Reputation, Good Health

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coffee has a bad reputation but it has good health benefits iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Coffee has long had a special place in my heart. Although I am not too fond of American brewed coffee — it’s too weak, in my opinion — even that is a variety I am learning to like.

Nothing beats the smell of a freshly pulled shot of espresso. It livens the senses in every way. The rich inviting aroma wakes you up instantly and the taste embraces you like a warm hug.

The reputation of this popular drink is not always a positive one. Blamed for yellowing of teeth and a wide array of health issues, many do not know of the health benefits associated with drinking coffee.

Studies have shown that coffee is filled with large amounts of antioxidants and may actually lower your risk of cancer.

In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, CBS News reported that the “study found that, among the 20,000 women who participated, those who drank more than two-and-a-half cups of coffee daily were less likely to develop uterine, or endometrial, cancer compared to women who did not drink coffee at all.”

While this may come as surprise, a recent New York Times article also stated that people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day “had a 15 percent lower risk of colon cancer.”

Another study, published in the New York Times, said that those who drink coffee live longer on average.

Once the researchers controlled for those risks, the “data showed that the more coffee a person consumed, the less likely he or she was to die from a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, infections and even injuries and accidents.”

These findings complement data released by the Harvard Medical School. The data released by the school suggests that coffee is beneficial in preventing many other health conditions as well.

“For those who drink coffee to stay alert, new research suggests that you'll stay more alert, particularly if you are fighting sleep deprivation, if you spread your coffee consumption over the course of the day. For instance, if you usually drink 16 ounces in the morning, try consuming a 2-3 ounce serving every hour or so,” says the same Harvard Medical School publication.

Thus, as this shows, cognitive functioning is improved in those who drink coffee.

While continuous research is being conducted, the positive health benefits seem to outnumber the few negative ones.

The key to drinking coffee is the same as it is with the rest of the foods and drinks we consume every day: moderation.


Harvard Medical School: Coffee Health Risks
"New Releases." Coffee Health Risks. Harvard Medical School, Aug. 2004. Web. 06 July 2012.

CBS News: Coffee May Lower Uterine Cancer Risks, Study Says
NEWS, CBS. "Coffee May Lower Uterine Cancer Risk, Study Says." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 07 May 2010. Web. 06 July 2012.

The New York Times: Really? Drinking Coffee Lowers Colon Cancer Risk
O'Connor, Anahad. "Really? Drinking Coffee Lowers Colon Cancer Risk." Well. The New York Times Company, 2 July 2012. Web. 06 July 2012.

The New York Times: Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer
Parker-Pope, Tara. "Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer." Well. The New York Times Company, 16 May 2012. Web. 06 July 2012.

Reviewed July 6, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

Wow...thanks for the links and info...I can't wait to check them out..and share ..I am a huge coffee fan...but yes a bummer about the staining of the teeth part right?

July 9, 2012 - 6:23pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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