It’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and it’s the last thought you have before you go to bed at night. You swear it off one week; you’re swearing without it the next. You love it, you hate it—you can’t live without it. Please, just top it off—actually, make it one more cup: bring on that caffeine.
Just like an on again-off again boyfriend, coffee, energy drinks and anything else that contains America’s favorite daily upper has it’s sweet and sour moments in terms of the relationship with our health.
“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. In several recent studies that didn’t alter the individual’s caffeine intake, but instead merely inquired about his or her daily habits, found that drinking coffee regularly is linked to lowering the risk for certain cancers including liver cancer, type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and potentially derailing old age dementia.
According to WebMd, a Nurse’s Health Study held in 2009 showed that the participants who were regularly consuming two or more cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to suffer a stoke. This data still held consistent whether the nurse had a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type II diabetes.
Although caffeine clearly has some perks, despite the rumors, it’s still not a magical weight loss solution and (we’ve all heard it a million times) there can be too much of a good thing. Consuming too caffeine can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket and has been suggested that an excessive amounts of the fuel may accelerate bone loss.
Notice you’re tossing and turning at night? If you’re ingesting more than four cups of coffee a day (which can be up to 600 milligrams) you might be experiencing insomnia—as well as nervousness, an upset stomach and muscle tremors. A little Joe can go a long way for some late night studying or for that helpful extra jolt in the morning for that 8 AM class, but too much can lead to some very unpleasant side effects.
Next time you think about that love-hate relationship and swearing off or over-consuming caffeine for whatever reason, maybe think again. Sticking to just one or two cups a day has been suggested to cause more help than harm.