I’m a tea lover. I have a particular weakness for Oolong tea, which I find calming on many levels. Perhaps because of my love affair with tea, I always viewed coffee as its evil twin.
On a practical level, both will get you started in the morning, but, I always believed that tea was the healthier option. Then, a friend sent me an article by the Mayo Clinic, pointing out some of the benefits of coffee and dispelling some of the myths.
According to this article, when it comes to the question whether coffee is good or bad for you, “The best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.” So, I decided to take another look at the health benefits of coffee. Here’s what I found.
On the positive side, coffee is packed with antioxidants. In fact, a new study by researchers at the University of Scranton showed that, for the first time, coffee has become the primary source of antioxidants for Americans. Of course, a healthy diet, full of fruits and vegetables is still important, but, it does seem like many of us are taking out “coffee insurance” when it comes to antioxidants.
Other research shows that coffee may be good for your liver and may help to protect against the negative effects that long term alcohol use does to your body. Once again, the best option is to control your alcohol consumption in the first place, but, this is still good information to have.
Coffee may even help to make you feel better on a daily basis. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that drinking 2-4 cups of coffee a day can reduce levels of suicide. Why? Because coffee pumps up those feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
Finally, drinking coffee is often a social experience, and, we all know the health benefits of spending time with the people that we care about. How many times have you offered to get together to “have a coffee” or suggested when making a tough decision to “get a coffee and talk it over.” Coffee doesn’t just stimulate our bodies… it stimulates conversations too.
In recent years, the pendulum seems to have swung in favour of the benefits of coffee over its potentially harmful effects. But, not everyone is crazy about coffee. For starters, coffee may be harmful to drink during pregnancy – not something that women of our generation need to worry about, but, it’s something that younger women should keep in mind. Also, some believe that coffee may weaken your nervous system and suggest green tea as a viable alternative.
At the end of the day, it’s up to every woman to research and decide for herself. One thing is for sure. Coffee is probably not the monster that many of us were taught it was. I am personally planning on bringing this topic up with my doctor at my next check-up. The science of preventative medicine is moving so fast and it makes sense to check our assumptions about what is really healthy from time to time.
Are you are tea or coffee drinker? Do you have any experiences with coffee that support the current research that it is good for you? Please join the conversation.
Tags Healthy Eating