By Esperanza Delos Reyes, RND
A breakfast without a coffee is not a breakfast at all.
You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your daily cup may provide some additional benefits as well.
According to my endocrinologist drinking a cup of coffee at least 2 to 3 times daily is safe.
Unfortunately, we cannot be specific because the cup size and preparation method should also be observed.
However, making any recommendations for a target intake should be considered.
According to Diane Vizthum, M.S., R.D., research nutritionist for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, coffee contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against diseases.
In the Philippines consumer reports say eight out of 10 adults drink an average of 2.5 cups of coffee every day.
Coffee has a high level of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients and seems to be quite healthy.
Studies show that drinking the right amount of coffee have a much lower risk of several serious diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, Parkinson’s disease etc.
But those benefits are for black coffee per se. These are not the sugary and creamy coffee that you can order in every corner of the street.
In drinking coffee, you can actually replace the creamer with a low-fat milk for your daily calcium intake and if you can change the habit of adding sugar or at least a teaspoon of it can throw a wrench in your routine.
But we have to consider also how your coffee is being prepared. Research appears that high consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. Although coffee may have fewer risks compared with benefits.
There are nutrients that can be found in coffee like the vitamin B2 Riboflavin, magnesium, chlorogenic acid and quinic acid.
These acids reduce food cravings, reduces daily calorie intake, and induces body fat loss by thermogenesis (Greenberg et al., 2006) by acting as a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARa) agonist, just like statins used for treatment of cholesterol and triglycerides disorders.
Coffee has a mixture of thousands of chemicals. The cup of coffee that you drink whether it is in a coffee shop or you brew it at a home, the difference is the kind of coffee bean that you want to utilize, how it is roasted, the amount of grind, and how it is brewed. It should also be noted that every individual has a different human response to coffee or caffeine and the amount that your body can tolerate. Low doses like 50 to 300 milligram per day according to research may cause increased alertness, energy, and ability to concentrate, while higher doses may have negative effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.
In my opinion as a nutritionist dietician I can truly say that drinking a couple of cups of coffee a day doesn’t come with major health risks and may even fight inflammation and protect against chronic disease. However, the manner of consuming it should be considered. Like if you are working hard and getting only three hours of sleep at night and you will boost it with high doses of coffee to get the energy that you want, it is not fine to be dependent on it.
Although coffee appears to have numerous health benefits, that doesn’t mean nutrition professionals should encourage everyone to drink it. “It’s important to keep in mind that, while there may be population wide positive health associations with a particular food, any nutrition advice has to work for the individual,” says Jen Bruning, MS, RDN, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
People also should be advised to watch what they eat with their coffee, since cakes and cookies are popular but unhealthy choices. If people are already drinking coffee, they should continue to enjoy it, but try to keep it as healthful as possible.
(The author is a registered nutritionist dietitian. She can be reached through email: email@example.com.)