Is coffee good or bad for you?

Coffee is extremely high in antioxidants and contains some essential nutrients. These are only in small amounts but can add up with multiple cups in one day.

Coffee contains caffeine that regularly gets a bad press, but it can enhance brain function and boost metabolism. Numerous studies demonstrate that caffeine can give a short-term acceleration in brain function which can improve reaction time, mood, vigilance and general cognitive function.

However, these effects can be short-term. When you drink coffee on a regular basis, you can build up a tolerance which can make these effects less powerful.

Other health benefits include:

  • It can lower the risk of depression and lessen the likely hood of committing suicide.
  • People who drink 4-5 cups a day are reported to live longer.


Caffeine can cause anxiety and disrupt sleep. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to  jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and even exacerbate panic attacks. Some people are overly sensitive to caffeine and may prefer to avoid it all together.

A lot of people don’t realise how disruptive it can be to sleep. They tell you that they can drink a coffee before bed with no effect but quite often they don’t realise they are waking in the night and it is due to the caffeine. To be safe, it is best to stop drinking coffee at 2pm.

Caffeine can also have a diuretic effect and raise blood pressure. This can dissipate with regular use, although a slight increase in blood pressure of 1-2 mm/Hg may persist.  Another issue is that caffeine can become addictive. When people abstain, they can get withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, exhaustion, brain fog and irritability.

What about Decaffeinated?

Coffee is usually decaffeinated by rinsing coffee beans with chemical solvents. Each time beans are rinsed, some percentage of the caffeine dissolves in the solvent. This process is repeated until most of the caffeine has been removed. Keep in mind that even decaffeinated coffee does contain some caffeine, just much less than regular coffee. Look for a water decaffeinated coffee, preferably organic.

So what to do?

Coffee is really nice, and you have to have some enjoyment in your life. It can be relaxing to have a nice hot drink so consider cutting it down, stopping before 2pm, trying to find a decaff you enjoy and buying the best quality you can afford. I personally have reduced my coffee consumption and buy a good quality, water decaffeinated coffee. It isn’t cheap but I subscribe on Amazon and get it for a good price. I have swapped the reduced cups for some more water (hot and cold) and herbal teas. Herbal teas can have some great health benefits and are caffeine and calorie free and help to increase your water content. I didn’t use to enjoy them but buy trying lots of different flavours I have found ones I like. Ask friends and family what they drink and see if you can try one or buy a multi variety pack.

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