Coffee: The Science

Flat White no sugar

Flat White no sugar

If you’ve ever been a patient of mine with an apointment at about 10:00 AM you will probably be familiar with the special knock at the door which signifies that my coffee is being delivered. I freely admit that this mid-morning flat-white is keenly anticipated every day.

In recent weeks with the arrival of Wardling no# 3 (and the associated sleep deprivation) my coffee has become simply a medical necessity to enable me to practice in a safe, competent and non-homicidal manner.

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed drinks on the planet however to some people it is still viewed as a bit of a vice. A slightly bad habit that should be indulged as little as possible.

Let me conclusively dispel this myth. The truth is coffee is profoundly good for you health.

Lets have a look at the science:

This recent study showed that people who drink more coffee have lower rates of deaths due to heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, and the same rates of cancer as non-coffee drinkers

This study showed a strong inverse association between coffee consumption and risk of lethal prostate cancer. I.e. the higher the coffee consumption the lower the risk of dying of prostate cancer. Interestingly this was the same for decaf drinkers as for ‘proper’ coffee drinkers so whatever it is in coffee that is protective against cancer it isn’t the caffeine.

This study shows that coffee consumption is associated with lower endometrial cancer risk among obese postmenopausal women.

Here we find coffee consumption lowering the risk of stroke in women. Once again this showed that it isn’t the caffeine itself that confers the benefit as other drinks that contain caffeine (such as tea and some soft-drinks) didn’t show the same protective effect.

And this study showed that coffee drinkers live longer. (or at least that elderly Finnish coffee drinkers live longer)

As if these physical health benefits weren’t enough it’s also been shown that coffee drinkers have lower rates of depression and suicide.

Are there any drawbacks to drinking coffee?

Yes of course, like anything you can have too much of a good thing. Coffee is slightly dehydrating because it makes you urinate more and it can of course interfere with sleep in some people if you drink it within 6 hours of bed-time.

Other than that it’s all good news! What a brilliant way to enhance your physical and mental health!