I have had a daily coffee habit ever since my first post-high school job as a barista. I have taken the occasional caffeine break (during my pregnancies, for instance) but with two little ones at home now, I need my morning coffee more than ever … and sometimes indulge in the afternoon, too.
The good news for coffee addicts like me is that coffee – in moderation – offers a few health benefits.
Health benefits of coffee
According to cardiologist James Ganem, MD, coffee may decrease the risk of heart failure and type 2 diabetes. And, a study from the National Institutes of Health found coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections.
But, warns Natalie Verderame, a registered dietitian in Banner’s employee wellness department, there can be risks as well.
“When you add sugar, cream and flavors to your daily coffee, you are adding empty calories and saturated fat,” she said.
According to this infographic, for a cream and sugar type of gal like myself, I get around half of the sugar I should be eating daily from my coffee – yikes!
She suggests swapping the cream for low-fat or skim milk (or any fortified non-dairy milk). And, you can sweeten up your cup with some cinnamon, vanilla extract, and/or almond extract.
“Like anything else, coffee is best in moderation,” Verderame said.
Potential risks with coffee
In addition, too much caffeine carries its own risks. Restlessness, irritability, confusion, dizziness and a rapid heart rate are signs you may be overdoing it.
The recommendation is no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day, which equals about three cups of coffee.
And a good night’s sleep is important to overall health, so cutting out caffeine late in the day is a good idea.
But, in general, there’s no harm in that morning cup of joe. So, raise up your mug this National Coffee Day.