Coffee is back in favour! Previously, concerns that coffee caused adrenaline levels to rise contributing to the risk of diabetes and heart disease was enough to put potential coffee drinkers off.
However, recent studies looking at over half a million Europeans and another focusing on over 185,000 people from more diverse backgrounds documented coffee drinkers might live longer. Earlier studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers were less likely to have type 2 diabetes.
Why might this be?
Ask most people what is in coffee and they will immediately tell you caffeine. However, coffee also contains beneficial compounds including phenols (antioxidants that help limit damage to cells), magnesium (hugely important for the correct function of over 300 enzymes) and diterpenes which are thought to help prevent cancer. This might possibly explain why decaffeinated coffee has also been found to be beneficial notwithstanding concerns about chemicals used to produce it.
Like most associations, more research is required to show without doubt a positive and robust benefit.
For example, we do not know if there is a difference between filtered and unfiltered coffee, the (negative) impact of adding lots of milk and sugary products to the multiple cups a day (which might outweigh benefits) and the confounding factors that are not taken into account in these studies – for example it is well known that Mediterranean peoples eat and drink (including cups of coffee) socially which might be associated with reduced stress.
For now, enjoy your cup of coffee and drink responsibly – not excessive amounts that you experience side effects and also, not after 12 Noon since it has the potential to negatively impact the quality of sleep and the latter is very bad for health!
Dr Abbi Lulsegged: Consultant Physician, Endocrinology & Diabetes with an interest in fatigue is available for appointments at both LycaHealth Canary Wharf and LycaHealth Orpington
To book an appointment with Dr Abbi Lulsegged please call: 0207 132 1440 or visit: www.lycahealth.com