Coffee is a very popular beverage, consumed widely for a number of reasons, not least being for its purported ability to fight fatigue and boost concentration.
Numerous studies have investigated the health effects associated with coffee consumption with mixed results. Some claim coffee consumption is damaging to health, arguing that overconsumption can be dangerous to the heart and also contending that people can become addicted to it, to their detriment. On the other hand, some studies have claimed health benefits associated with coffee, including promoting a healthy heart and protecting against liver cancer and liver disease. With so many conflicting messages published, it’s difficult to know where the truth lies and if there is any harm associated with a moderate consumption of coffee.
In an attempt to address this contention, researchers conducted a large review of more than 1200 studies that investigated the association between coffee consumption and both positive and negative outcomes. The health outcomes assessed included cancer, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, neurological disorders and age at death. They found that the modest health benefits associated with moderate consumption outweighed the risk in the majority of health outcomes assessed.
Most of the research analysed involved observational studies so the effects of other lifestyle habits undertaken by study participants on health outcomes could not be removed. The take home message, however, seems to be that so long as you enjoy coffee in moderation, there shouldn’t be any major concerns for your health.
Reference: Pourshahidi, LK et al. A comprehensive overview of the risks and benefits of coffee consumption. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 2016; 15: 671 – 684.