Coffee and I go way back. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting at the kitchen table with my grandmother while she ate grapefruit for breakfast and drank a cup of coffee. I would sip my own cup of what was probably 10% coffee and 90% cream. Coffee even inspired my professional path when I learned as a hospital volunteer that premature babies are prescribed caffeine citrate to catalyze respiratory development. Even today, I spend a good portion of my time either trying to get more coffee, enjoying coffee, or making plans about when I will have coffee next. Luckily, I am not alone. This behavior is well-integrated into my family, American culture, and has been a major part of the human experience since its discovery in Ethiopia around 850 A.D. Despite its ubiquity, somewhere along the way, coffee developed a bad reputation where our physical health is concerned. But, like many trends in health advice, those opinions were based on anecdotes and not evidence, and the tides are turning.
This week, I thought I would share what we know about coffee and different health risks and even benefits. Last year, there were two great articles published on this topic. The first reviews what we know about the links between coffee and health by Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia and her colleagues from the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Crippa, A., Discacciati, A., Larsson, S. C., Wolk, A., & Orsini, N. (2014). Coffee consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology, kwu194.
de Mejia, E. G., & Ramirez-Mares, M. V. (2014). Impact of caffeine and coffee on our health. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 25(10), 489-492.