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A Comprehensive Guide to Coffee Consumption
Coffee – One of the few things in the world that makes waking up in the morning tolerable and the “liquid courage” (the other kind) we need to face the day. And the morning cup of coffee is just the start. You can drink this “health potion” multiple times throughout the day to keep you going. Neither office tasks nor chores at home look too mind-numbing or tedious when you have coffee breaks to look forward to.
But whether you are one of the 29% of Americans who drink two cups of coffee a day or one out of ten who need six cups or more every day, you begin to wonder if coffee really is the right catalyst to get you through the day? What are the health concerns associated with avid coffee consumption? Or how much coffee is too much?
These and other similar questions might make the taste of coffee bitter in your mouth, and not in a good way. This is why we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to answer any questions you might have about coffee consumption.
In a word, yes. But don't take our "word" for it. Plenty of studies have been conducted on the subject, and it has been determined that not only is coffee drinking not bad for your health, but it actually has several benefits. Unless you are consuming too much coffee (Yes! There is an optimal amount) or have certain pre-existing conditions, regular coffee consumption carries almost no risk.
Before we discuss coffee's actual health benefits, it's a good idea to dispel some of the myths about coffee and caffeine.
There are several common misconceptions about coffee; many of them are associated with caffeine, a main constituent of coffee. So, if you exclusively drink decaf, you might consider skipping to the coffee benefits segment.
There are several other misconceptions about the adverse health side effects of coffee, but a quick internet search and a plethora of research papers can set you at ease about most of them. Now that we know that coffee is non “not healthy,” let’s dive into its actual health benefits.
There are several health benefits of drinking coffee. One actual, tangible health benefit is a good mood, which is key to individual and group mental health. Take the coffee maker away from an office and restrict coffee runs, and see how rapidly the mood changes in the office.
Coffee is a stimulant (a relatively mild one) that causes alertness and stimulates mental activity. Whether it’s a pile of laundry at home or a pile of paperwork in the office, you might feel more “up for the job” after a cup of coffee. It’s a tangible health benefit because it allows you to spend more time doing something and less time pondering it, offering more peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment (triggering dopamine).
Other health benefits are:
From the dispelling of common myths to several proven health benefits, the information above answers the question “is coffee healthy?” in detail. So if you are ever worried about the health repercussions of coffee consumption, remember that in moderation, coffee is good for your mind and body. Again, the key is “moderation." You should have a good idea of how much coffee you can (and should) consume.
If you search for the optimal amount of coffee consumption without any adverse side effects, you'll find answers/calculations in two forms: The number of cups and the amount of caffeine. The latter is more accurate but also relatively impractical because most people don't know how much caffeine is in a typical cup of coffee, thanks mostly to a wide spectrum of coffee types.
But several other factors, like the type of coffee roast you are using, can also impact the amount of caffeine you ingest in a cup of coffee.
Dark roast carries less caffeine than light roast beans. And the fact that the coffee cup sizes are not standardized doesn't really help. Still, if you can keep a few numbers in your head (with the help of coffee, of course), you might have no trouble keeping your coffee consumption to healthy levels.
The “FDA Approved” amount of caffeine (through coffee, assuming it's your only source of caffeine) a healthy adult can ingest in a day is 400 milligrams. Ideally, it should be spread out throughout the day. If you drink two or three large cups of coffee in a row and exhaust your allowable (healthy) caffeine quota for the day, you can’t complain about the (mild) repercussions.
Now all that’s left to figure out is how much caffeine is in different cups of coffee, and you are good to go. An eight-ounce cup of:
There are several other factors that impact caffeine quantity as well, like the coffee bean species. Robusta beans contain almost twice as much caffeine compared to Arabica (for the same weight).
To simplify, if you are drinking espresso, it’s a good idea to keep track of the volume of the espresso shot you've ingested throughout the day. Six ounces and you are in the safe zone (384 mg of caffeine), but any more and you'll be going beyond the 400-milligram cap. Similarly, when you are opting for brewed coffee, knowing about the bean species and the roast can help you make a more informed coffee consumption decision.
It’s imperative that you remember that coffee is not the only source of caffeine. You can ingest caffeine through tea, chocolate, and energy drinks (among other sources) as well.
Coffee is healthy, but you can make it healthier by adopting some good coffee practices (related to both preparation and consumption).
But since these healthy practices have a lot to do with the type of coffee bean species, different roasts, and a few other factors, it’s a good idea to develop a basic understanding of these things.
There are four officially classified coffee bean species, each with its own unique characteristics (aroma, flavor, richness, etc.). However, not all coffee beans are readily available.
In the US, you are most likely to come across Arabica and Robusta beans, both good choices. Each has its own characteristic taste and price point, and with different roast and brew combinations, you can achieve a lot of control over the flavor of the beans.
Relatively fewer coffee drinkers roast coffee beans themselves. No matter how deep your love of coffee is, you might not have the time, skill, equipment, or patience required for coffee roasting. And even if you brew your own coffee, you don’t necessarily need to go through the process of roasted beans since there are plenty of options available. Especially now, when coffee subscription services have become so commonplace.
Different roasts also have different caffeine levels (heavily influenced by the type of bean), and the simple rule of thumb you need to remember is this: Lighter roasts have slightly higher levels of caffeine compared to darker roasts.
Another factor that impacts the caffeine content is the size of the beans (which is influenced by the roasting). Light roasts are smaller, denser compared to dark roasts. So even if the caffeine level difference is minimal, if we use equal weights of but is slightly more pronounced if you use equal volumes, i.e., scoops. One scoop of light roasts will be slightly heavier than one scoop of dark roasts and will also likely have a higher number of individual beans, resulting in higher caffeine content.
Even if you are not limiting yourself exclusively to coffee subscription services, there is relatively little argument that one of the healthiest coffee brands you can drink is Lifeboost Coffee. It tops the charts in most of the healthy coffee brands. But it's important to understand not just the name but the characteristics and traits of the healthy coffees you can consume.
The essence of a healthy coffee can be “boiled” down to the beans, i.e., the core ingredient. How and where it’s grown, how it’s treated, processed, roasted, and brewed. And a few traits of some of the healthiest coffees would be:
Apart from these “factors” that determine which coffee is the healthiest for you, there are certain measures you can take to make your relatively healthier:
If you choose the right coffee and pick up some (or most) of the good coffee consumption practices, this beverage will be just as good for your health as it is for your mood.
Coffee consumption in moderation and with the right ingredients (and practices) is quite healthy. And most of the health benefits it offers are tied to the right coffee. Finding the right brand, beans, and roast can be an exquisite culinary adventure. You might have to try several different beans, blends, different roasts, and brew (and their multiple combinations) before you find the right coffee.
But that would be worth it because the effort and time cost might directly impact your health. And if you are still on the quest to find the perfect blend of health and taste (not the perfect coffee blend, remember single-origin), give Lifeboost Coffee a try. It offers all the traits of a healthy coffee and more.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content.
All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.