By Molly Tevis, RDN, LD
There has been quite a buzz about coffee in recent news. Coffee has been one of the most universally consumed beverages around the world, but it may be even MORE popular now! 62% drink coffee daily (a rise from 57% in 2016). Fortunately, with this upward trend in coffee intake, analysis suggest drinking several cups of coffee every day is, in most cases, likely to do more good than harm!
So, what’s in your cup of joe? The coffee bean is a seed from the fruit called coffee cherry. When the extracted seeds are roasted they release that familiar aroma and taste. While coffee is generally known for its caffeine effects, it also contains a mix of various nutrients such as carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. Some studies suggest coffee includes ≥1,000 bioactive compounds that may have beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But, depending on the individual gut microbiome and genetics, two people drinking the same coffee may have very different uptake of these nutrients. Coffee is also a source of chlorogenic acids, which are powerful antioxidants. Your morning mugful also contains diterpenes which are fat soluble compounds and may have anti-carcinogenic effects. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects have led researches to determine the impact of coffee on a myriad of conditions from cancer, cardiovascular and neurological health and all-cause mortality.
Recently, the state of California enacted that coffee must have a cancer warning. The reason? Coffee can contain the chemical acrylamide. However, two large studies reviewed the evidence in humans and found no association between dietary intake of acrylamide and risk of several cancers. Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) could not conclude that drinking coffee is carcinogenic based on the current evidence available.
It seems coffee consumption may have several health benefits but should still be consumed on an individual basis. Coffee is not for anyone, those who are sensitive to caffeine, pregnant, or with uncontrolled hypertension should be cautioned. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines suggest moderate coffee consumption to be three to five 8-oz cups per day. Coffee lovers rejoice! You can have your coffee and drink it too!
Molly Tevis represents Albertsons as a food and nutrition expert working in the Albertsons Eagle. Molly is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and member of the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Consult with your health care team for individual medical recommendations.