Can you smell that? The toasty, comforting aroma of a new day awaiting. It’s what envelopes you like a warm hug and guides you through the stresses. It’s what gives you the fuel needed to walk out the front door and face what awaits. It’s coffee.
Coffee, for millions of people, is a daily ritual that can’t be missed. In fact, a 2022 National Coffee Association (NCA) survey concluded that 62% of Americans drink coffee every single day. Yet this seemingly essential beverage has many people asking: Is coffee good for you?
“The thing to understand about coffee is its composition,” says White-Wilson Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Brittany Fais. “Most coffee drinkers know that its fundamental ingredient is caffeine, a nervous system stimulant used to help boost energy and increase alertness levels.”
While different people have varying reactions to caffeine, it nevertheless is associated with a slew of health risks including insomnia, dehydration and heightened stress and anxiety, warns APRN Fais. Although several health benefits are associated with caffeine intake, such as in medicinal usage and protecting against certain diseases, caffeine in general should be consumed in controlled amounts.
“Aside from caffeine, there are other components in coffee, including polyphenols, that few people are familiar with, and this is where we really get into the debate on whether coffee is good for you or not,” says APRN Fais. “Simply put, polyphenols are organic compounds commonly found in plants and have many health-promoting properties, such as antioxidant and antihypertensive effects.”
While we recognize that coffee is comprised of these natural, healthful elements, it is the way in which people prepare and drink their coffee that ultimately plays a major role in determining its overall level of “healthiness.” Besides taking care not to consume too much caffeine, it’s important to be thoughtful about how your cup of joe is served.
“Brewing methods and extra ingredients play a part in determining how your coffee affects your health,” elaborates APRN Fais. “If you drink your coffee black, so without dairy or sugar added, a single cup, in theory, would have more recognizable health benefits than would a cup containing those additives. The downfall is that many people will add sugars, syrups, dairy products and processed flavors, which turns their coffee into more of a dessert. Some popular drinks contain more than 50 or 60 grams of sugar.”
APRN Fais emphasizes that awareness and moderation are key. Always know what you are putting into your body and understand that coffee can never be “good for you” the way in which a drink such as water or a snack like fruit is good for you. All in all, be sure to talk with your primary care provider for further explanation and guidance on your unique dietary needs and how your routines may be impacting your overall health and wellness.
Brittany Fais, APRN provides comprehensive primary care at White-Wilson Medical Center in Navarre. Communicative and versatile, she strives to develop relationships with her patients and make their visits with her comfortable and educational. Learn more about APRN Fais and her approach to patient care here.