preview
Is Coffee Good for You? - YouTube

The Nugget

  • Coffee in moderation (3-4 cups/day) is associated with health benefits, including lower all-cause mortality and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, mental decline, and some cancers. However, coffee's impact on sleep and anxiety must be considered on an individual basis.

Make it stick

  • โ˜• 3-4 cups a day keeps the reaper at bay! Moderate coffee intake is linked to longevity and disease risk reduction.
  • ๐Ÿง  Coffee isn't just a pick-me-up - it may help keep your mind sharp as you age by reducing risk of mental decline and neurological diseases.
  • ๐Ÿ’ค The sleep thief: Caffeine's half-life is ~5 hours, so that afternoon cup could still be disrupting your sleep 12 hours later.
  • ๐Ÿณ Filtered coffee may have an edge over unfiltered in terms of heart health benefits, possibly due to filtering out certain oils.

Key insights

Coffee and all-cause mortality

  • Studies have found an association between drinking coffee (around 4 cups/day) and reduced all-cause mortality (16%) and cardiovascular disease (21%).
  • However, these nutritional epidemiology studies have limitations, such as relying on self-reported data and not controlling for confounding factors like variations in coffee preparation.

Coffee and cardiovascular disease

  • Multiple studies found the strongest reduction in cardiovascular disease risk at 3-4 cups of coffee per day.
  • Benefits seem to diminish by 10 cups per day.

Caffeine and athletic performance

  • Caffeine doses of 3-6mg per kg of body weight can measurably improve endurance and peak power output, especially in trained athletes.
  • However, improvements are relatively minor for non-elite athletes and may require consuming large amounts of coffee.

Coffee, sleep, and anxiety

  • Despite potential health benefits, coffee consumption can interfere with sleep quality and duration, negating positive effects.
  • Individuals' responses to caffeine vary based on genetics (slow vs. fast metabolizers).
  • Experimenting with reducing/eliminating caffeine may improve sleep for some.
  • Caffeine's half-life is ~5 hours, taking up to 12 hours to fully clear the system.

Filtered vs. unfiltered coffee

  • A large Norwegian study found filtered coffee associated with lower all-cause mortality and heart disease risk compared to unfiltered, possibly due to kahweol and cafestol oils.
  • However, an Italian study on espresso drinkers found similar benefits, suggesting other factors like overall diet and smoking habits may play a role.

Coffee and gut health

  • Coffee is a source of beneficial polyphenols (like chlorogenic acids) and fiber (~2g per cup), which may positively impact gut microbiome.
  • Polyphenol content is highest in fresh, light roast coffee and decreases with staling and darker roasts.

Coffee and GERD (acid reflux)

  • While coffee is less acidic than stomach acid, it can exacerbate pre-existing GERD by triggering the condition in the esophagus.
  • Cold brew is less acidic than hot coffee but also lower in beneficial antioxidants and overall chemical diversity.

Coffee and cognitive function

  • Studies suggest coffee consumption is associated with lower incidence of mental decline, impairment, and neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in older adults.

Coffee and cancer

  • Despite concerns about acrylamide (a potential carcinogen found in small quantities in coffee), no evidence directly links dietary acrylamide to increased cancer risk.
  • Some studies even suggest coffee consumption may reduce the risk of certain cancers, like liver and kidney.
  • Mycotoxins (mold/fungi toxins) have been found in low levels in raw coffee, but roasting significantly reduces them to non-concerning levels, especially in specialty coffee.

Key quotes

  • "As long as it's not interfering with your sleep, or your anxiety, and you're drinking it in moderation, then it feels like the answer to the question is, yes, coffee is good for you."
  • "I love making and drinking coffee, and that seems kind of wonderful, because what's the point of a longer, healthier life, if not to do more of the things that you love?"