There are three things almost all Boulderites have in common: we like to stay active, we value our health, and we LOVE our coffee. And for good reason! The caffeine and antioxidant content in coffee give it some big health benefits that make it a no-brainer for Boulder‘s biohacking health-centric community. To be fair, coffee can have some doppio-sized disclaimers – compromised sleep, enhanced anxiety, gut agitation, and exposure to cancer-causing toxins in the beans, water, and to-go cups. But overall, the research shows that daily coffee consumption can save you years of healthy, high-quality life. In fact, drinking 1 cup of coffee per day can save 3% of healthy lived years (which averages to 2.2 years in most humans) and upping your intake to 3 cups a day can double that amount and save you 4.4 healthy life years. So brew up that organic, filtered, dark roast in a ceramic mug and lets look at what what the science says about Boulder‘s favorite Brew Habit.

 Woman in Grey Jacket Sits on Bed Uses Grey Laptop brown pine cone on persons hand

Buzzing with Benefits

The caffeine and antioxidants in coffee can help reduce inflammation that contributes to almost all diseases (including Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease, and obesity), boost immunity, and change lipid (fat) profile. Coffee has been found to improve (1):

  • Inflammation.
  • Weight & Obesity.
  • Blood Sugar & Diabetes.
  • Brain Health, including:
    • Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
    • Parkinson Disease.
    • Alertness & Cognitive Performance.
    • Memory.
  • Sports Perfomrance.
  • Heart Health.
  • Cancer, including:
    • Skin, Breast, lung, liver, lymph, colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic, and prostatic.
  • Immune Function.
  • Blood Health.
  • Gut Health, including:
    • Gut Microbiome.
    • Gut-Brain Connection.
  • Digestion & Bowel Function.

coffee, cup, macbook black coffee beans on brown wooden table

Doppio Drawbacks

Coffee is not without its drawbacks, especially if you drink too much or have certain health conditions. Some of the potential risks of coffee are:

  • Compromised Sleep & Insomnia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems.
  • Mineral Depletion (e.g., iron and calcium).
  • Drug Interactions (e.g., medications for depression, pain, ADD/ADHD and binge eating).
  • High Blood Pressure & Heart Problems.
  • Compromised Sports Recovery.
  • Toxin Exposure that comes from the:
    • Roasting process.
    • Soil, water, and air pollution.
    • Using contaminated water.
    • Plastics in to-go cups.

These toxins can harm DNA and cause cancer.

person pouring coffee into glass Woman Wearing Black Top Holding White Cup person pouring liquid on drinking glass

Drink Responsibly

The way you drink coffee can also affect its health impact. Here are some tips to make your coffee habit healthier.

THE DO’S:

  • Choose organic beans to minimize the content of toxins in the beans.
  • Go Dark: Dark roasts activate the antioxidants that give coffee many of its health benefits.
  • Use a Filter: Brew your coffee with a paper filter that removes some of the toxins produced in the growing and roasting process. Pour-overs are great ways to ensure filter use. Unfiltered coffees, like espresso, French press, or Turkish coffee, contain more toxins and should be avoided.
  • Use filtered water to eliminate water contaminants.
  • Bring your own mug. To-go mugs include toxic plastics that enable the cup fibers to stay dry. Use a ceramic mug to avoid these extra toxins.
  • Chase with water. Coffee can dehydrate you, as caffeine is a diuretic that increases urination. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, dry skin, and kidney problems, especially in arid high-altitude environments like Colorado. The Mayo Clinic advises drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and balance your coffee intake.

THE CAUTIONS:

  • Avoid sugars and creams. Sugar and cream can add extra calories, fat, and sugar to your coffee, which can negate its health benefits and harm your health. Try having your coffee black or adding a small amount of sugar-free nut milk or a natural sweetener like stevia or cinnamon.
  • Cut off coffee consumption after noon or switch to decaf if you need an afternoon pickup. This will help reduce the impact on sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine after exercise. Instead, try chaga or maca supplementation to help adrenal recovery.
  • Limit caffeine to 200 mg (1 – 2 cups) if you experience anxiety, insomnia, anemia, osteopenia, irregular heartbeats, blood pressure changes, or take responsive medications.
  • Consult your doctor or health coach if you experience anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart problems, or are taking medications or supplements that might interact with coffee.

clear glass coffee pitcher beside turntable White Ceramic Mug With Coffee woman holding cup while looking outside

The Bottom Line

Coffee can be a friend or a foe, depending on how you drink it. Coffee can have many health benefits, such as lowering the risk of some diseases and improving your mood and brain function. However, coffee can also have some health risks, such as raising your blood pressure, disrupting your sleep, and causing anxiety and stomach problems. The key is to drink coffee in moderation, choose filtered coffee, avoid added sugar and cream, and drink water.

Science Says Coffee Promotes Longer Healthy Life

Overall, a recent study found that daily coffee drinking is consistently associated with lower all-cause mortality and longer healthy lifespan (Doepker et al., 2022). Simply stated, coffee drinkers had a lower chance of dying from any cause than non-coffee drinkers did. Specifically, drinking one cup of coffee a day could help you avoid losing 3.35% of your healthy life (~2.5 years) and drinking three cups daily could help you avoid losing up to 6% of healthfully lived years (~4.5 years).

By following these tips, you can enjoy your coffee without compromising your health. So Good Morning Boulder; let’s get our organic filtered dark roast coffee brewing!

 

Sources:

  1. Barrea, L., et al. (2023). “Coffee consumption, health benefits and side effects: a narrative review and update for dietitians and nutritionists.” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 63(9): 1238-1261. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34455881/.
  2. Ribeiro, M., Alvarenga, L., Cardozo, L. F. M. F., Kemp, J. A., Lima, L.
    S., Almeida, J. S. d., Leal, V. d. O., Stenvinkel, P., Shiels, P. G. and Mafra, D. (2022) The magical smell and taste: Can coffee be good to patients with cardiometabolic disease? Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, (doi: 10.1080/10408398.2022.2106938).https://eprints.gla.ac.uk/276922/2/276922.pdf
  3. Reddy, Vundrala Sumedha, et al. “Pharmacology of caffeine and its effects on the human body.” European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Reports (2024): 100138. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772417424000104
  4. Gardiner C, Weakley J, Burke LM, Roach GD, Sargent C, Maniar N, Townshend A, Halson SL. The effect of caffeine on subsequent sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2023 Jun;69:101764. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2023.101764. Epub 2023 Feb 6. PMID: 36870101. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36870101/.
  5. Liu C, Wang L, Zhang C, Hu Z, Tang J, Xue J, Lu W. Caffeine intake and anxiety: a meta-analysis. Front Psychol. 2024 Feb 1;15:1270246. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1270246. PMID: 38362247; PMCID: PMC10867825. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10867825/pdf/fpsyg-15-1270246.pdf.
  6. Mollakhalili, N., et al. (2022). “Potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in coffee: a comprehensive review of toxicity, prevalence, and analytical techniques.” International Journal of Environmental Health Research 34: 1-18. https://www.researchgate.net.
  7. Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Coffee and health: What does the research say? Retrieved April 27, 2021 from: https://microsoftstart.msn.com/en-us/health/ask-professionals/in-expert-answers-on-coffee/in-coffee?questionid=ijgijat8&type=nutrition&source=bingmainline_nutritionqna

 

Dr. Brenna Bray, a local health and wellness coach, stress researcher, associate professor, and avid ultra-marathon mountain runner, holds PhDs in Biomedical Science, Neuroscience, and Complementary and Integrative Health. Her journey through an eating disorder fuels her dedication to coaching, merging personal experiences with scientific expertise. Through her practice, Bray empowers clients to access and harness their innate healing abilities and achieve remarkable health and wellness transformations. Committed to community engagement and holistic well-being, Dr. Bray shapes a brighter, healthier future for all. Learn more about Dr. Bray at www.brennabray.com.