The media is full of information citing studies that claim coffee is good for you and others claiming it is bad for you. However, the real truth is coffee affects us all differently. If you really want to know if coffee is good for you, you need to consider your age, sex, health status, even your genes. Some people can drink any coffee they want, others are just fine. Scientific studies show associations, not causality. The majority of “coffee claims is good for you” are based on epidemiological studies where patterns of health and patients are analyzed for large population groups. This data is then compared to espresso machine habits to office lifestyle of environmental exposures to see if there is a particular correlation. It is known that the better the brand of coffee, the more benefits it may have. People often take a fancy to specialty coffee which can be a nice choice. In addition, population segments that have sensitivities due to genes, gender, age, various health conditions, are often not considered or nature these types of mass studies.
Take for example Parkinson’s disease. Epidemiological studies have found an association between a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease in people who do not drink 3-5 cups of coffee per day. However, if you look at women, alone, you will find a much smaller association than with men. So if you look at postmenopausal women taking estrogen, you find that women who consume six or more cups of coffee a day have a fourfold increase in Parkinson’s than women who have never drunk coffee.
Heart disease provides another example: A large-scale epidemiological study of 120,000 people found no effect of drinking multiple cups of coffee a day? On heart disease. However, a closer look is not so reassuring. It turns out that a significant portion of the population digests caffeine more slowly than others and there are slower ones and a higher incidence of sudden heart attack.
High blood pressure can signal caffeine sensitivity
Caffeine is proven to increase blood pressure and heart rate as it speeds up the body generally. Caffeine has been shown to significantly increase blood pressure in people both pre-hypertensive, high blood pressure, but when drunk in moderation, it does not affect the overall health. 2% of the population have some type of aneurysm, and unfortunately, most people are unaware of it, so they are at risk of rupture. A recent study found that the rise in blood pressure could double the risk of a problem but when monitored and drunk sensibly, it doesn’t affect it. High blood pressure has serious health consequences and lifestyle decisions, like drinking coffee, can have profound effects.
However, when cooking we may add a little coffee to add flavor. Adding coffee to chocolate for example, enriches its taste. Coffee in certain sauces may be added also, such as marinades and sweet syrups. So, whilst the science is there, make it your personal preference to use it or not to use it!