Posted on December 2, 2014 at 6:00 am
The other day, I bought my usual morning coffee from a local coffee stand, and the familiar blue lid had a message for me. It said “I’m here to help.” And I wondered—is that true? Is my daily coffee habit more than a socially acceptable vice? Is all this coffee actually doing my body good?
I drink a lot of coffee. So much so, that family and friends have been inclined to comment on my serious coffee habit. I have a collection of large coffee mugs. Big, big, huge mugs. Over the course of an average day, I might consume 4 or more giant cups of coffee. After years of good natured ribbing from friends and colleagues, I am ready to respond to their comments that I am “Stunting my growth” or “maybe you should cut back”. I spent a little time poring over the research available in our digital resource Proquest and I have my responses ready:
I am lowering my risk of Type II Diabetes. In three large, long-running studies with data on more than 120,000 adults, researchers found that those who increased their coffee by more than one cup a day over 4 years were less likely to develop Type II Diabetes. (1)
I am helping to stave off Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Finnish and Swedish researchers found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day could cut their risk for these illnesses by 65%. (2) Other studies have found a reduction in the risk for Parkinson’s Disease.(3)
My family will attest to the fact that coffee makes me happier and also improves my mental acuity. Apparently, research supports this idea. A prospective study suggests that frequent consumption of diet sweetened beverages may increase depression risk among older adults, whereas coffee consumption may lower the risk. (4) One study found that volunteers who drank coffee in the morning performed better on tests that involved learning new information than non-coffee drinkers. (5) You should see my daughters’ impressions of me in the morning before coffee. Hilarious, but only after I’ve had that first cup of coffee!
Contrary to popular myth, coffee may actually help me live longer. (6) Studies have linked coffee consumption to lower risks for liver and kidney cancers, reduction in risk for heart disease, stroke, and overall risk for death by any cause.
This is all great news for me, because I don’t plan to quit drinking coffee anytime soon. As with any health and wellness information, I would be remiss as a librarian if I didn’t add this caveat: I’m not a doctor. When we are helping people research health information in the library, we always encourage them to take what they’ve found and discuss it with their health care provider. We have so much information at our fingertips, and we can all be well-informed advocates for our own health.
1) Drinking more coffee linked to lower diabetes risk. (2014). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 32(7), 3. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1558355234?accountid=1631
2) Coffee drinkers at 65% reduced risk of dementia & alzheimer’s. (2009). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 27(2), 6. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/196371086?accountid=1631
3) Sääksjärvi, K., Knekt, P., Rissanen, H., Laaksonen, M. A., Reunanen, A., & Männistö, S. (2008). Prospective study of coffee consumption and risk of parkinson’s disease. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 62(7), 908-15. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602788