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What about coffee?

Published on August 04, 2015

What about coffee?

Clara Vancura, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Health – Long Prairie

Caffeine can help perk you up and increase cognitive function.Is it healthy? Should I cut back? How much is too much? What’s the best way to drink it? Am I addicted if I drink ____ cups a day? How much creamer can I put in? What about decaf? What if I drink it all day?

These are just a few questions I get from patients and staff who love their coffee. My answer is usually, “I LOVE coffee, too! I just finished my second cup!”

But let’s take a look at some facts that are not swayed by my own tastes and preferences.

Positives

  • Caffeine can help perk you up in the a.m. and increase cognitive function.
  • Coffee provides a great source of antioxidants in the American diet (mainly due to the large amount that we consume) that may have some disease-preventing effects. The exact mechanism for this is not yet known and currently is being researched.
  • Coffee can be a great way to get in additional milk. Milk is a great source of calcium, something that many Americans fall short of — especially women.
  • Coffee contains small amounts of potassium, niacin, vitamin E and magnesium. However, this does not qualify it as your morning “vitamin” or meal by any means.

Negatives

  • The new coffee obsession has American’s drinking a lot more sugar and fat than realized. At Caribou Coffee for example, a medium pumpkin white chocolate mocha made with 2% milk and whipped cream on top is 700 calories, 31g fat and 97g of carbohydrate. To put this into perspective, a regular sized snickers bar has 250 calories, 12g fat and 33g carbohydrate. Check out your favorite coffee drink online and be informed.
  • There is such a thing as too much. (Darn!) A moderate amount of coffee is considered to be around three 8 ounce cups a day.

Caution

If you have a history of hypertension, the additional caffeine in coffee can cause increased blood pressure for a short period of time.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit caffeine intake to a maximum of 200-300 mg a day (two to three cups of coffee).

Needing to make a change? Decaf coffee contains only 4 mg of caffeine versus 130 mg in a cup of regular coffee, and it still goes well with milk and contains those great antioxidants.

Now, you will have to excuse me… I need to go get a refill.

Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Clara Faust, RD

Clara Vancura, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Health – Long Prairie
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