There are many publications in recent years trying to convince us that coffee isn’t as bad as doctors warn with claims that caffeine is actually beneficial to our health. And coffee lovers are always happy to hear of another research backing their “addiction”, but the question remains – can coffee be really dangerous? And how much coffee is too much?
A recent study by the U.S. National Cancer Institute found that drinking four cups or even more every day reduces the risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer. Of course, experts remind us that the best way to decrease the risk of developing melanoma is limiting your exposure to sunlight (there’s no 100% guarantee), but in heavy coffee drinkers the risk drops by an extra 20%. However, you should drink at least four cups a day and not replace the real deal with decaf. That sounds great for coffee lovers, but doctors warn that it poses certain risks.
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Most people have problems falling asleep if they had their coffee late in the afternoon. Some get edgy from just one cup of coffee in the morning, but for others, who are diagnosed with chronic illnesses, it can be really dangerous. People who have high blood pressure and conditions that increase the blood pressure, should not consume caffeine in any form, including coffee, as it will put them at higher risk of heart attack or stroke. According to data, published in the US Journal of Caffeine Research, regular caffeine intake may account for 14% of premature deaths as a result of coronary heart disease, and 20% of stroke-related deaths.
So, coffee can be dangerous, but if you are healthy and drink up to 5 or even 6 cups of coffee a day, you should be OK, according to scientists. The recommended maximum dosage is 400 mg of caffeine per day and as you can imagine a 100 ml cup of coffee doesn’t contain 100 mg of caffeine – it has around 40 mg. So, you can probably do the math yourself – the safe dosage is actually 10 cups a day.
Furthermore, the term “caffeine intoxication” was introduced just recently and it actually is much rarer than we think – increased blood pressure, anxiety, stomach pain usually occur only in people who don’t drink coffee every day. As a matter of fact, you can actually die from drinking too much coffee – if you drink at least 140 cups of coffee in one day! In conclusion, risks from drinking coffee are very individual, but for the average person, the popular beverage is more likely to be beneficial.
So, here are the benefits for your health, depending on how much coffee you drink every day:
1-3 cups a day – this may slightly elevate the risk of high blood pressure, but women get 2 cups a day have 11% lower risk of heart failure than non-drinkers and are 25% less likely to die from heart disease.
3-5 cups a day – people, who gulp down 3 or 4 mugs daily, have a 25% lower risk of developing diabetes than people who drink less than 2. This dosage also lowers the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by 20% and melanoma, as well as to lower the chances of dying of oral cancer by another 49%.
6 cups a day – recent study by British researchers found that women who drink 6 or more cups of coffee a day have a 15% lower risk of death. This amount may sound too much, but there are a lot of people who consume 6 to 10 cups a day – without reporting health problems.
However, doctors say that you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or you are genetically predisposed to metabolize caffeine more slowly, you should replace coffee with water or herbal tea.