Is coffee a friend or foe to our health?

- Boy, do we love our coffee. Americans drink an estimated 400 million cups a day -- and more than 50 percent of all adult Americans drink daily coffee.

There's been a lot of flip flops when it comes to studies about one of our favorite beverages, so we wanted to find out once and for all, is coffee a friend or foe?

"Coffee is actually associated with many health benefits, to be quite frank," says Dr. Barry Franklin of Beaumont Cardiac Rehab.

But this drink has a very checkered past.

History says the plant was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th century, and was thought to have medicinal benefits. Coffee's popularity grew quickly and so much so, it bewildered women in the 1600s in London and some protested the stimulating drink. But in 2017, coffee is now a nutritional superstar. 

"Yes, we believe coffee is more of an ally than an adversary when it comes to heath," Dr. Franklin says. In fact, he applauds coffee consumption to an extent in his book, The Heart Healthy Handbook.

"It begins to be a problem when people are consuming more than 10 cups a day. That's where we see some adverse physiologic, heart rate, blood pressure responses because of the caffeine," Dr. Franklin says. "But 2-3 cups a day, perfectly fine. Even for people who have known heart disease."

We know coffee is an antioxidant powerhouse, and has been linked to reducing the risk of Type Two diabetes, liver disease, and to improving cognitive function and decreasing the risk of depression. But, just make sure you’re drinking coffee and not dessert.

"Lots of cream and lattes and so on and so forth -- lots of calories you don't need, but black coffee, or black coffee with skim milk perfectly fine," Dr. Franklin says.


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