If I had a quarter for every time someone told me coffee was bad for me, I could buy all the $5 Starbucks lattés I wanted without thinking twice.
On the other hand, we’re always hearing about the health benefits of tea—it aids digestion, supports immunity, boosts energy—while coffee gets cast off as the ugly step-sister beverage that just makes you jittery. But is coffee really all that bad for you?
According to recent studies, no: it’s not that bad for you. In fact, coffee might even be undoing liver damage caused by booze – say what? Researchers at Southampton University in the UK analyzed data from studies of 430,000 subjects and found that people who consumed one cup of coffee a day versus none had a 22% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. The risk dropped by 43% with an additional cup, 57% with three cups, and 65% with four.
Another perk: we use it all the time as the quickest* hangover cure ever (*anyone want to run an official study on this for us?!). Other official research has shown that coffee protects against Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as improving cognitive function and decreasing the risk of depression.
So coffee makes you smarter and happier? Prevents disease and cures hangovers?! What’s the problem?
Hold on to your coffee beans: here’s why you might need to think twice before guzzling down that cup o’ joe.
We reached out to three Charlotte’s Book experts to get their opinion on the study, and guess what? The results are unanimous against the recent findings—all three CB experts say there are much better ways to detox your liver and advise drinking coffee with caution.
Dana James, triple board certified nutritionist and Charlotte’s Book advisor says:
“Be discerning with your coffee choices. Drink organic only, that way you don’t have a cup full of pesticides. Organic coffee is also less stimulating, easier for the body to metabolize and won’t contribute to that 3pm energy drop. I recommend no more than 1 cup per day, provided you are not experiencing adrenal fatigue.
Regarding the Southampton study, it would be foolish to increase your intake of coffee based on these results. Many factors influence liver cirrhosis, most notably HFCS and alcohol. The cohort drinking more coffee could have been drinking less alcohol and eating a diet low in HFCS, thus skewing the results to show that an association with greater consumption of coffee and less cirrhosis.”
Shamara Bandaroff, Microcurrent Specialist and Skincare guru of SB-SKIN says:
“There are other ways to detox your body without dehydrating it more. I prefer tea with little caffeine. I look at girls all day who come in complaining of dehydrated skin. In addition to dehydration they are all jittery after their large coffee. Coffee depletes your minerals, causes unhealthy imbalances in the flora of the gut, can seriously impact your endocrine system, dehydrates you, and can sharply raise blood pressure levels.”
The Health Coach + Yoga Teacher
Fern Olivia Langham, Charlotte’s Book expert holistic health practitioner, yoga and meditation instructor says:
“I’m a loyal royal tea drinker. As part of my daily self-care ritual, I sip a warm cup of herbal tea and write down everything I’m grateful for before my meditation practice. Occasionally, I have a cup of coffee as a treat, but this is more of a “special occasion” for me, not a daily habit. I’ve curbed my former addiction by steeping chicory root, which has a very similar taste to coffee, but is completely caffeine free and is a prebiotic—a functional food that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria, helping to produce digestive enzymes. I love the taste of coffee, but too much tends to get me jittery so I have to be careful to eat beforehand when I do treat myself!”
The Bottom Line + A Note About Boiled Vs. Filtered Coffee
As with most things, you have to do what’s right for your needs, and for your body: not everyone gets jittery from a cup of coffee. In terms of skincare, coffee dehydrates, so if you drink a daily cup or two, you’ll need to compensate with plenty of water. And keep this in mind—a 1991 study, still commonly referenced, linked boiled (or espresso) coffee to an increased level of LDL Cholesterol, which means filtering your coffee with paper is slightly healthier. Happy drinking!
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