Coffee.  Is it good for you?

Coffee. Is it good for you?

Let me ask you something, “Is coffee good for you?”

With coffee it seems that one day it’s the ultimate health food and the next, you should never touch it.  What’s the deal?

I’ll break down what I find is the biggest cause for confusion because in some ways both answers could be right.  As usual with my blogs, it’s not up to me.  It’s up to YOU.

What research shows is that if you have a group of 100 people and you gave them all coffee, 50 of those people will find tremendous health benefit from the coffee:

  • lowered cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • improved blood sugar control
  • cancer prevention

The other 50, however, will experience the exact opposite.  Coffee will never be a health food for them!

The problem is that we don’t know which 50 individuals will get which effect.  The difference is in the way we metabolize coffee in the liver.  It is a genetic difference and is independent of how coffee makes you feel or how much you like it.  [An important note: It’s not just about the caffeine… it’s coffee.]

These days with specialized testing, we can actually get the genetic perspective and tell whether coffee is a healthy for YOU (and so much more).

Aside from genetics – here are some broader guidelines for whether coffee is working for you:

Ditch the coffee if…

  • You have issues with anxiety or insomnia– yes for some people, if you are a slow coffee metabolizer, that 1 cup of coffee in the morning can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
  • You can’t start the day without NEEDING coffee.
  • You have blood sugar issues – you can’t skip a meal without feeling irritable and shaky.

Pick a time and experiment with stopping or reducing coffee:  You can still get your caffeine fix from green or black tea, but see how you do without or by limiting coffee.  Go slow if you have to as you may get headaches.  

***Decaf coffee is not a suitable substitute– the caffeine is usually removed by exposure of the beans to terrible solvents. If you must have decaf coffee, opt for a water-extracted decaf coffee in order to skip the toxins.

I want to hear how it goes.  As always, until then, take care of yourself.


Are you looking for truly Integrative care…a balanced mix between conventional disease management and a preventative, nutrition based approach? Imagine two of the best Doctors in the state working together to optimize your health. Dr. Shannon Kennedy and I are taking on 2 more patients this month for our combined care approach. Please visit us at

photo credit: Coffee via photopin (license)

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