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The Dos and Don'ts of Drinking Coffee

Reap the Benefits of Coffee Without the Drawbacks

For those who enjoy a cup of morning coffee, there’s just no substitute. And for the most part, doctors and scientists seem to agree that a couple of cups a day are perfectly OK, and maybe even good, for most people.

The benefits of coffee are many. Coffee has been proven to make you feel more awake, alleviate fatigue and even improve mental focus. It’s even been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that could help protect against ailments from heart disease to Alzheimer’s.

But as with anything, there are limitations to coffee’s benefits. Follow these guidelines to maintain a healthy relationship with your favorite beverage.

It is Just for Breakfast

Enjoy your coffee, but do so early in the day. Caffeine consumed in the afternoon or evening can interfere with sleep.

Beware Coffee’s Accompaniments

Be careful what you put in and beside your cup of joe. The benefits of coffee itself include antioxidants and other beneficial substances, but fill it with sweetener or eat it alongside a high-calorie pastry and you’ve turned your morning treat into a diet don’t.

Instead, use little or no sugar in your coffee and stick to a high-protein, high-fiber accompaniment such as whole-grain toast with peanut butter or a wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese.

Know its Drawbacks

Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it tends to draw fluid from the body and increasing the need to urinate.

For those already struggling with incontinence, coffee can be a real problem. Too much can also lead to dehydration.

If incontinence is an issue, consider switching to decaf. And anyone who drinks coffee should be sure to also drink plenty of non-caffeinated drinks, including water, to combat caffeine’s dehydrating effects.

Not for the Sniffles

You may want to lay off the java when you have a cold. Certain medications and herbal supplements may interact with caffeine, causing high blood pressure and rarely, even stroke or heart attack.

Beware of remedies containing ephedrine, theophylline and the herbal remedy echinacea. While using such products, switch from coffee to herbal tea or chicken broth, which actually have been shown to help cold symptoms.

All Things in Moderation

A little bit of caffeine can help alleviate a headache, but too much can actually cause one. That’s especially true for those who become addicted to caffeine.

Too much coffee also can cause nervousness, irritability, fast heartbeat and stomach upset, so stick to just a couple of cups a day to enjoy the benefits without the harmful side effects.

Read more about the possible benefits and risks of coffee consumption HERE!


Mayo Clinic