Enough studies have shown that caffeine can do your body good. But, like all things, too much of a good thing can be bad. Dev Goswami tells you just how much coffee you should be drinking
Coffee has often been thought of as an addictive drink that can cause a number of health problems. While coffee does have a connection with conditions such as insomnia, digestive problems, muscle tremors and even cardiovascular problems, it is also known that moderate coffee consumption can actually be good for your health. Coffee has been found to be a source of antioxidants which can have beneficial effects on inflammation and improve your cognitive function.
While all that is well and good, the important question is how much coffee is beneficial? Before we answer that, there’s a misconception that needs to be cleared up. When it is said that coffee is good for health, it is actually the caffeine in the coffee beans that has the health benefits. Caffeine, when consumed in excess, is also responsible for the health risks. So, when a ‘safe’ limit needs to be determined with respect to coffee consumption, it is the overall amount of caffeine that matters and not the number of cups as you would normally find recommendations to be.
HOW MUCH IS GOOD?
You will usually find articles and studies stating that 2-3 cups of coffee is what you need to get the health benefits without health problems. This translates to 200-300 mg of caffeine daily. Why is this important? That can be understood once you realise that the there is a difference between brewed coffee and instant coffee mix. Brewed coffee usually has 100mg of caffeine per cup while instant coffee translates to roughly 50-65mg of caffeine per cup (a 175ml cup). Of course, the actual amount of caffeine in your cup of coffee depends on how much coffee powder you use.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I DRINK?
If you drink brewed coffee, it is obvious that you should limit yourself to 2-3 cups, while with instant coffee you can drink up to four cups to reach the 200-300mg caffeine limit. While that is the limit, should you be drinking that much? Well, a study has shown that 100mg of caffeine a day reduces your blood pressure, while 200mg has been shown to have the added benefit of preventing Alzheimer’s. To ensure that you aren’t going overboard, read the nutritional information on each coffee sachet which will give you the caffeine content.