Bean drinking: How much ☕ is too much?
Dr Simoné Laubscher, registered nutritionist, and formulator at WelleCo weighs in on our need for speed.
If we’re not boring our barista with our AM milk requirements - it’s the temperature, the water, the shots or the size. Indeed, ordering coffee has become even more complex than our increasingly plump pile of life admin. But the complexity extends to quantity too, because it can be a slippery health slope from cup to cup.
So, how many can we drink before our health starts to revolt against us?
The magic (bullet) number
The truth is, this natural, ‘superfood’ stimulant can be both good, and bad, and it is the quantity that tips it from one to the other.
“There is a long-standing debate about whether coffee is good, or bad for you and, from my research, it seems to be a double-edged sword: while it can make you feel more alert, productive and motivated, for some it can lead to hyper, feeling anxious and unable to focus,” Simone says.
A recent study gives the green light to two to three cups daily in the name of safety, for both lowering the risk of heart disease and living longer, but given the everyday discrepancies between sizes and blends, you can be forgiven for having no real idea as to how much you’ve just consumed. The best way to find out about your particular blend is to ask your barista (nicely).
“Like most things in life, coffee is on a bell curve,” Simone explains. “When incorporated into a balanced diet and lifestyle, it has many health benefits – but taking too much can lead to poor health and addiction, as with red wine.”
A recent Australian study suggests that six cups a day can become troublesome for brain health. In fact, they even go as far as suggesting excess coffee usage can cause brain ‘shrinkage’. Shudder.
“I recommend to my clients to have one good cup of coffee per day if they drink two litres of water,” Simone says. “If they want a second coffee then no problem; but you need to hydrate with another 500ml of water.”
Keep in mind, 500mls is a standard two full cups, not sips. And if you’re committed to your water intake, and overall health, filtered water is the kindest on your body.
The other positives of measured coffee drinking can include improved digestion, focus, energy, brain health, metabolism, and even lowering depression. Hence why it’s long been considered a ‘superfood’.
“Coffee promotes heart health and, in particular, unfiltered coffee is a great source of cafestol and kahweol antioxidants,” Simone says. “These are diterpene compounds that have been linked to cholesterol-balancing effects.”
“Coffee is also now linked to preventing cancer due to the free radical scavenging antioxidants and also has long been associated with fat burning and appetite reduction,” she says.
Ultimately, coffee quantity is a contentious subject and varies depending on body make-up, barista and lifestyle. WelleCo will be releasing a caffeine-free alternative to instill concentration later in 2022. Turns out focus need not always flow from the spout.