• Is Coffee Good or Bad? {Finally, an Answer}

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    It’s been called the Elixir of Life. Java. Rocket Fuel. Joe. Some people stay away from the jitter juice, while others wish they could get it in an I.V. drip. We’re talking about coffee, of course, and there’s been some piping hot debate over how much you should drink, at what age it’s okay to start, and if you should even drink it at all. So instead of diving head first into the internet black hole, we asked Dr. Meika Roberson — the Chief Medical Officer at CarePoint Health in Hoboken as part of our “Ask Dr. Meika” series. Today, we’re talkin’ coffee. Tomorrow — who knows? But don’t worry, we’ll do the asking for you…

    Hey, Dr. Meika,

    Is drinking coffee good or bad for me?

    Sincerely,

    Cautiously Caffeinated

    Dr. Meika says:

    Dear Cautiously Caffeinated,

    I must admit, I love coffee! I have been accused of having stock in Dunkin’. It’s not that I NEED a pick me up in the morning to get going. I just like the taste and the ritual. It was my favorite wedding present — the automatic coffee grinder combo machine. I loved waking up to smell of freshly ground coffee permeating my house, and a hot cup of coffee waiting for me when I descended the steps. Then, I hit 4o… and the palpitations started. And a 40-something friend of mine got hospitalized after drinking a few too many cups of coffee while trying to stay awake at a conference. Then, the vegan craze really hit hard and everyone who cut out milk/cream and white sugar lost 30 pounds within a year. Thus, the dilemma is upon began — is the creamy steamy caffeine ritual in the morning worth heart palpitations and 30 pounds? Time to do a little digging.

    Let’s start with the good things about coffee. And then we will review the bad.  

    Read more: An Inside Look at Bluestone Lane Coffee in Hoboken

    The Good

    It’s nutritious: Coffee contains some essential vitamins and minerals and is extremely high in antioxidants

    It gives you a short-term rocket launch: Caffeine causes a short-term boost in energy levels, brain function, metabolic rate and exercise performance.

    It’s a brain protector: Several studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in old age.

    It’s happy juice: Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of becoming depressed.

    It’s a liver guard: Coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The more coffee they drink, the lower the risk.

    But of course, there are many anti-coffee advocates. Here’s what they say.  

    Read more: The History of Maxwell Place and the Maxwell House Coffee Plant

    The Bad

    It can give you anxiety and insomnia: Sure it keeps you up and makes you alert, but at what cost?

    It can be addictive: Caffeine is addictive and missing just a few cups can lead to withdrawal, with symptoms like headache, tiredness and irritability.

    It can increase high blood pressure.

    It may cause or increase GI distress: Nausea, diarrhea, increased acid production — the acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, heart burn, GERD, and dysbiosis {an imbalance in your gut flora}.

    It is not safe in high quantities: Especially for pregnant women, or women who are trying to get pregnant.

    You’re probably thinking, “But, I love my coffee, what should I do?” Here are some ways to maximize the health benefits of coffee without having to give it up for its downfalls.  

    Coffee Dos and Don’ts

    • Don’t drink caffeine after 2PM
    • Don’t load your coffee with sugar
    • Do drink organic coffee
    • Don’t use artificial sweeteners
    • Do add some cinnamon to your coffee
    • Don’t add low-fat and artificial creamers
    • Do add cocoa to your coffee
    • Do brew your coffee using a paper filter

    Read more: 5 Mood-Boosting Meals in Hoboken

    Some last coffee thoughts:

    Coffee is America’s favorite drug with around 180 million of us starting most days with a caffeine jolt to get going. Some people enjoy their coffee and apparently have no health issues with drinking it. If you are feeling and suffering with the negative effects of caffeine and coffee, you can always switch to green tea, which has has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, but enough to give you a boost without any of the coffee jitters.

    Have a question for Dr. Meika that you want answered? Email it to hello@hobokengirl.com {and feel free to change your name/give yourself a nickname if you want to remain anonymous}. We’ll be treating this like Dear Abby, so don’t worry about asking weird Qs – we’re all ears and won’t blow up your spot 🙂


    This information should not be used or relied upon for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Dr. Meika expressly disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any damages, loss, injury or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. Dr. Meika does not endorse specifically any test treatment or procedure mentioned on this site. If you are having a medical emergency please call 9-1-1.


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    Meika {or rather Dr. Meika} is an emergency medicine physician turned administrator. She is currently the chief medical officer at CarePoint Health in Hoboken and she loves her job and the patients. When she's not at CarePoint, she dedicates her time and career to help against rape and human trafficking. Though originally from Boston, Meika lives in Hoboken with her husband and their dog Brooklyn. You may see her around town walking the dog, jogging or cycling through the streets, or just walking to work. If she hadn’t become a doctor she would have become a photojournalist with a camera and a backpack traveling to barely seen areas of the world {like Sean Penn in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty}.