A recent study has found that coffee drinking is linked to a reduced risk of depression in older women. That got me thinking. As a regular coffee drinker I have wondered for years why coffee has gotten a bad rap. The truth is that coffee definitely has some beneficial effects.

Coffee has been found to reduce the risk of several diseases including; Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver in alcoholics, gallstones, kidney stones, asthma and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Many years ago it was thought that coffee drinking was linked to pancreatic cancer. However, when the data was re-analyzed, the majority of coffee drinkers in the study were also smokers and it was really the cigarette smoking that increased the risk for pancreatic cancer not the coffee.

Are there any negative effects of coffee? There are a few. It can stimulate abnormal heart rhythms in those that are prone to rhythm problems. Caffeine can interfere with sleep. It can cause anxiety, and heartburn. If you drink a lot of coffee without milk, it can leach calcium from bones. If you drink boiled as opposed to drip coffee, it can increase the bad or LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Finally, there is an addiction factor. If a regular coffee drinker quits suddenly, they will most likely develop a headache. After a few days it will subside.

All in all, for me the benefits outweigh the risks. I enjoy the ritual of coffee drinking as well as the stimulation that gets my brain going in the morning. What I have learned over the years is moderation. I make sure that I quit drinking coffee by 2PM so it does not keep me awake and I restrict myself to 2-3 cups a day. I also add cream or milk. The recent results of the above mentioned study showing that it may also reduce depression in older women just affirms my decision to keep on drinking it!