This is the everything-you-need-to-know-to-be-as-healthy-as-possible newsletter, brought to you by Kristy Russ, pharmacist and health consultant. I have over 16 years experience in helping people improve their health. I specialize in nutritional medicine, which is the secret of "true" preventative medicine. Yes, if I'm successful in getting people to follow my advice, I will put myself out of a job.

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Is It Healthy or Harmful?

First they told us coffee was bad for you and you should cut it out of your diet, now they tell you to drink at least 6 cups a day to reap the health benefits.

Which one is true?

Drinking coffee has been shown to have several health benefits. There is a pretty strong case for decreasing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and dementia (including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's). It may decrease the risk of liver disease, gout, some cancers, heart disease (sometimes) and gallstones (caffeinated only). It also contains an excellent antioxidant not found in other sources- you should all know the health benefits of antioxidants by now...

There are, however, several health concerns with drinking coffee. It may significantly increase blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, as well as increase inflammation in blood vessels- all which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. It may damage the lining of your digestive tract, increase heartburn, iron-deficiency anemia, PMS symptoms and osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. It also contains several known carcinogens, which may explain the increased risk in some cancers.

As with most things in life, moderation seems to be the answer. For most people, drinking up to 3 cups per day provides enough to reap some of the health benefits without actually causing health problems.

And of course with most things in life, it's not just that straight forward.

There are individual differences and things to consider:

  • Are you a slow caffeine metabolizer?
    Almost half the population has a genetic anomaly that makes them process caffeine much more slowly than the average person. If you are one of these people, you're up to 4 times more likely to have a heart attack from regular coffee consumption. If you are a "regular" metabolizer, your heart attack risk actually goes down from regular coffee drinking.

    How do you know which one you are? If the effects of caffeine stay with you for longer than a couple of hours, you're likely a slow metabolizer, so you're better off cutting out coffee completely.

  • Are you drinking organic coffee?
    Coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides, so if you're not drinking organic, you're getting lots of toxins in that cup.
  • Is your coffee made with pure water?
    If it's made with water from the tap, you're most likely getting fluoride and chlorine with it- 2 chemicals that don't belong in your body (at least in the extent that the average person gets them).
  • How much water or other fluid are you getting?
    Caffeine is a diuretic, which increases fluid loss. With more than half the population walking around already dehydrated, most people can't afford to lose any more fluid.
  • What are you putting in your coffee?
    If you're putting sugar, artificial sweetener, non-dairy creamer, regular cream and/or other flavorings in it, you're likely negating the health benefits of coffee (and maybe even causing other problems). Switch to black- if you do it gradually, you'll quickly get used to the taste and maybe even like it!
  • Are you drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup or using a plastic lid?
    The heat releases the chemicals from the plastic and they are known carcinogens. (The same reason why you should never heat food in plastic containers and stop drinking water from plastic bottles- but that's a topic for another day...)
  • Do you have a chronic illness?
    Coffee can increase inflammation in the body, which may exacerbate any health problems and could lead to new problems.
  • How is your coffee decaffeinated?
    Most decaffeination processes use solvents to extract the caffeine, leaving chemicals behind- even "naturally decaffeinated" products. Make sure they use steam or pressure (ie: not adding anything).

Summary: If you're an otherwise healthy person in whom the effects of caffeine don't last more than 2 hours, go ahead and drink up to 3 cups per day of organic, black coffee made with pure water out of a ceramic/glass mug. And be sure to drink plenty of water the rest of the day.

While coffee may have some health benefits, those touting it as a health beverage and encouraging people to drink 6-8 cups a day are just plain irresponsible in my opinion.

Drink it in moderation and have a look at the rest of your diet. There are much better sources of antioxidants, like fruits & veggies that are definitely healthy for you- the more the better!

Because Laughter Really IS Good Medicine...

Signs that you drink too much coffee...

The only kitchen appliances you own are made by Mr. Coffee.

You answer the door before people knock.

You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.

The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.

You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.

You're the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don't even work there.

All your kids are named "Joe".

Your only source of nutrition comes from "Sweet & Low."

You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.

You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.

You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.

Instant coffee takes too long.

When someone asks "How are you?", you say, "Good to the last drop."

You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.

Your hand is permanently shaped to hold your mug.

You're offended when people use the word "brew" to mean beer.

You can outlast the Energizer bunny.

You introduce your spouse as your coffeemate.

You name your cats "Cream" and "Sugar."

You don't tan, you roast.

You don't get mad, you get steamed.

You don't sweat, you percolate.

What's New at

Best Antioxidant Supplement

Just revamped to make it clearer and more concise, so you can get to the important info...

All about how to choose the best antioxidant supplement. Don't buy one without reading this first...

How to choose the Best Antioxidant Supplement

Antioxidant Discussion Forums

Create your very own webpage on my site! (Don't worry- you don't need to know anything about how to do it. If you can type, done!) If you have an interesting story to share or have a comment or question about a topic on the site, you can post it right onto the website. Read about how others have been affected by antioxidants, make a comment on someone else's submission or post your own.

It's fun. It's free. And you don't have to register for anything.

Click here to post your own story, comment or question.

Nutrition News

Here are links to informative and/or interesting news articles on nutrition...

Live Well & Live Longer With Foods For Healthy Aging

Whole Grains, Fiber, Protein And Almonds Help Manage Hunger Pains

Many Dieters Eating Wrong Foods Due To Misleading Labeling

Low Carbohydrate Diet May Reverse Kidney Damage In Diabetes

Dietary, Lifestyle Changes Can Significantly Reduce Triglycerides

Modest Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies May Increase Age-Related Disease

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

See you next month...

Good Health to You,

Kristy Russ, BScPharm Pharmacist and Health Consultant

P.S. Give your body the best nutrition possible. You'll not only feel better now, but you'll also have that quality of life in the future that you've always imagined for yourself. Click here to find out more.