For many of us coffee is the only good friend you might find after waking up in the morning.If you review the literature there are an overwhelming number of articles warning you against the negatives about coffee as well as a good number of articles singing the praises of this morning beverage.The answer whether drinking coffee is a good or bad thing is not a one liner.

Coffee comes from a plant and is therefore susceptible to being considered healthy and nurturing.It contains polyphenols consisting of antioxidant properties far beyond that of vitamins.It is warming and stimulating. While it definitely gets you moving, it also makes you go – it is a diuretic as well as purgative.Traditionally it is used to help with mental alertness and also for the recovery after a night of indulgence.After a heavy meal it could help relieve the feeling of fullness and in folklore you can find it as a remedy for snakebite, asthma, pain and vertigo.A poultice of wet coffee grounds speeds up the healing of insect bites and bruises while a coffee enema is a detoxifyer.

So should we be drinking coffee?When speaking about any food, it is far better today to consume natural, organic and unprocessed foods.And this should be true for coffee as well.To support the argument, all the properties of pain killing, detoxifying, mood lifting and mind honing mentioned above could be argued.In my efforts to find reasons to drink coffee I found the following articles:

one recent study showed that higher coffee intake may be associated with significantly reduced cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon cancer.In other words the more coffee these patients consumed, the better their chances were of survival and healing.

another study I found linked coffee consumption to reduced risk of liver cancer.

yet another one linked consumption to a reduced risk of the development of Type II Diabetes

(just for total transparency – some of these effects were not dependent on the coffee being decaffeinated,instant or freshly roasted)

So why would coffee have all of these qualities?The most logic answer to me is that it is an antioxidant and that it belongs to a group of foods called bitters.Other foods that belong to this group are dark green leafy vegetables.In the modern world where almost all diseases are linked to sugar, coffee might be one of the unexpected antidotes.

And after all of this we should ask another question – Why should we not drink coffee?The most obvious answer is what most of us have experienced already after drinking too much coffee and that is anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability as well as abnormal and rapid heart beats and gastro-intestinal symptoms.These effects, in severe cases could even lead to miscarriages and heart attacks.There are also studies connecting coffee consumption to the development of bladder, urinary tract and pancreatic cancers.

While miscarriages and heart attacks could probably be explained by the stimulating effect of the caffeine in coffee, it seems a bit odd that coffee would protect from some cancers and promote others.

This shows a very important challenge in nutritional research.Unless we were able to confine people for a few months or years and limit and/or control precisely what they eat and drink, we could not really elicit the effect of one food type.We have to look at all the research and then make a decision whether certain foods are harmful or not.

For coffee consumption, my recommendation is organic, very little processed coffee in an amount that feels right for you and your well being.It seems to have nutritional value but could be harmful and even cause addiction if over-consumed.It looks again as if Grandma was right when she preached moderation!