There is no doubt the coffee culture in Australia is growing – whether that be a social skinny latte from the local café, a simple pick-me-up of Nescafe instant coffee, a home espresso machine, or all of the above!
For me, I have recently found myself running my espresso machine into the ground (pun intended). Which led me to ask the question, how much coffee is too much? Or if there is even such an amount?
Our reasons for drinking coffee can vary from enjoying the taste, flavour, aroma, and of course that caffeine hit to give us an attention and energy boost. Caffeine itself has been considered to have negative health effects on blood pressure and heart rate, cholesterol levels, as well as anxiety and restlessness.
Caffeine Content & Impact
The caffeine content in coffee can typically vary from anywhere between 30mg to 130mg. with most regular coffee drinkers consuming 3-4 cups p/day. Evidence has suggested that this amount of coffee, consumed up to 16hrs prior to sleep, can have detrimental effects on our sleep quality, particularly in vulnerable individuals. This could result in somewhat of a snowball effect, with poor sleep quality and subsequent daytime fatigue leading to a higher consumption of coffee, reduction in sleep quality, and so on.
But it isn’t all bad news. Outside of caffeine, coffee has several bioactive compounds that have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and insulin sensitising properties. Studies have shown that regular coffee consumption can in fact reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality. When looking at the dose-response effect of coffee on CVD and all-cause mortality risk, it appears that moderate consumption (3-4 cups per day) is the optimum amount, with no further risk reduction for high consumption (>4 cups per day).
So, if you are an individual who suffers from jitteriness, anxiousness, or struggle to sleep at night, it may be best to reduce or eliminate your daily coffee. Otherwise, like many things, enjoy coffee in moderation knowing it may be doing you some good. Don’t forget however, that water should be your first choice for staying hydrated and healthy.