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Good News About Coffee

Coffee (and the caffeine it contains) is one of those foods that I'm typically unsure where to place on my mental nutritional inventory. I can never figure out if I should be drinking more of it, partaking in moderation, or searching for a healthier alternative.

So when my colleague, Kathy Kitchens Downie, shared a link to a New York Times story called Sorting Out Coffee's Contradictions, I was pleased to hear that I can go ahead and drink to my health with a second cup (or even a third).

The Times cites a number of recent studies appraised by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. As a whole, the story debunks common myths (caffeine in small doses is NOT a diuretic, nor does it increase the risk of heart disease or heart attack as once thought) and indicates numerous health benefits (increased endurance in aerobic activities and improved performance in anaerobic ones).

That's quite a latte.

We've written before about the benefits of caffeine. But Kathy sees these types of studies through the lens of a registered dietitian, so I'm always intrigued to hear her take on the topic.

"I learned at a nutrition conference that coffee—despite its caffeine—does count towards hydration needs." she said. "But I am surprised to learn about coffee’s relationship to blood pressure. I knew consuming caffeine caused a small temporary rise in blood pressure, but it looks like it doesn’t necessarily put you at risk for chronic high blood pressure."

Kathy mentioned wanting to learn more about all the antioxidants and phytonutrients in coffee and their benefits. But what I really wanted to know was, would she be drinking more coffee?

"Yep," she said. "And I'll make mine a double."