The debate over health benefits of drinking coffee is seemingly never ending. As with most things in life, when it comes to how much is too much coffee there are a variety of factors to consider. Everybody metabolizes coffee and caffeine in different ways and at different rates. Thus, what is too much for one person may be just fine for another. Another factor to consider is the state of mind and body at any given time: Are you an anxiety-prone individual? If so, 5 cups of coffee in one day may be too much. Are you super sleepy because of rainy weather? Then 3 cups may be just fine. Are you dehydrated and exhausted from a long trip? In that case, even one cup may be very unhealthy..
Coffee comes with both desirable and undesirable affects. The good is that it contains flavonoids that are also found in fruits and vegetables. These are anti-oxidants that protect our body from damage caused by pollutants and bad diet. However, coffee is not the richest source of flavonoids to say the least. It’s a similar story with red wine. Yes it contains resveratrol that protects the heart but to get that effect you must drink 5 to 10 glasses of wine a day and by doing so you are causing way more damage due to alcohol. The actual caffeine content also plays a major role. When in low amounts it increases wakefulness, mental acuity, better mood etc. But in higher amounts it causes lack of long term memory retention, anxiety, and increased blood pressure. Caffeine is also a diuretic. This can also be good or bad. In general it’s not a good thing because it depletes your body of fluid (including electrolytes). But on the other hand if you have excessive fluid retention in your body (such as after a long exhausting trip (usually causing retention in your legs due to compromised kidney function) then it may actually relieve the work load on the heart due to the excessive fluid.
Another thing about coffee is that it irritates the lining of the stomach. This may cause cramps, acidity, and a general unpleasant feeling in the stomach. There is great variation among individuals with respect to this phenomenon. Some people don’t suffer this at all, while others have to stay away from caffeine entirely.
This brings us back to the original question: How many cups is too many? Like mentioned before it all depends on the individual and the state of body and mind she or he is in at the moment. However, generally speaking, 4 cups each day or more is more than enough before we develop long term rise in blood pressure, which is an extremely undesirable effect. Increased blood pressure can cause damage to all organs of the body and most notoriously the heart, the kidneys and the brain.
Finally, always remember fresh ground, organic coffee is much healthier than instant. Instant coffee is typically exposed to various chemicals to make it an “instant” option (however, there are healthy instant coffee alternatives. It’s also typically much more irritating to the stomach. The best options are fresh, high-quality whole beans, or freshly ground beans coming from the purest sources.
See you next time.