Is coffee good for you?

Is coffee good for you?

I wonder if there are other people like me who look forward to their first cup of coffee as much as I do. As if mornings wouldn’t exist without the ritual of having this bitter brew – in my case with frothy soy or oat milk, made by my husband. It always tastes better when he makes it for me. I tend to do all the cooking, he makes the coffee. Not sure who has pulled the shortest straw! 🙂

He often has a second cup a couple of hours later and I always feel tempted when smelling the fresh coffee made with our posh bean to cup coffee machine. I am pretty sure we even named it with our daughters during COVID, remember having a giggle about it one morning.

I have noticed that if I have a second cup not long after the first one, I get the shakes and feel very funny for at least an hour. Therefore if I want to have a second cup, it has to be after I have eaten my lunch and no later than 1 pm. I haven’t got many rules around food but this is one I like to keep to – as I know this is good for my body. It is not an external rule, it is part of what I call intuitive eating.

I don’t drink caffeinated drinks after this either. Why is that? Even after 12 hours there is still a quarter of the caffeine in your body. It is an estimate, and everyone’s body will work slightly differently, some people are more sensitive than others. It also depends on the type of coffee you consume.  You might be able to fall asleep even if you have coffee late – I often meet people claiming they sleep perfectly fine even if they have coffee at night. The issue is often not with falling asleep, but the quality of sleep, especially deep sleep. (Dr Chatterjee talked about this with Sachin Panda: Why When You Eat Matters with Professor Satchin Panda PART 1 – Dr Rangan Chatterjee (

Why should you drink coffee?

First of all, the below applies for proper coffee and not the instant versions that are overly processed. The benefits can be maximized if you consume freshly ground good quality coffee. And of course, if you drink it with two spoons of sugar, it will also dim the goodness that coffee can bring.

Coffee contains antioxidants – even the decaffeinated versions! – in particular, chlorogenic acid which helps protect the cells from free radical damage (i.e. smog, cigarette smoke, etc.). Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause illness, and contribute to aging.

Coffee can help improve physical stamina, especially if you consume it before exercise. For me, an hour prior to a zumba class helps to move better and have the energy to dance all the way through.

Coffee can boost your mood. It stimulates the central nervous system which can lead to serotonin release in the brain (the happy hormone) which in return, will improve your mood.

How much is too much?

In the United Kingdom, the recommended daily caffeine intake for most adults is about 400 milligrams per day. This is in line with guidance provided by several health organizations, including the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

More than 3-4 cups can cause heart palpitations, nervousness and can contribute to sleep issues. I would recommend a maximum of two caffeinated cups a day. However, you need to tune in to your body and if you notice shaking, raised heart rates, it could be a sign that you are more sensitive to coffee than others. Or perhaps you need to make your coffee less strong (maybe half caffeinated and half decaffeinated). Swap to decaffeinated versions 12 hours before your bed time so that it doesn’t affect your sleep quality.

One of the lecturers on my course, Gemma Newman talked about coffee interfering with the GABA neurotransmitters. These are inhibitory neurotransmitters that help regulating mood and the nervous system. Coffee does the opposite, it stimulates it and too much of it can cause the above adverse reactions, like jitteriness, raised heart rate and even sweating.

Do you prefer your coffee sweet?

Half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder will not just sweeten your brew but add an extra pinch of goodness with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Use a teaspoon of honey if cinnamon is not for you, but remember, honey is also high in sugar and therefore calories. I still prefer it to sugar as it contains other compounds that carry health benefits. It also contains antioxidants i.e. flavonoids and phenolic acids, good for your gut flora, and it has antibacterial properties, just to name a few.

What is your favourite coffee? Let me know in the comments!

Mine is the North Star that is just perfect! I should really reach out to them and ask for a commission after recommending it to so many people!

North Star Coffee Roasters – Speciality Coffee Roasters in Leeds (





Free radicals: How do they affect the body? (

Dr Gemma Newman | Plant Power Doctor