by Dixie Mills, MD

Medical school requires one to be alert and awake, so of course I relied on a cup of coffee to do just that. After I got pregnant however, I lost my taste for it completely. Now don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy a good decaf latte – on a leisurely, quiet morning or after a wonderful meal.

But what is the scoop about the good old fashioned stuff?? Is it good for you or not?? For years now we have thought that it was bad for your health, but recent studies have shown that it may not be bad for you at all, in moderation. I am not sure I have a firm answer for you on this one, but I definitely do have an opinion. I do think a cup of coffee, just one, is really fine for you long term.

To date, studies are showing that along with its ability to wake us up, caffeine may help our short and long-term memory. In addition, regular coffee consumption (with or without caffeine) has also been associated with lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular risk. More than likely these effects are because of the antioxidant effect of the bean. So for you coffee lovers out there – take heart and continue to enjoy that morning cup of coffee.

I love the communal aspect of having my coffee with a friend, or partner. It can be a great way to take that early morning pause, to slow just for a bit. If you really love it and it feels good to you to have it, I say – take this off your list of concerns, enjoy every minute of your cup.

If you want to learn more about caffeine and how it affects you, I recommend these articles:
Is Your Caffeine Boost Causing You to Sink?
The Caffeine Controversy – What’s the Buzz
Caffeine Withdrawal – Doing It With Ease


Haskell, C, et al. 2005. Cognitive and mood improvements of caffeine in habitual consumers and habitual non-consumers of caffeine. Psychopharmacology, 190(4), 469-477. URL:

Angelucci, M, et al. 2002. Effects of caffeine on learning and memory in rats tested in the Morris water maze. Braz. J. Med. Biol. Res., 35(10), 1201-1208. URL:

Van Dam, R, et al. 2005. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. JAMA, 294(1). URL:

Andersen, L, et al. 2006. Consumption of coffee is associated with reduced risk of death attributed to inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(5), 1039-1046. URL: