health

Don't doubt it, your morning coffee *is* good for you.

The lifeblood of motherhood gets a bad rap sometimes.

The harms and benefits of the beloved beverage have long been debated. Coffee has been labelled ‘bad’ and ‘cancer causing’, and also blamed for stunting growth. As a result, some people are of the opinion that it needs to be avoided.

Being an avid coffee drinker (let’s face it, how do you get through mum life without it?!) I’ve watched with interest as the debate has raged over the years.

things pregnant women should avoid

"During my first pregnancy I avoided coffee altogether"... Image via iStock.

During my first pregnancy I avoided coffee altogether, as I’d read one study that said pregnant women should abstain. However, by the time my second pregnancy rolled around I’d become much more relaxed and did a lot more research – coming to the conclusion that, in small doses, coffee is okay for pregnant women. Phew.

So, I indulged in one weak long black a day, which was essential for keeping up with a toddler while suffering through that ‘I’m SO tired ALL the time’ period (aka, the whole nine months!). It also helped ensure I remained in touch with other mums for much needed support (yes, when we all met up I could have ordered a smoothie I suppose, but it's always good to have a common "I must have coffee NOW" intent!).

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Coffee is a social thing. Image via iStock.

In terms of health and fitness, sure if you're filling it with loads of milk and sugar (not to mention syrup) coffee can be pretty 'bad' for you in large doses. It can add a lot of extra calories which means an increase in your waistline (which we all know leads to health problems).

But what about all the health benefits highlighted by so many studies that sometimes don’t make the news?

A panel convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently said that drinking coffee may prevent at least two types of cancer. The panel also said there was a lack of evidence that it might cause other types of cancer.

The revelation marked a reversal for the WHO, which had in 1991 described coffee as “possibly carcinogenic” and linked it to bladder cancer. In the last decade a large body of research has found coffee actually lowers rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders and several cancers, in those who drink it regularly.

“Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills, from stunting your growth to claims that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all," writes the Mayo Clinic on its website.

So which is it—good or bad? The Mayo Clinic says the best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.

So I’m going to keep enjoying my morning cup of joe with peace of mind. Yay, because I COULD NOT survive without it.

All good things in moderation, as they say. And just another thing in life that’s all about balance.

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