Sanjiv Chopra, MD is a physician, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and best-selling author. (He also happens to be the brother of Deepak Chopra, MD!) In his latest book, "The Big Five: 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life," Dr. Chopra reveals the easiest research-backed ways we can improve our health on a daily basis. Number one on his list: Drink coffee. In this adapted excerpt, he explains why.
Americans love coffee. We drink about 400 million cups of coffee a day, making us the leading coffee-consuming nation in the world. An estimated 83 percent of American adults drink coffee, and we drink about three cups every day.
Most people drink it in the morning to get them going and in the afternoon to give them the necessary pick-up. Of course, Americans also drink it because we love its taste: about a third of all the coffee we buy is considered gourmet coffee, meaning it's espresso-based or otherwise a specialty drink.
But few people drink it for the most important reason: Coffee is really good for you. I make that statement as a physician, and liver specialist. In fact, coffee actually may well be the healthiest beverage you can drink.
Many people don’t believe that. When I make that statement they sometimes look at me like I’ve told the beginning of a joke and they are waiting for the punch line. In fact, instead of believing coffee is good for you, most people believe it can be harmful. In the past, drinking too much coffee supposedly had been linked to a variety of health problems including heart attacks, birth defects, pancreatic cancer, osteoporosis, weight gain, hypertension, and miscarriage. We do know that in some instances coffee can cause insomnia, tremors, raise blood pressure a tad, and worsen heartburn, and it certainly increases urination.
So for those reasons, people usually limit the amount of coffee they drink and often decide that for health reasons they shouldn’t have that extra cup of coffee they're craving.
The evidence that they are misinformed is overwhelming—and more of it is being reported practically every day.