I love my coffee! Moderate coffee consumption of four to five cups per day is safe and may even confer some health benefits. It takes approx 20 mins for caffeine to get into one’s system and most of us find we are more mentally alert after 1-2 cups. In the UK we drink an average of 3 cups of coffee a day and 4 -5 cups is considered OK but in moderation! 7 cups is heavy use although in Scandinavia they are known to drink 11 cups a day!

What we know as “Instant coffee” is soluble coffee while “Fresh coffee” is either toasted or ground. In the profushion of coffee shops around the UK can be found 1,000’s of variations. In Scandanavia the coffee is boiled in the saucepan. Coffee’s main active ingredient is caffeine which is a mild central nervous system stimulant, prompting the release of adrenaline which causes that energised feeling. Caffeine in coffee is well known in raising your alertness levels (Dorea et al 2005, Smith 2005) which works on the central nervous system stimulant temporarily increasing both physical and mental performance (Dodd et al 1993, Nehlig and Debry 1994, Graham 2009)’

Coffee is accepted as an important source of fluid in the diet and in particular for the 50+ population for whom coffee is a particularly important source of hydration and fluid in the diet. (British Nutrition Foundation and Food Standards Agency). And if you add milk to your coffee this boosts your calcium intake which helps prevent the fragile bone disease osteoporosis. A popular myth is that coffee is a diuretic but research shows that caffeine, at levels consumed throughout the day in a couple of cups of coffee, is no more a diuretic than water (Armstrong 2002, 2005 and 2007). Of course if you drink a lot of it like any other liquid, you will need to pass water! However if you do suffer from insomnia it is advisable to stop your coffee intake by late afternoon.

For pregnant women, guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency recommended a safe upper limit of 200mg (equivalent to two to three cups of coffee) of caffeine per day from all sources.

Coffee is one of the most heavily researched products in the world today and the overwhelming weight of scientific information suggests that moderate coffee (consumption of four to five cups per day) is safe and may even confer some health benefits (Nawrot et al 2003, Ruxton 2008 and Dorea et al 2005). The weight of evidence thus far suggests that coffee drinking may help protect against the development of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, however it is acknowledged that further research is required on the biological mechanisms underlying the potentially protective effect before it can be stated categorically that coffee drinking protects against these debilitating illnesses (Hernan et al 2002, Ascherio et al 2001, Ross et al 2000, Ascherio et al 2003, Maia 2002, Lindsay et al, 2002 and Eskelinen 2009.

A mug of instant coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine
• Mug filter 140 mg
• Mug tea 75 mg
• Can Cola 40 mg
• Energy drink 80 mg
• Bar chocolate! 50 mg