How harmful is coffee?


Question from Maritza: I love coffee and have switched to decaf. How harmful is coffee, caffeinated or decaf?
Answers - Marisa Weiss, M.D. Coffee is a natural ingredient that many of us, particularly ME, need to think straight!
Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. You think it's a natural ingredient, but it's a drug. If that's what you need to think straight, then you are addicted to it, and that's why you need it.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. I think that there is no harm to coffee in moderation, but it can keep you up at night.
Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. Don't drink coffee after twelve noon. Three cups a day is considered max.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. It can also bring on hot flashes in some women.
Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. If caffeine were introduced on the market today, it wouldn't get past the FDA. But I drink a Diet Coke every morning--I'm a southern girl.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Mountain Dew, Surge, and Jolt, are full of caffeine. Coke also has caffeine. Coffee has 115 milligrams of caffeine, and Coke has only 46.
Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. Don't forget there is caffeine if you are taking Excedrin--it has 65 milligrams per tablet. And if you are taking Empirin and Anacin, it's 32 milligrams per tablet. Tea has about 40 milligrams per five ounce cup.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Ok, that's fine, so what about green tea--is that the healthiest tea to drink?
Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. Green tea is turning out to be a great health tonic. One of the compounds in green tea prevents the growth of new blood vessels in animals, and since tumors must form new blood vessels to grow, green tea may turn out to be an anti-angiogenic agent. That's about two to three cups a day. The thing with green tea is you have to drink it for a while before you start to get its effects. Green tea has caffeine, but less than coffee. It also has fluoride in it.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Is there such a thing as a "bad tea"?
Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. I'm not in favor of tea concoctions. I'm not a proponent of drinking a lot of tea with stimulants, whether it is caffeine or any other added drug. But there is nothing more soothing than a cup of tea, especially some of the new flavored teas, especially in the company of friends. Ginger tea would be great if you are nauseous. I recommend a lemon ginger tea made by Tazo to my friends, available hot or cold.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Watch out for all the sugar in ice tea mixes, or in bottled ice teas.

On Wednesday, July 19, 2000, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Food for Cancer Recovery. Ronda Gates, M.S., R.Ph. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about nutrition and how it relates to cancer recovery.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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