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How Coffee Helps (and Harms) Nurses

One thing that nurses always need more of is time, but it’s a limited commodity that’s not for sale and you can’t get it back. So many of us make up for it with hard work and long hours energized by our favorite legal addiction---coffee.


Multiple studies, from various sources including CareerBuilder, Pressat, and even Dunkin Donuts, found nurses to be in the top 5 of professions that consume the most amounts of coffee. According to ? research85% of nurses drink three or more cups of coffee per day and admitted that without it, the quality of their work suffers.

While caffeine obviously provides a jolt of energy for many people, there never seems to be a clear-cut, consistent answer as to whether coffee is actually good or bad for you.

So here’s a bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Is this drink doing more harm than good? Only you can decide.

*The research referenced below doesn't include the impact of coffee additives including sugar, creamer and the like. In excess, these can contribute to health complications.

The Good

Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. In fact, research shows that a regular cup of coffee offers more antioxidants than grape juice, blueberries, raspberries and oranges. 

A US Nurses' Health Study also found that moderate coffee drinking may help younger and middle aged women lower their type II diabetes risk. The protection is attributed to the various antioxidants, mainly chlorogenic acid. The timing of coffee drinking is also important; drinking it at lunch time offers the most protection. Another prospective study that examined an oral glucose test confirmed the protective effect of coffee against diabetes. 

Those who drink coffee are less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease .

Coffee can reduce liver cirrhosis by 22 %, per each cup of coffee you drink a day. Three or more cups can slow down chronic Hepatitis C. It also offers protection against forming gallstones, kidney stones and gout!

Studies Below:


We already know that coffee serves as an excellent stimulant, but several studies show it improves alertness, attentiveness and increasing information processing. It also helps to protect against retinal degeneration.


Have asthma? Coffee can help to manage the condition and even control attacks if there is no medicine on hand. The caffeine can improve airways for up to four hours and reduce symptoms.

Two cups of coffee per day can also ward off Alzheimer’s disease later on in life. In fact, one study with mice showed that five cups of coffee reversed Alzheimer’s related memory problems.

The  Bad

While most nurses love that jolt of energy coffee provides, it can do a number on the quality of your sleep. Extra caffeine can over stimulates your central nervous system and having coffee too close to bed-time can make it difficult to fall asleep.

Dealing with heartburn? It may be the coffee. Coffee promotes gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Coffee can have a negative impact on blood pressure causing it to increase. If you are prone to hypertension, you may want to consider limiting the amount of coffee you consume. 

Coffee may also lead to osteoporosis or bone loss, as coffee get in the way of calcium absorption for heavy coffee drinkers who consume four cups or more per day. 

If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, you should also be a heavy water drinker. Coffee can cause dehydration and its a mild diuretic, causing more urination.

For those who think decaffeinated coffee is the answer to protecting yourself from coffee’s negative side effects, research shows that decaffeinated coffee actually triggers an arthritic response. People who drink four or more cups of decaf double their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. 

Not to mention, if you’re pregnant, caffeine can cross the placental barrier. It also takes longer to process in your body and it takes longer for the fetus to breakdown the coffee in their system, as they don’t yet have the proper enzymes present to metabolize the chemical.

As frightening as that is, in general, coffee can be pretty healthy, as long as you drink it moderately and are aware of the state of your health.

Three to four cups a day can offer great health benefits, but be mindful of the associated risks including hypertension, osteoporosis, heart disease. Those who are pregnant women, children, adolescents, and elderly may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects. So what do you think? How do you feel about coffee? 

Share your comments below.


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