Coffee. Is it good for you or not?

Brew yourself a steaming cup of your favourite blend and settle in for a seemingly ever-changing story that seeks to answer the question, “Is coffee good or bad for you?” Spoiler alert: the answer continues to be far from black or white. It’s somewhere in between, like Columbian with a little cream in it. But there’s plenty of good news!

The doubts about coffee started back in the day when research linked caffeine to heart disease and asthma.1 This was troubling news for coffee lovers everywhere to be sure, but these studies included smokers, which had a major effect on the research findings.

Caffeine comes with benefits

Today we know beyond any doubt that smoking is never good for you. And on the other hand, we know that caffeine provides impressive antioxidant and pharmacological effects, such as reducing asthma symptoms.2 Despite caffeine’s propensity to bring on the jitters in some, drinking two or three cups of coffee a day – ground or instant – is associated with lower risk of heart arrhythmias, arterial blockages, stroke and heart failure.3 In this context, coffee is very good for you!

Should you drink coffee while you’re pregnant?

Research conducted by the National Institute of Health indicates that pregnant women who drink as little as half a cup of coffee a day have a risk of slightly smaller babies than pregnant women who avoid all caffeine beverages. Smaller birth size puts infants at higher risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes.4 Expectant mothers should be mindful of the caffeine that finds its way into their systems through other vectors, such as tea, energy drinks, chocolate and some medications. Be sure to talk to your doctor about caffeine and pregnancy.

Coffee – getting us through the day for centuries

How about the jitters? Has anyone wryly suggested you switch to decaf? Since the 15th century, well over half of us have been relying on our beloved brew to get us up in the morning, keep our energy percolating, sharpen our memory and narrow our focus.5, 6 In fact, research says that while caffeine won’t make us more creative, it can significantly enhance our problem-solving abilities.7 But for some, there can be unpleasant side effects. It can cause anxiety in those already dealing with an anxiety disorder.1 If you suspect coffee affects your heart, see your doctor and get checked out to make sure there isn’t something more concerning going on.8

While everyone reacts differently to caffeine and there is no simple answer to the question of whether coffee is beneficial or detrimental to your health, rejoice in the fact that studies suggest it can decrease mortality.9

While enjoying a cup of coffee, you can check out the Engineers Canada-sponsored Health & Dental Insurance plans to see if they could be of help to you and your loved ones. The plans can help cover prescription drugs, dental care, therapists and much more.


1 Harvard Health, “Is coffee good or bad for your health?”, April 5, 2021.
2 NCBI, “Caffeine for asthma”, January 20, 2010.
3 Latest In Cardiology, “Studies Finds [sic] Drinking Two to Three Cups of Coffee a Day May Benefit the Heart”, March 25, 2022.
4 NIH, “Moderate daily caffeine intake during pregnancy may lead to smaller birth size”, March 25, 2021.
5 Hopkins Medicine, “Caffeine Has Positive Effect on Memory”.
6 Healthline, “How Does Caffeine Affect ADHD”, January 28, 2019.
7 CNBC, “A strong cup of coffee boosts focus and problem-solving — but not creativity”, March 8, 2020.
8 WebMD, “Coffee Can Affect Your Heart's Rhythms”, November 15, 2021.
9 Hopkins Medicine, “9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You”.