Not Just the Milk: Coffee and Bone Health

A Spoon Resting On a Full Glass of Milk

I recently wrote about the changing perspective when it comes to coffee and cancer; previously, it had been believed that coffee caused some cancers but the most recent research has shown, in fact, that coffee may actually lower the risk of many cancers. Well, the story seems to be quite similar when it comes to coffee and bone health.

For a while, many would adamantly recommend that women especially avoid high levels of coffee and caffeine intake because of perceived links to higher rates of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis tends to affect women more because biologically, female-assigned bodies tend to have thinner bones. Additionally, when menopause minimizes estrogen levels later in life, this also minimizes the bone protection offered by that hormone, putting people at greater risk for osteoporosis later in life.

If you’ve read my piece on cancer and coffee, you know that coffee is a natural anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory elements in coffee work in several different ways to reduce one’s risk for osteoporosis. The main point to be made is that coffee has been shown to help lower the risk and occurrence of diabetes and obesity, both of which can contribute to higher risk levels for osteoporosis. Coffee’s anti-inflammation elements also work to lower a certain hormone’s levels, one known as leptin, which is produced from fat cells and which causes many people to overeat and is also associated with the inflammation seen in many heart diseases, diabetes and osteoporosis. Coffee reduces the chemicals that cause that inflammation, lowering the chances of inflammation associated with osteoporosis directly, as well as lowering the inflammation associated with diseases that have been known to contribute to osteoporosis.

As we’ve also mentioned before, coffee is also an antioxidant. This means that it prevents or minimizes oxidation in the cells, which is what causes cancer cell growth. Some of the bone benefitting chemicals in coffee can also be found in certain teas and in red wine, but the levels are not comparable to the ones found in coffee.

It’s not an exact scientific correlation; but, many studies show that, as with cancer, the amount of coffee you drink has an impact on the amount of osteoporosis prevention that occurs in your body. One cup of your favorite brew is enough to enable your LDL cholesterol to resist the damage caused by free radicals which leads to cancer and osteoporosis; the more resistant your good cholesterol can be to this free radical damage, the further your body gets on the path of stopping the buildup of bad cholesterols and other elements associated with osteoporosis, heart problems, cancer and so forth.

In even more exciting news, recent studies have made the amazing statement that coffee is in fact associated with lowering the risks of what is known in the medical community as “all cause mortality,” which essentially means coffee minimizes your risk of fatality from all (medical) causes. “When the researchers compared risk of death of those who drank coffee compared to those who did not, they found it was 10% lower for men drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day and 12 % lower for men that drank 4 cups. Among women, the reduction of risk of death from all causes was even greater, 13% for 2-3 cups and 16% for 4-5 cups.”

This goes to show the impressive qualities found in coffee; there are obvious connections between diseases sharing similar causes, like diabetes and osteoporosis, when coffee is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Of course, the important thing to remember is that what you put in your coffee counts. With milk, there is the added benefit of calcium and vitamin D which helps your body process calcium; these are important elements in the fight for good bone health. The problem is, too much milk can come with problems itself, specifically contributing to obesity and diabetes. If you’re not fighting the high fat content you’re fighting the sugar content that’s generally added to lower fat options to make up for that missing fat. Additionally, adding a lot of sugar or flavorings to your coffee can contribute again to diabetes and obesity, which, as discussed above, are exasperating factors for osteoporosis. Always with these medical recommendations, black coffee is best to elicit the full range of benefits. Adding in those extras may turn the natural benefits of coffee negligible.

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15 Comments

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  1. Wow, that is something new to learn. I always heard that coffee actually pulls the calcium from the bones – which leads to osteoporosis…. As far as touting prevention of disease, wouldn’t it be best then to use organic coffee, as there wouldn’t be chemical pesticides, etc.?

    Ok so the milk factor – it sounds more like adding either almond milk or coconut milk would be the best options; especially if you make your own. This way you can be sure there are no added sugars or fats – it’s all natural (and tastes great, I might add)!

    • I also have heard that coffee pulls calcium from the bones.

      As for the milk factor: I have used coconut milk in my coffee, and it tasted really good! And I have read that others have used almond milk in their coffee and said it was good.

      I have learned something new things about coffee from reading the different articles on this blog. Thanks for the info.

    • I completely agree with you. The more I learn about coffee the more I realize that it brings more positive than negative things and that makes me feel less guilty for drinking it in the amount I do on a daily basis. 😀

  2. Caffeine is the cause why calcium in the bone is getting depleted. Of course coffee has caffeine! The best prevention to any bone diseases is to take food or drink moderately. Neither you drink coffee with milk, coffee with sugar, or black coffee each has its own good and bad effect to our health.

  3. Aside from drinking our favorite coffee, we must be responsible enough to make sure that we are able to feed our body with those essential nutrients and vitamins. To balance everything, we have fruits and vegetables that we can grab anytime. Proper exercise is essential too. All must be done in moderation and should be done according to the effect on our health.

  4. I always love learning about the benefits of coffee, especially since it’s not something you have to force yourself to drink. Unfortunately, I tend to ‘doctor up’ my coffee so much that it probably loses all healthy aspects.

  5. As much as I appreciate the information on this article, I would say that keeping an open conversation going with your health care provider is crucial. Health issues and what we intake are often times directly correlated.

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