For many of us, the day doesn’t start until we’ve downed a cup (or two) of coffee. In fact, more than 50 percent of American adults drink caffeinated coffee or tea every day.
What’s the connection between caffeine and breast cancer? You may have heard that you should avoid coffee and tea because caffeine encourages the growth of benign breast lumps, but the latest research has found there’s no connection between the two.
While you don’t have to detach from your iced coffee IV, it’s a good idea to ingest your caffeine in moderation. Here are seven tips for smart, healthy drinking:
- Drink < four cups a day
Enjoy up to four cups of caffeinated coffee (or black, green, or oolong tea) per day. We know it’s tempting to drink more when your eyelids start closing at your desk, but resist the temptation! Drinking caffeine in excess is bad for your health.
- Pay attention to roast and preparation
Dark roast coffee has less caffeine than light roast because the beans have been heated longer. It’s the opposite after you add water: The longer you brew your coffee, the more caffeine it will contain. That’s why drip and percolator coffee have more caffeine than instant coffee or espresso.
- Take your coffee or tea black
The benefit of drinking black coffee? Zero calories! If you like milk, cream, and/or sugar, use them in moderation.
- Avoid processed, non-dairy “creamers” and artificial sweeteners
And hold the flavored syrups and whipped topping! Fat- and calorie-laden coffee shop treats can lead to weight gain, which is a breast cancer risk.
- Know your limits
When it comes to caffeine intake, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. While one cup of coffee may barely affect your friend, the same serving may keep you up all night.
- Pay attention to side effects
Caffeine can cause stomach upset, heartburn, or bladder irritation in some people. It also makes some people anxious. If that’s you, you may want to cut back or give it up.
- Keep it regular
Many people depend on caffeine to also wake their bowels. If you cut back on caffeine, you should up your fluid and prune intake to—ahem—keep things moving.