News Flash: The Right Amount of Coffee, the Problem With Flip-Flops, and Other Health News

Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at the right limit for your coffee habit, why runners should shake their flip-flop habit, and how letting go of anger keeps you healthy as you age.

How much is too much coffee?

In recent years, coffee has shaken its bad rap, with a series of studies showing its health benefits, from reduced risk of stroke to increased longevity.

But just how much coffee is healthy has been the subject of debate as of late. A new study of nearly 350,000 coffee drinkers published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition may have finally come up with an answer to that question, according to this Inc. article.

The upper limit at which the health benefits still outweigh the potential risks is five cups of coffee per day.

“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day—based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” said professor Elina Hyppönen, Ph.D., of the Australian Centre for Precision Health, one of the study’s authors.

Once you reach six cups, the risk of heart disease increases by 22 percent, according to the study.

Just say no to flip-flops

With summer around the corner, podiatrists are warning runners that their favorite warm-weather shoe, flip-flops, could cause them pain down the road because they lack the structure and support that their feet need.

“Your feet have to work much harder to grip the flip-flop,” Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a podiatrist in Silver Spring, Maryland, told The New York Times. Flip-flips, she said, causes you to overuse your muscles in the posterior compartment of your leg, where a lot of your running muscles are located. And because your feet are working so hard during the day, Parthasarathy said, by the time you go for a run, “it’s extra stress on all your muscles and ligaments.”

Indeed, she calls August and September “plantar fasciitis season” because of the high number of patients she sees as all the slip-on shoe wearing begins to exact its toll.

Parthasarathy wears Birkenstocks for the structure and said that finding a sandal that you can’t bend in half is important, as well as wearing sandals that have a back strap to help take the stress off your muscles.

Is anger the unhealthiest emotion?

Emotions have a bigger impact on our physical health than most of us realize. Stress, for example, can increase the risk of disease, while happiness helps to speed healing and boost overall well-being.

Now, according to this Time article, a new study suggests that anger, far more than sadness, is linked to negative health effects in older people, potentially contributing to inflammation and chronic disease.

The research published in the journal Psychology and Aging used data from 200 adults ages 59 to 93 who were surveyed about their emotions three times in one week. Participants also reported their diagnosed health conditions and gave blood samples that researchers tested for markers of inflammation.

When people aged 80 and older repeatedly felt anger during the week, researchers saw a link to elevated levels of the inflammatory marker IL-6, perhaps because anger throws off stress hormone levels. This link between anger and inflammation seemed to grow stronger as people aged.

Older adults with elevated inflammation markers were more likely than their less angry peers to have at least one chronic illness such as cancer or cardiovascular disease. Researchers said there wasn’t the same link between sadness and health issues.

Indeed, while sadness also is a negative emotion, it can spur healthy grieving and healing, while anger doesn’t fix problems and can bring on more stress with its related problems.

Some ways to reduce anger include breathing exercises and yoga, using more rational and measured speech, improving your communication skills and keeping your environment as stress-free as possible. Of course, movement and a sense of humor help, too.

Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao, Unplash