Coffee Health Benefits
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and one of the most polarizing when it comes to perceived health benefits. For years, many believed it could stunt your growth or cause heart disease. However, newer research shows that not only are these misconceptions, but coffee might even boost your overall health.
Your cup of coffee might look like a pool of black water, but think again. There are actually several nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in coffee beans that make it into your mug. A cup of coffee can include small amounts of Vitamin B, Niacin, Thiamine, Potassium, and Manganese. But, it doesn’t stop there. There is also a good amount of antioxidants. In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American’s diet.
Here are a few reasons why coffee might be one of the ways keeping you happy and healthy.
While many people still think java is a detriment to your health, there is a proven association between coffee and a longer life thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemicals found in coffee. Researchers at Harvard University looked at how drinking coffee affected the risk of death among men and women.
The study found that people who drank one to five cups of coffee daily were less likely to die prematurely from any cause. It also found that drinking more than five cups of coffee each day did not have an impact on your overall life span.
If we dig a little deeper, studies also show that coffee can reduce the risk of heart failure. Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. An analysis in Circulation found that people who drank coffee in moderation (three to five cups per day) were associated with lower cardiovascular risk.
Burns Fat and Reduces Type II Diabetes Risk
Caffeine can help speed up your metabolism and fat-burning, which can lower risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. In fact, black coffee is one of the lowest-calorie drink choices around – a plain cup of brewed coffee has less than 5 calories and no fat, according to the Mayo Clinic.
One thing to keep in mind: adding cream and sugar to your coffee adds fat and calories. And depending on how much you put into your cup, these tasty extras can sneakily become hundreds of calories in some cases.
But back to the good news: researchers found that women who drank six or more cups of coffee per day had a 22% lower risk of diabetes, according to a study in Archives of Internal Medicine. Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle-related disease that has reached epidemic proportions and now affects 415 million people worldwide. It’s is a chronic condition that affects the way your body breaks down sugar, your body's most important source of fuel.
Additional research suggests that drinking three or four cups of coffee per day is associated with a 25% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee. On top of that, every additional cup of coffee (up to eight cups per day), is associated with a 5-10% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers noted this happens with both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
Protects Against Deadly Disease
Coffee can also protect against some serious diseases. The antioxidants in coffee could help prevent liver disease, including liver cancer, as well as Parkinson’s disease.
Starting with liver cancer: according to the American Cancer Society, about 29,000 people will die of liver cancers in the U.S. One way to help reduce the risk of this type of cancer? Drink coffee. Research from a 2015 report on nutrition, diet, and physical activity found that the risk of developing liver cancer could be reduced by 14% for people who drank one cup of coffee per day.
A group of Harvard researchers set out to test the hypothesis that coffee is protective against Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Researchers conducted a follow-up analysis of men and women over a period of 10-16 years, and found coffee intake lowered the risk of Parkinson’s disease most notably among women who drank in moderation (one to three cups of coffee per day).
Need a pick-me-up? Coffee can improve cognitive function – but surprisingly enough – it can also decrease the risk of depression. The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is the most commonly consumed stimulant in the world. Caffeine can increase neuronal firing in the brain and release other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
While you may know that coffee can keep you awake when you’re sleep-deprived, a cup before a test can also sharpen memory and keep you alert. If coffee makes you too jittery or wired, mix regular with decaf, or drink it early in the morning with breakfast. Doctors recommend that it’s best to avoid caffeine for at least four hours before you go to sleep.
To test the effects of long-term coffee use and mood improvement, researchers conducted a 10-year follow-up study among 86,000 female nurses. The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows a strong association between coffee drinkers and a reduced risk of suicide. Another study published in JAMA found that women who drink four or more cups of coffee were less likely to suffer from depression, an illness that affects twice as many women in the U.S. compared to men.
While there are great reasons to drink coffee, everything should be practiced in moderation. The benefits of coffee are still being studied, and we will eventually learn more about coffee and its impact on health. To make sure you are getting the best out of your coffee, stay away from unhealthy additives like sweetener or cream. You now have scientific ammo in your back pocket to debunk myths about coffee and feel good about your daily intake.