Top 10 Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee Health Benefits
Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and over half of all the adults in America (about 100 million people) drink it on a daily basis. And that’s a good thing because, despite popular belief to the contrary, coffee is actually very good for you. In fact there are a number of specific health benefits you can experience from drinking coffee on a regular basis. Here are the top 10 of them…
1. Coffee Contains Antioxidants And Essential Nutrients
Coffee is high in antioxidants and it also contains a number of vitamins and minerals, including several of the B complex vitamins and the minerals magnesium, potassium, chromium and manganese.
And whilst these are only present in relatively small quantities, if you drink 3 cups per day it does add up to a worthwhile amount.
However, to get the maximum nutritional benefit you need to drink freshly brewed, good quality organic filtered coffee. The cheaper brands often come from degraded beans and may contain rancid oils. Coffee should have a pleasing smell and taste; if it tastes stale or has a strong bite you could have a coffee that is rancid. Also coffee is one of the most sprayed crops in the world, so it’s important to choose organic.
2. Coffee Can Give You More Energy
When you drink coffee the caffeine in it is absorbed into your bloodstream and travels to your brain. Here it blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. And this in turn causes an increase in other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. This leads to enhanced firing of the neurons, resulting in an increase in energy and an improvement in mood.
3. It Improves Cognitive Function
Coffee has been shown to improve various aspects of brain function, including memory, mental clarity, focus and concentration.
4. Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat
A cup of strong coffee can temporarily increase your metabolism by up to 20%. And it also causes your fat cells to break down, releasing free fatty acids into the bloodstream and making them available as fuel. This results in increased fat burning, especially during exercise, and so helps with weight loss.
5. It Improves Physical Performance
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system causing stronger muscle contractions. And it also increases adrenaline (the ‘fight or flight’ hormone) levels in the blood, which makes our bodies ready for intense physical exertion.
This, combined with its effect of breaking down body fat for use as fuel, makes coffee the ideal pre-workout drink.
6. Coffee Reduces The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious life-threatening disease that affects over 300 million people worldwide. But studies show that drinking coffee can drastically reduce your risk of developing this condition. In fact heavy drinkers (those who drink 4 or more cups per day) can have a risk reduction of over 50%; but even moderate consumption offers a significant benefit.
7. It Helps Protect Against Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease And Parkinson’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder in the world, and Parkinson’s disease is the second most common. There is no cure for either, but there are several things you can do to prevent them from developing in the first place. These include eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly; but regular coffee drinking has also been shown to substantially reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
In fact the reduction in risk has been shown to be as high as 65% for Alzheimer’s and 60% for Parkinson’s. But decaf does not have any effect, so it appears to be the caffeine that is responsible for this particular benefit.
8. Coffee Is Extremely Good For The Liver
Coffee helps to protect the liver against various types of diseases including cirrhosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
In fact drinking just one cup per day can reduce your risk of cirrhosis by up to 20%, and drinking 4 or more cups per day can give you a risk reduction of up to 80%.
And coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer too.
9. It Helps Fight Depression
Depression is a common complaint these days, with over 4% of the US population being categorized as clinically depressed. But people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day are significantly less likely to become depressed. And they are also much less likely to commit suicide.
How much coffee do you drink per day?
10. Coffee Could Help You Live Longer
As we have seen, coffee drinkers are less likely to develop a number of diseases, so it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer. There are also several studies showing that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death from all causes. And this effect seems to be particularly strong in type 2 diabetics.
Apart from the above, coffee consumption has also been associated with a slight reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer and stroke.
An interesting discussion on the health benefits of coffee
Coffee Negative Effects
There are however a few negative effects of drinking coffee. These include the following…
Coffee can increase blood pressure a little – But this effect usually disappears if you drink it regularly.
It can increase pregnancy risks – Drinking large amounts of coffee may impair fetal growth, and it may also increase the risk of miscarriage. However, drinking a small amount of coffee does not seem to have any effect.
It may reduce bone density – This may contribute to osteoporosis and give an increased risk of bone fracture. But not all studies show this effect, and again it is only associated with drinking large amounts.
It is addictive – Coffee addiction and withdrawal symptoms are very real, and some heavy drinkers can suffer badly from this if they stop drinking it.
And coffee also contains acids that can make heartburn worse.
So in view of this, if you have high blood pressure, are pregnant or are post menopausal, it might be a good idea to limit your coffee drinking to no more than 1 or 2 cups per day.
But for everyone else, drinking 2 – 4 cups of coffee per day can improve your physical and mental performance and give you some exceptional health benefits too. So keep drinking it.