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Top 10 Health Benefits of Coffee

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David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

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 for use 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.

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 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 consumption 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.

References

A naturalistic investigation of the effects of day-long consumption of tea, coffee and water on alertness, sleep onset and sleep quality

The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks

Effects of caffeine on mood and performance: a study of realistic consumption

Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers

Metabolic effects of caffeine in humans: lipid oxidation or futile cycling?

Effects of caffeine ingestion on exercise testing: a meta-analysis

Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion during and after exercise: a meta-analysis

Coffee and tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes

Does caffeine intake protect from Alzheimer's disease?

Coffee and tea consumption and the risk of Parkinson's disease

Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes

Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on August 10, 2017:

Me too Sunnygirl. :)

Sunnygirl on August 09, 2017:

Awesome,I drink it everyday..

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on March 31, 2016:

Thanks Irdl; glad you liked it. :)

Richard Lindsay from California on March 31, 2016:

Great post. I use to drink a lot of coffee. But now have slowed down a lot on it. Your article has lots of good information in it.

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on September 06, 2015:

Me too Lipnancy; would love to hear the results of your research.

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on September 06, 2015:

I love my coffee. Currently I an researching healthy coffees.

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on April 30, 2015:

Thanks Entourage; I'm more of a cappuccino guy myself :)

Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA on April 29, 2015:

Great article, I can't Imagine my mornings without coffee. Especially a latte.

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on February 13, 2015:

I know what you mean Writer Fox. I couldn't do without my coffee either.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on February 13, 2015:

I'm glad to know that coffee has some benefits other than waking me up in the morning. I can't imagine starting the day without it!

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on February 05, 2015:

Thank you Peggy. Glad you liked it.

And glad you are now enjoying coffee more often Alison. Sorry to hear you have osteoporosis. Hope you are doing regular weight bearing exercise and ensuring you get plenty of minerals in your diet to help with this.

Alison Graham from UK on February 05, 2015:

Very interesting, I have Osteoporosis and hardly ever drank coffee for a long time because of this. However the combination of the health benefits you highlight and my husband buying an espresso machine which made the smell of brewing coffee irresistible has meant I now drink 1-2 cups each morning and have to say I feel so much better for it!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 04, 2015:

This coincides with the latest evidence regarding the benefits of drinking coffee. You are on top of this by writing this article now. The video is well worth watching! Good job! Up votes and sharing.

David (author) from Birmingham, UK on October 20, 2014:

No; decaf will give you some of these benefits Liam, but not all. The decaffeination process removes some of the antioxidants as well as the caffeine. Decaffeinated beans tend to be degraded and often contain residues of the solvents used to decaffeinate them. Also decaf is more acidic, so can cause stomach problems if you drink too much. And it also tends to raise cholesterol levels too.

Liam Hallam from Nottingham UK on October 19, 2014:

Are all these benefits the same dwelburn for decaf? How does that differ in how it benefits my body?

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