Coffee is one hell of a drug. Every morning I get out of bed with sleepy eyes and lazy footsteps, but as soon as I drink coffee, I regain the energy and I’m ready to kick-start my day. Well I guess this is the case for most of the people around the world who drink coffee. And if you are like the 59 % of the Americans, you cannot even think starting your day without sipping a cup of hot and fresh coffee. In fact, coffee is the favorite breakfast of many. But is this love for coffee worth it? Well yes, besides the pick-me-up that coffee provides, drinking coffee has some other long-term health benefits as well. In case you did not know, have a thorough reading of this post where I am going to share with you the 19 scientifically proven health benefits of coffee. So the next time you sip the fresh and hot coffee, you will be able to enjoy it even more for it is healthy for you.
Coffee has always been a very popular topic of discussion. In fact, it has led to lots of controversies where people denied the health benefits of coffee. For years, doctors warned people to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease and stunt growth. Their main cause of concern was that people might become addicted to the energy that high amounts of caffeine provided, leading them to crave more and more coffee as they became tolerant to higher amounts of caffeine. Experts also worried that coffee had damaging effects on the digestive tract, which could lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn and other illness. But despite warnings from doctors over the years, people have remained devoted to this drink.
However, the latest wave of scientific evidence brings a wealth of good news for coffee lovers. Yes, drinking coffee in moderate amounts is the key to good life. Earlier predictions were refuted and newer studies explained if people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it is not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality. This understanding has led to a rehabilitated reputation for the drink.
Ok so before talking about the health benefits of coffee, let me brief you about the constituents that makes drinking coffee so much healthy.
What are the constituents of coffee?
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from the Coffea plant. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process. Numerous studies have cited coffee as a major–and in some cases, the primary–dietary source of antioxidants for its subjects. It contains several important nutrients, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.
According to Self Nutrition Data, a single cup of coffee contains:-
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA.
- Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
- Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA.
19 Scientifically proven health benefits of coffee
A cup of coffee in the morning is more than just an energy boost. In 17th century England, coffee was so popular that it gave rise to a number of coffee houses where with one penny a person could buy a cup of coffee and have intellectually stimulating conversations with other people. This led to the coffee houses being popularly called ‘penny universities’.
Nowadays, with over 400 billion cups consumed every year, coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. But what makes it so popular and special? Well, that’s what we are going to discuss here under.
Among all the pros, I have listed the top 19 scientifically proven health benefits of coffee. But then, as we all know, excess of anything is bad for us, and same applies to drinking coffee. Even if there are many health benefits of drinking coffee, one should drink coffee moderately.
Consuming coffee is perhaps the easiest way to protect the most important organ of your body. You must be wondering how. Well yes, there is some evidence that coffee supports heart health by protecting against arterial damage caused by inflammation. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard School of Public Health confirmed that drinking coffee daily in moderation lowers the risk of heart failure by 11% compared to those who did not. A study published in “BMJ Journals” showed that coffee consumption is good for health. Another article published in “Coronary Artery Disease” also strengthens the fact that coffee reduces the risk of death after acute myocardial infarction.
Type II Diabetes, which is so common among people today can be reduced with daily coffee intake. Researchers at UCLA said that with coffee intake, the plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) increases that control the biological activity of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen which play a significant role in the development of Type II Diabetes. Thus, the consumption of coffee and the occurrence of diabetes are inversely proportional to each other. The Harvard School of Public Health has also proved this point. Studies have also seen that it is particularly beneficial with postmenopausal women.
Lowers the risk of liver cancer
Cancer is one disease, which is perhaps, the leading cause of death. There are various types of cancer, one of them being liver cancer, which is very common. Previously coffee was thought to be carcinogenic. But now, even the “World Health Organization (WHO)” said that the studies conducted by them had inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of coffee drinking. In fact, researchers at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center proved that the consumption of coffee reduces the occurrence of liver cancer by almost 29%. Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, from Milan’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, confirmed that coffee is indeed a beneficial health drink particularly for the liver.
Prevents cirrhosis of liver
Talking about your liver’s love for coffee, here is another liver disease namely the cirrhosis of liver that can be prevented by coffee consumption. This disease is very common with alcohol addicts. Study published in the journal “Hepatology” in April 2014, suggested that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased liver cirrhosis death risk. The researchers suggested that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%. Even “The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” showed that the dietary fibre in coffee prevents cirrhosis.
Prevents colorectal cancer
Cancer is dangerous be in any form it occurs and it is best to prevent it from occurring. Colorectal cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum is another kind of cancer that can be prevented by coffee intake. Researchers from the US and Israel found that drinking coffee every day – even decaffeinated coffee – may lower the risk of colorectal cancer. In addition, “University of Southern California” also confirmed that the risks reduce by 26% with coffee intake. So why wait for it to occur, start your prevention from now onwards.
Protects against melanoma
Another cancer that coffee prevents from occurring is melanoma. Cutaneous melanoma is a cancer that develops in pigment cells called melanocytes and is the 5th most common cancer and the leading cause of skin cancer death in the US. According to an article published in “Journal of the National Cancer Institute”, coffee reduces the risk of melanoma and hence drinking 3-4 cups of coffee per day may be beneficial for your liver and health.
Prevents Parkinson’s disease
Consumption of coffee reduces the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease, a disease that affects our central nervous system. According to a study published in the journal “Jama Neurology”, the caffeine content in coffee help in controlling the movement in people suffering from this disease.
Fights against depression and suicidal tendencies
Depression and mood swings are a common disorder today. But good for us that simply by drinking coffee we can fight depression. Researchers have found that the caffeine content in coffee activates neurotransmitters that control mood, including dopamine and serotonin. Women who are more prone to depression may have a few cups of coffee everyday to get rid of mood swing and depression. The possibility of suicide deaths, which get increased with depression, can also be prevented by consuming coffee. A study conducted on 86000 women for a prolonged period of 10 years is a proof to that.
Lowers the risk of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes demyelination (disruption of the myelin that insulates and protects nerve cells) of spinal nerve and brain cells can be prevented with regular coffee intake. According to a study published in the “Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry”, coffee prevents neural inflammation that mainly leads to the development of this disease. Thus, you can safely sip 3-4 cups of coffee in order to get prevention from Multiple Sclerosis.
Protects from Alzheimer’s disease
Drinking coffee can be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease, a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. It is a neurodegenerative type of dementia, which starts mild and gets progressively worse. According to reports, the caffeine prevents the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque that may contribute to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s. Researchers also theorize that because coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for dementia, it also lowers the risk for developing dementia.
Provides a short-term memory boost
When a group of volunteers received a dose of 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, about as much contained in a single cup of coffee, Austrian researchers found a surge in the volunteers’ brain activity, measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery (FMRI), as they performed a memory task. They noted that the memory skills and reaction times of the caffeinated volunteers were also improved when compared to the control group who received a placebo and showed no increase in brain activity. Caffeine appears to affect the particular areas of the brain responsible for memory and concentration, providing a boost to short-term memory, although it is not clear how long the effect lasts or how it may vary from person to person. In addition, CNN reports that coffee allows your brain to work in a much more efficient and smarter way.
Our DNA is very important because progressive damage to the DNA is one of the primary reasons as to how we age. Damage to our DNA leads to poorer health status and makes us prone to several diseases. Well, you can avoid this with regular coffee intake. According to this article published in the “European Journal of Nutrition” showed that coffee drinkers have DNA with stronger integrity in comparison to the non-drinkers. This is because the white blood cells of coffee drinkers had far less instance of spontaneous DNA strand breakage.
According to the “Nurses’ Health Study”, coffee’s antioxidant properties may decrease the risk of gout, which is a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Coffee decreases insulin, which in turn lowers uric acid levels. Another study conducted on around 50000 men, also ended up with similar results. Gout attacks can come on quickly and keep returning over time, slowly harming tissues in the region of the inflammation. So the early you prevent its occurrence, the better for you and coffee may help you prevent it.
Who on earth don’t want to live healthy and live longer? Well, if you want to live longer, then you should have moderate quantity of coffee every day. Veronica Wendy Setiawan, associate professor of preventative medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine said “Moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle” Reports show that people who drank two to four cups a day had an 18% lower risk of death compared with people who did not drink coffee. “The Annals of Internal medicine” has shown the relationship of coffee consumption with immortality. Another study published in “Circulation” also proved this point. Moreover, even if you forget the studies, it is common sense that if coffee is known to give protection against so many life-threatening diseases; it will automatically lead to longer human life. So if you want to live long and healthy, make it a practice to regularly consume coffee.
Promotes weight loss
Another health benefit of coffee is that it promotes weight loss. If you’re trying hard to lose weight, green coffee extract could be an effective aid for you. Following a 22-week study of 16 overweight adults, researchers discovered participants given green coffee bean extract had undergone significant weight loss with 37.5% of them transitioning from being at a pre-obesity weight to a normal weight range. Therefore, if you are battling the bulge, consider complementing your workouts by looking at the green bean capsule aisle of your local health nutrition store.
Prevents retinal damage
Today’s lifestyle is very hectic and in order to keep pace with this rat race, we often end up damaging our retina due to oxidative stress. Retina damage can be prevented by drinking coffee. An article published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” showed that chlorogenic acid and coffee prevent hypoxia- induced retinal degeneration.
Cavity or dental caries is damage to the structure of a tooth. Although common in kids, cavities can occur even in adults. But, do you know coffee helps to prevent cavities? Well yes, studies have shown that coffee has anti-carious effect on humans and it kills the bacteria, which causes tooth decay and cavities. Nevertheless, remember, it is black coffee that I am talking about in this case. Adding milk or sugar to coffee could negate this benefit.
Protection against periodontal disease
Consume coffee on a regular basis if you want to get rid of Periodontitis, meaning “inflammation around the tooth”. It is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone that supports the tooth. Untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss, and may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and other health problems. However, the good news is that according to a study conducted on around 1152 men by “US Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study”, coffee did not promote gum disease and actually showed a protective benefit.
We have been conditioned to believe that caffeine is dehydrating, one of the primary reasons why fitness experts recommend mixing coffee pre- and post-workout. However, recent research suggests that moderate caffeine consumption – up to about 500 mg or about five cups per day- does not dehydrate exercisers enough to interfere with their workout. It is a performance and endurance enhancer, which not only fights fatigue, but also strengthens muscle contraction, reduces the exerciser’s perception of pain, and increases fatty acids in the blood, which supports endurance. So if you want to be a better athlete, you know what to do – drink a few cups of coffee every day.
How much coffee should you drink to get the benefits of coffee?
There are a number of health benefits of coffee, but then one should be mindful about the quantity of consumption. “The USDA Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” advise people to drink coffee for it has many health benefits. They concluded that strong evidence shows drinking coffee in moderate quantity (3 to 5 eight-ounce cups per day or up to 400 milligram/day caffeine) is not tied to any long-term dangers for healthy people. .
Now, the word “healthy” is key and this is a general statement, not a directive. In other words, the committee is not saying that everyone should drink 3 to 5 cups a day. Even if coffee has health benefits, it is always important to listen to your body. Some people can drink a strong cup of coffee and feel fantastic. Others may drink half a cup and feel jittery and be left with an upset stomach. There is a lot of individual variation when it comes to how coffee makes you feel. So it is best to consider what is best for you.
Nevertheless, those with certain heart conditions, caffeine sensitivity, and woman who are pregnant should stick to decaf or tea.
Coffee has received an undeserved reputation as being unhealthy, when in reality it improves brain function, scavenges free radicals, and decreases your risk of several diseases and health disorders.
It is a rich source of polyphenols and antioxidants. The caffeine in coffee can increase memory and improve glucose tolerance, fat loss, and exercise performance. Despite the health benefits of coffee, you should not risk your life with caffeine overdose, which might result in reverse effect.
Therefore, if you are a coffee lover and you drink it moderately, then there is nothing to be worried about because there are many health benefits of drinking coffee.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.