Coffee has been blamed for many health problems, yet an overwhelming number of Americans start their days with a steaming hot cup of this caffeinated drink. Statistics from the National Coffee Association say that around 54 percent of adults in the U.S. are habitual coffee drinkers. Besides, 146 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year in the country.
Recent research indicated that coffee is not as evil as a lot of people think it to be. For example, no connection was found between coffee consumption and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
According to a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, there is no “relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease”. The study also indicated that drinking as much as six cups of coffee a day is not associated with higher risk of death.
On the contrary, studies found that drinking coffee moderately can have some surprising health benefits after all. Here are coffee few of them.
A Good Source of Healthy Antioxidants
A study conducted in 2005 found that “Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source.” Antioxidants are mostly associated with vegetables and fruits and among beverages, cocoa and green tea are super rich in antioxidants.
However, research shows that unprocessed coffee beans have around 1,000 antioxidants and during the roasting process help them to develop hundreds more.
Polyphenols or flavonoids found in coffee have been proven to help brain function moderately. Besides, scientists found several other good compounds in coffee such as chlorogenic acid that prevent cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants fight inflammation and provide relief when suffering from chronic conditions including atherosclerosis, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.
Coffee Is Good for the Brain
A simple home coffee maker can help you boost your memory. Coffee increases your short term recall and also offers some brain-protective benefits over the long term. A few studies indicate that higher consumption of caffeine can reduce the risk of developing dementia, although some researchers are yet to give an official stamp to this particular benefit of drinking coffee.
Caffeine helps to protect some of the brain processes, especially those associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. People drinking 3–5 cups of coffee a day have significantly less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
It is also believed that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. It has been found to reduce the risk by 32-60 percent.
Great for Your Liver
In the U.S., two out of five of cirrhosis of the liver-related deaths are caused due to alcohol. Drinking coffee can reduce such incidence from occurring.
A report published by Archives of Internal Medicine showed that people who drink coffee regularly have a 20 percent less chance to develop liver cirrhosis. This medical condition is usually associated with excessive consumption of alcohol, leading to liver failure and cancer. Coffee offers protective benefits over alcoholic cirrhosis.
It also prevents the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School report suggests that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee daily can help prevent the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Coffee Helps Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Contrary to the belief that drinking caffeine causes cancer, coffee actually helps you reduce the risk different types of cancer. It is mostly associated with reducing the risk of liver, esophageal, oral, and pharyngeal cancer. People drinking either caffeinated or decaf coffee can experience a reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer.
Though no benefits of drinking coffee have been linked with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, studies report a modest reduction in breast cancer but only in postmenopausal women. However, the effects were not similar with decaffeinated coffee.
The effect of coffee is probably most noteworthy with liver cancer. The Harvard Medical School reported that regular coffee drinkers have a 50 percent less chance of getting liver cancer in comparison to non-drinkers. Regular coffee consumption also lowers the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.
Coffee for a Healthy Heart
If you’re drinking coffee moderately on a regular basis, you are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, according to studies. When you’re actively consuming coffee it pumps up your heart rate a bit. This is probably the reason many people link coffee consumption with heart disease.
The antioxidants present in coffee fight inflammation, which in turn, helps protect your heart against arterial damage. A Harvard study suggests that consuming 2 cups of coffee a day can reduce the possibility of heart disease considerably. But the same study found that consuming 5-6 cups of coffee can increase that risk too. The compounds in coffee help blood vessels function better and the result is improved blood flow.
Lessens the Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
Many researchers are suggesting the link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of Type-2 diabetes. A 2009 study found that drinking a cup of coffee a day can lower the risk of developing diabetes by 7 percent.
Previously, numerous studies suggested that higher caffeine consumption, i.e. 4 cups or more a day, can lower the possibility of Type-2 diabetes by 50 percent.
Here is how coffee helps prevent diabetes:
- It helps the body to use insulin
- It helps the body protect insulin-producing cells, therefore facilitating effective blood sugar regulation
- It prevents tissue damage
- It fights inflammation, which often causes Type-2 diabetes
The caffeic acid found in coffee reduces the toxic accumulation of amyloid fibrils, which are abnormal protein deposits found in people suffering from Type-2 diabetes. Decaf coffee is equally beneficial or even more so in reducing the possibility of Type-2 diabetes.
Bonus: Coffee Makes You Happy
Research says coffee drinkers are 10 percent less likely to suffer from depression than non-coffee drinkers. It’s the antioxidants that make you feel happier. Since coffee makes you less likely to be depressed, it is even linked to lower the levels of suicide by about 50 percent, according to Harvard School of Public Health.
Drinking coffee is probably one of the healthiest choices for those eating a standard Western diet. The trick, however, is in moderation. Also, avoid coffee add-ons like sugar and cream as these are the culprits making your healthy coffee a drink unsuitable for the fitness-conscious.
Use a paper filter when brewing your coffee in a home coffee maker to remove all the harmful diterpenes from your drink. Organic coffee, black and brewed with a paper filter is your way to better health.