Have you ever gone a day without your morning cup of coffee?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t even picture starting my day without it. When I’ve tried to go without coffee in the past, I had a pretty difficult time focusing and finding the energy to stay productive throughout the day. Needless to say, I now try to make coffee a regular part of my morning routine.
Although I’m a big fan of coffee, when it comes to how it affects health I realize that it has been a controversial topic for a while, some support its benefits and others focus on its downsides. So, I decided to perform my own investigation, and I found that my favorite morning beverage can actually provide several exciting health benefits, including protection against major diseases.
So, regardless of what you’ve read online, don’t give up your coffee habit yet. In this article, I’ll discuss the ways coffee can improve your health (based on scientific evidence of course).
Improve Your Cognitive Function
I recently came across a study that examined the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on cognitive function in older adults. The results were clear: higher caffeinated coffee consumption was associated with better cognitive performance.
Another study on coffee and cognitive function found a relation between the caffeine in coffee and delayed cognitive decline in the elderly. It turns out that caffeine’s indirect action on arousal, mood, and concentration is a major contributor to its ability to enhance mental capability.
So, based on these studies, you can draw the conclusion that the caffeine in coffee is what improves cognition – sorry decaf lovers!
Also, these studies were done on older adults and the elderly, so if you’re younger, coffee may not improve your mental abilities much now. However, you will be older one day, and your brain may thank you later if you’ve spent your life consuming caffeinated coffee.
Lower Your Risk For Several Types Of Cancer
According to data gathered from 2010 to 2012, about 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do something to prevent yourself from falling into that statistic?
Well, I’ve got some good news because recent studies show that you can! In fact, coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of many different types of cancer.
One study performed in 2015 showed that people who drank about three alcoholic beverages per day benefit from coffee consumption because the coffee diminished liver damage, and ultimately helped lower the risk of liver cancer.
Another study found that people who drank one to three cups of coffee per day reduced their risk of liver cancer by 29% when compared to those who drank only 6 cups or fewer per week.
The risk of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, may also be reduced by consuming 4 or more cups of coffee per day.
In fact, a recent study has shown that consuming 4+ cups per day reduced melanoma risk by 20%. However, this risk reduction only applied to caffeinated coffee, decaf coffee drinkers did not see the same benefits. Although this study was large, it should be noted that studies in the past have shown mixed results, so more research will be needed in the future to draw solid conclusions about the effects of coffee on melanoma risk.
Several studies have shown that colorectal cancer risk can be reduced by moderate coffee consumption as well. This can be attributed to the anti-carcinogenic properties found in coffee, coffee’s stimulation of colon motility, and other factors.
These aren’t the only types of cancers that may be avoided by consuming coffee. Data exists showing that the risk of developing endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer, and others may be significantly lowered thanks to coffee consumption.
Burn Fat / Boost Your Metabolism
This is largely due to the caffeine content in coffee. Caffeine acts as a stimulant to the nervous system, sending signals out to the body telling it to break down fat. Caffeine also boosts adrenaline levels, which is another action that sends signals to break down fat.
Coffee can suppress your appetite too. This is due to its caffeine content, which can increase your metabolism and help reduce carbohydrate cravings.
While this is great news if you’re a coffee lover who is trying to lose weight, you should also consider the fact that your body will eventually develop a caffeine tolerance, and then coffee consumption will no longer result in the breaking down of fat in your body.
So when trying to shed a few pounds, stick to a healthy diet and exercise regimen for best results.
Lower Your Risk For Diabetes
According to a Harvard study, people who increased their coffee consumption every day by more than one cup over a four year period lowered their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 11% compared to those who did not change their coffee habits. This same study showed that decreasing coffee consumption actually increased type 2 diabetes risk by 17%, and that positively changing coffee consumption habits can affect type 2 diabetes risk fairly quickly.
So, if you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, it may be time for you to develop a healthy habit of drinking coffee every day! However, keep in mind that the coffee used in this study was defined as eight ounces of black coffee with a small amount of milk and/or sugar, but I’d cut out sugar and milk entirely. I usually do coconut milk if I really don’t feel like drinking my coffee black.
Lower Your Risk For Alzheimer’s
Research has shown that drinking about three cups of coffee every day may help prevent Alzheimer’s in older adults who are experiencing memory decline.
In fact, a study showed that caffeinated coffee intake was related to a reduced risk of dementia or a delayed onset of it. This study involved participants who were older adults and were already experiencing cognitive impairment, which can be an early sign of dementia that can progress into Alzheimer’s.
The author of the study, Dr. Chuanhai Cao, is confident in its findings. He has been quoted saying: “We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer’s disease. However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or delay its onset”.
So, if you know an older adult who is showing signs of cognitive impairment, it may be a good idea to let them know that coffee could help prevent worse health problems from developing in the future.
Promote Liver Health
Not only can coffee reduce the risk of liver cancer, it can also promote general liver health!
Good news for decaf drinkers: both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have been shown to have a positive effect on the liver.
Let me explain how this works. The liver has different levels of various enzymes, including:
- Alanine aminotransferase
- Aspartate aminotransferase
- Alkaline phosphatase
- Gamma glutamyl transaminase
High levels of these enzymes indicate liver dysfunction.
In a study led by Dr. Qian Xiao of the National Cancer Institute, coffee (both decaf and caffeinated) reduced these enzyme levels, promoting liver health and reducing future risk of certain liver diseases. This study’s results showed that people who drink three or more cups of coffee every day are 25% less likely to have abnormal levels of these liver enzymes.
Increase Your Antioxidants
Think that green tea is the best drink for getting antioxidants? Think again.
Here are a few benefits of coffee’s antioxidants on the human body:
- Fighting inflammation – Inflammation has been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more. By drinking coffee, you can fight inflammation, which may reduce the risk of these diseases.
- Preventing cardiovascular disease – A study performed by a group of Swedish researchers analyzed the dietary habits of 32,000 women and found that the women who consumed the most antioxidant containing foods had a 20% lower occurrence of heart attacks than the women who consumed the least.
- Fighting free radicals – The antioxidants in coffee fight free radicals, which are bodily elements that cause damage to cells. Free radicals may contribute to a higher risk of getting cancer, so it’s important to fight them off with a healthy diet when you can!
- Enhancing mood – Coffee stimulates the brain and central nervous system, providing you with the extra boost you need to get through the day.
Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Gout
Ever heard of gout? It’s an intensely painful form of arthritis that can cause joint swelling, tenderness, and redness.
Gout is caused by abnormal amounts of uric acid crystals being deposited into joint cartilage. Research has shown that coffee can play a role in preventing gout because it may lower blood uric acid levels.
Another study showed that drinking four or five cups of coffee per day lowered gout risk by 40%, and that drinking six or more cups per day lowered gout risk by a whopping 60%! These statistics were gathered from people who drank caffeinated coffee, but the same study found that decaffeinated coffee decreased gout risk as well.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 350 million people all over the world. This mental disorder can cause the affected person to suffer in several areas of their life, and some cases even lead to suicide.
Thankfully, coffee has been shown to decrease the risk of depression in women. In one Harvard study, researchers found that women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily reduced their risk of depression by 20%. Harvard researchers also found that female caffeinated coffee drinkers were less likely to commit suicide. Decaf coffee did not have the same positive effects.
Cautions When Drinking Coffee
After all, if your idea of coffee is a sugary, fat filled Frappuccino or latte, you’re likely doing more harm to your body than good by drinking it. Stick to caffeinated black coffee if you can, and you’ll see the most health benefits.
Also, remember that caffeine can interfere with the effects of some medications, and it can also have harmful effects on those with a caffeine sensitivity. So you can enjoy the benefits, make sure you’re consuming an amount that is safe for you based on your personal health.
Now, it’s time for you to share your story. How has coffee helped you improve your health?
Let me know in the comments section below!