Are you looking to know what are the the health benefits of drinking coffee? Did you know that you don’t have to drink your coffee black and without a sweetener to get those benefits? You may be surprised to find that there’s a lot more to a cup of coffee than you think.
Coffee is delicious and enjoyable to drink and is a great and easy way to get some additional health benefits. Therefore I did some research and I want to share with you what I found, so read on and see how drinking coffee can benefit you and your health.
What Are The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee?
Drinking coffee has many more benefits that than the jolt of energy you get when having a cup. Here are the 10 best benefits coffee can have on your health
When talking about coffee, the first thing many people think about right away is caffeine. Caffeine has a number of healthy benefits when consumed in moderation.
First off, the obvious: it can improve energy levels, mood, and and overall brain function. For energy levels, this is largely due to blocking the effects of adenosine, which build up over the course of the day to make you tired.
It improves moods due to activating neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Increases in brain function include reaction times, general mental function, and memory. What this ultimately means is that you’ll have more energy to do what you need to do as well as being more efficient at doing it.
Due to caffeine’s ability to stimulate the central nervous system, it can also increase your metabolism, leading to weight loss. Caffeine is often found in many supplements for this reason. It may improve exercise performance in certain sports.
Lastly, caffeine has a number of other side effects:
- May decrease the chance of overall premature death
- May lower the risk of skin cancer
- Supports gut health
Just be sure to moderate your caffeine intake, as too much of it has its own downsides: troubles sleeping, anxiety, restlessness, and migraines. It’s an addictive substance to which some people are more prone than others.
The bottom line is if you really just love coffee and want to drink more than a couple of cups per day, it’s best to moderate caffeine intake and switch to decaf after your first or second cup depending on your tolerance and what effect it has on you. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of caffeine without consuming so much that it negatively affects you.
While caffeine itself can be healthy, there are a number of other reasons impacting how good is a cup of coffee is for you. Let’s take a look at the next one, which is derived from the coffee beans themselves: essential nutrients.
2. Coffee has a Number of Essential Nutrients
The coffee bean itself is full of nutrients, including:
- Vitamin b5
When you compare these to the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) set out by the Food and Drug Administration, they may seem to be on the lower side. But if you drink more than one cup of coffee a day, they certainly start to add up. For example, Riboflavin is the most common nutrient in a coffee bean, coming in at 11% of one’s RDI. Vitamin b5 is 6% while niacin (vitamin b3) is 3%.
While it’s good to know you’ll be getting some essential nutrients in every cup of coffee you drink, there are also other upsides which you might be very happy to hear: such as the reduced risk of neuro degenerative diseases.
3. Provides Protection from Alzheimer’s and Risk of Parkinson’s
These two neurodegenerative diseases are the most common in the world. With there being no known cure, the focus is currently heavily on preventative measures, which include a general healthy lifestyle like eating right and getting proper sleep.
However, coffee can play a significant role: some studies have stated that for Alzheimer’s disease, coffee can reduce risk by up to 65% (seen here). For Parkinson’s, coffee may help reduce the risk of up to 60% (seen here). For Parkinson’s, caffeine definitely plays a role as different studies have shown that decaf coffee has not significantly reduced the risk.
So in general, regular coffee drinkers are mitigating their risks of neurodegenerative diseases, of which there is currently no cure. Besides neurodegenerative diseases though, coffee can help with your brain in other ways – such as fending off depression.
4. Helps Fight Depression
Depressive disorder, also just known as depression, is a mental illness that affects millions of people worldwide.
In a Harvard study published in 2011, it was concluded that the risk of depression in women decreases with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee by about 20%.
There are a number of theories about the roots of depression and the multiple ways in which it is caused – which is beyond the scope of this article. However, in more than one way (such as inflammation in the brain), coffee can help alleviate it.
Your brain isn’t the only organ in your body that benefits from the consumption of coffee – your liver will thank you for it as well.
5. Can Help Protect Your Liver
According to this study, there is an ingredient in coffee that helps protect against cirrhosis – especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
Other studies have confirmed the same: drinking two cups of coffees per day can reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis by as much as 44%! There is no cure for cirrhosis which kills up to 1 million people worldwide each year. It’s vital to minimize your risk of developing it. Coffee can help you in this cause. Besides a healthy liver though, coffee can also aid in your overall heart health.
6. Effects of Coffee on Heart Health
A 2017 report in Annual Review of Nutrition, which went through and analyzed more than 100 coffee studies, found it was associated with a probable decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In July 2018, scientists took this further: they showed that caffeine ramped up the functional capacity of cells that line blood vessels. Basically, it sums up to having improved heart health and a reduced risk of having myocardial infarction, or a heart attack.
In addition to reducing your risk for heart attack and heart disease, coffee is also full of antioxidants – which do their own to protect you against cancer and inflammation, as we’ll cover next.
7. Full of Antioxidants
Coffee has been shown to have more antioxidants than even green tea or cocoa, two substances which are known for their high amounts of antioxidants. There have been approximately 1,000 antioxidants identified in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more which come about as a result of the roasting process.
Why are antioxidants so important? They are known to fight inflammation, which is an underlying cause of many chronic conditions, such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
Not only do antioxidants attack inflammation, but they also neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause oxidative stress which ultimately leads to chronic disease and cancer. One such example is chlorogenic acid, which is found almost exclusively in coffee: it is known to decrease blood pressure and help protect against heart disease.
In other words, the antioxidants found in coffee keep us healthy at the micro-level by protecting our cells from damage. They make up one of the major reasons why coffee is so healthy.
8. Protects Against Gout
Gout is a pretty common (and complex) form of arthritis that can affect almost anyone. It’s commonly accompanied by sudden, severe attacks of pain, tenderness in the joints, and swelling. The big toe is often one of the major locations of gout.
Gout is caused when urate crystals accumulate in your joints, which causes inflammation and intense pain. These crystals form from a high level of uric acid in your blood. This acid is produced when your body breaks down purines, which are substances found naturally in your body but also occur in steak, fructose, and alcoholic beverages.
A combination of eating the wrong food combined with various medical conditions or being obese can lead to gout.
However, coffee can help reduce the risk of gout. Numerous studies have shown a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a reduced risk of gout. The antioxidant properties in coffee help decrease insulin, which in turn reduces uric acid levels. This decreases your overall chance for gout.
Now, onto some benefits which you may be able to directly feel, such as how it aids in exercise performance and overall activity.
9. Helps with Exercise Performance
We touched on this briefly in point #1 about the positive benefits of caffeine. But being able to workout more effectively and have better performance is strongly correlated to having overall good health. Primarily, coffee (and caffeine) helps to battle fatigue, one of the major factors that can limit how effective a workout is.
In addition, by enhancing endurance, strengthening muscle contractions, and reducing perception of pain, coffee can help make your next workout that much more impactful. And a good workout means a healthier cardiovascular system, a host of metabolic benefits, increased mood and energy, better sleep, and better protection against disease.
In short, if you aren’t feeling like working out or going for a run, have a cup of coffee and then get to it! You will feel energized and ready to go and in turn, the benefits you reap from the workout will be well worth it.
10. Coffee Drinkers Live Longer (On Average)
As has been the going theme, if you make generally poor lifestyle choices are unhealthy to begin with, coffee will not be the magical solution to your problems. However, people with healthy lifestyles that do enjoy a cup (or a few) every day, on average, live longer.
In two different studies (seen here), it was indicated that coffee drinkers have a generally lower risk of death. After account for cardiovascular disease, smoking, age, and other risk factors, there were significant improvements in life span for those that drink coffee compared to those that don’t. For men, regular coffee drinkers had a reduced rate of death of up to 20%, while in women it was found to be as high as 26%.
What Are Some Misconceptions about Drinking Coffee with Caffeine?
Despite its numerous health benefits, coffee often gets incorrectly labeled as unhealthy. One of the major reasons for this is that in previous studies, controlled environments weren’t used: many subjects were also taking part in other risky lifestyle choices, like smoking.
And that itself is a major factor as to why many coffee studies have mislabeled it in the past: if someone drinks coffee, they also likely to engage in lifestyle choices which aren’t as healthy, such as smoking cigarettes or lacking physical activity.
The problem is that caffeine itself can be addicting when not used in moderation. It is the world’s most popular drug and to some people, it becomes a crutch – for waking up in the morning, during important hours of work, and so forth.
Relying on caffeine can be unhealthy and lead to a host of other problems like lacking sleep, migraines, and anxiety. So when you combine too much caffeine, along with smoking or inactivity, it can start to raise some serious problems in one’s life.
As we’ll go into next though, caffeine by itself (and in reasonable amounts) is actually pretty healthy for you.
Drinking 2, 4, or 6 cups of coffee per day isn’t going to do anything for your health if you are living an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle, such as ignoring sleep needs, having a bad diet, or lacking exercise.
Coffee is not some magical substance that can heavily mitigate all types of effects from bad lifestyle choices, although it does have an effect in some cases (such as reducing chances of cirrhosis even in heavy drinkers).
The main point is that if you practice a healthy lifestyle, then coffee will likely be even more beneficial. It is important to have the long term picture in mind, and realize that you are unlikely to see any immediate benefits. But if you drink coffee, get good sleep, practice a healthy diet, and do regular exercise, then coffee can certainly help in the long term.
There is still a lot to be learned about the totality of how coffee is healthy. In many studies and instances in which it is shown to be better for some parts of our health (such as our heart, liver, or aiding in preventing neurodegenerative diseases), it is not known how. Coffee is a complex substance with many difference factors attributing to its healthiness and how it reduces risk in most individuals for certain types of disease.
If you want to be on the safe side, and already enjoy coffee, go ahead and continue drinking one, two, or even three cups a day. Just be sure to monitor how caffeine impacts you and switch to decaf if needed.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle and Keep Drinking Your Coffee!