Health Benefits Of Coffee
It's hard to put into perspective how 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day globally. Most coffee lovers vouch for its energy-boosting caffeine. However, recent research indicates that coffee has more health benefits ranging from lowering your risk of depression and type 2 diabetes to supporting weight management and even supporting a healthy cardiovascular system.
While most of us only notice the taste and aroma of freshly brewed coffee, this brew contains over 800 volatile compounds that have a positive impact on human health. Let’s take a detailed look into the bioactive components in coffee and their health benefits.
Is Coffee good for your health?
A recent study by the Department of Nutrition at Havard found that moderate coffee consumption as part of a healthy diet leads to more healful outcomes. Consuming 2 to 5 cups of freshly brewed coffee lowers the likelihood of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, depression, endometrial and live cancers.
That being said, coffee is not for everyone. While research is still ongoing, there’s no adequate evidence on the long-term effects of coffee on children. Coffee should also be avoided during pregnancy and if you are prone to panic and anxiety disorders.
Health Benefits of Coffee
Grab a cup of coffee if you're looking for a healthy way to start your day. Coffee is a delicious and nutritious beverage that can also help protect your health. Let’s take a detailed look into the various ways coffee can boost your overall health and well-being.
Coffee is full of antioxidants.
One of coffee's most important health benefits is its high antioxidant content. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid. These antioxidants have been shown to protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Antioxidants are compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and DNA, leading to several chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
One study found that coffee drinkers had a 20% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers. Another study found that coffee drinkers had a 40% lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
The amount of antioxidants in coffee varies depending on the type of coffee, the roast level, and the brewing method. In general, dark roast coffee has more antioxidants than light roast coffee. However, the brewing method also plays a role. Coffee brewed with a French press or pour-over method has more antioxidants than coffee brewed with a drip coffee maker. The amount of antioxidants in coffee is also affected by the amount of coffee you drink. Studies have shown that drinking 3-4 cups of coffee daily can provide the most health benefits.
Here are some of the specific antioxidants found in coffee:
- Chlorogenic acid: Chlorogenic acid is the most abundant antioxidant in coffee. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and protect against cancer.
- Caffeic acid: Caffeic acid is another essential antioxidant found in coffee. It has been shown to protect against liver damage and improve cognitive function.
- Ferulic acid: Ferulic acid is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect cells from damage. It has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes
Coffee has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This is likely due to coffee's caffeine and chlorogenic acid, which can help improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. In people with type 2 diabetes, the body's cells become insulin resistant, which means they don't use glucose as efficiently. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can help to improve insulin sensitivity. This means that the body's cells are better able to use glucose for energy, which can help to lower blood sugar levels. Chlorogenic acid is an antioxidant that is found in coffee. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help reduce glucose absorption from the gut.
Several studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One study found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee daily had a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not drink coffee.
It is important to note that coffee does not cure type 2 diabetes. However, it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle that can help to reduce the risk of developing this condition. If you are concerned about your risk of type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor. Going for black coffee without sugar or creamer is also more likely to improve your health outcome.
Coffee contains caffeine which improves alertness and reaction time. Coffee can also help to improve memory, both short-term and long-term. This is likely due to the caffeine and antioxidants in coffee, which can help to protect the brain from damage.
Drinking coffee is also associated with increased cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to think about problems and their solutions in different ways, ultimately helping in solving problems and making decisions. The antioxidants in coffee have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is important to note that the cognitive benefits of coffee are dose-dependent. This means that the more coffee you drink, the greater the benefits. However, it is also important to note that too much coffee can have adverse side effects, such as anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. The recommended amount of coffee for most adults is 3-4 cups per day. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine, start with less and see how you feel.
Supporting liver health
Studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop liver diseases like cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, and liver cancer. Coffee has also improved liver function in people with liver disease. This is likely due to the antioxidants in coffee, which can help to protect the liver from damage. While coffee does not cure liver disease, its consumption is linked to slowed liver disease progression, likely due to the antioxidants.
Improving heart health
Despite old concerns that coffee may increase heart disease risk, newer research indicates that moderate coffee consumption is safe or mildly beneficial for heart health. Studies have found that moderate coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease compared to those who don't drink coffee.
Coffee improves blood vessel function and may protect against the accumulation of arterial plaque. Drinking coffee can also help lower blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease. While research is still ongoing, regular consumption of coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of arrhythmias which are irregular heartbeats that can lead to heart failure. The polyphenols in coffee help improve cholesterol levels and protect against heart failure.
Aiding in weight management
Coffee may support weight management and fat loss in several ways. The caffeine in coffee boosts metabolism and fat burning. Coffee also suppresses appetite and makes people feel fuller. One study found that drinking coffee with breakfast led people to eat significantly fewer calories later in the day. Drinking coffee may also increase the calories burned through a process called thermogenesis.
Boosting physical performance
Caffeine, the primary stimulant in coffee, is well-known for its ability to enhance physical and mental performance. Caffeine helps increase alertness, focus, energy, and endurance during exercise. Multiple studies indicate that caffeinated coffee can significantly improve exercise performance compared to decaf coffee. Drinking coffee before a workout can help you exercise longer and more intensely.
Lowering the risk of depression
Research demonstrates an association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of depression, especially in women. Those who consumed four or more cups of coffee daily had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. The caffeine in coffee may modulate neurotransmitters like serotonin that influence mood and depression risk. Coffee's anti-inflammatory properties may also play a role.
Longer life expectancy
Given its wide-ranging benefits, it's no surprise that coffee drinkers seem to live longer. Research has found that regular coffee consumption is associated with lower mortality risk, including heart disease. In a major study, people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee daily had a 15% lower risk of early death than non-coffee drinkers. The antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in coffee outweigh any negatives.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is coffee good for you?
Yes, in moderation, coffee is a healthy beverage. The antioxidants, compounds, and nutrients in coffee provide many health benefits.
How much coffee should you drink per day?
Most research shows 3-4 cups per day provides optimal health benefits for most people. Consuming more may lead to side effects from excess caffeine.
Does coffee help you lose weight?
Yes. Caffeine boosts metabolism and fat burning. Coffee also suppresses appetite and makes people feel fuller.
Is coffee bad for your heart?
No. In moderation, coffee promotes heart health by improving blood vessel function and lowering the risk of heart failure and stroke.
Can coffee improve athletic performance?
Coffee can improve athletic performance by increasing alertness and reaction time. It can also help to delay fatigue. However, it is essential to note that coffee should not be used as a substitute for proper training.
Is coffee safe for people with anxiety or insomnia?
Coffee can worsen anxiety and insomnia in some people. If you have anxiety or insomnia, avoiding coffee or drinking it in moderation is best.
Is coffee safe for people with high blood pressure?
Coffee can raise blood pressure in some people. However, for most people, the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks. If you have high blood pressure, it is best to talk to your doctor about how much coffee is safe to drink.
Is coffee safe for pregnant women?
There is some evidence that coffee can increase the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy. However, more research is needed to confirm this. If you are pregnant, it is best to talk to your doctor about how much coffee is safe.
Coffee is more than just a pick-me-up beverage; it's a healthy brew full of essential antioxidants that play critical roles in maintaining heart and liver health while boosting cognitive skills. You can take this one step further by getting mushroom-infused coffee that adds the numerous health benefits of mushroom extracts to those of ordinary coffee for a wholesome approach to your daily caffeine ritual.
By Susan Grey
Written November 2023