Why drinking coffee is good for you
Most of us probably have a nagging feeling that it is not healthy. Well let’s start off by removing the doubt entirely: Coffee is just fine. Not only that, it comes with its share of health benefits.
If it is unhealthy, that’s because individuals make it that way. How much sugar do you put in it? Healthy coffee takes none. Is it watered down, pumped with flavored syrup, and blended with creamy milk? If so, we are no longer talking about coffee, but about candy, and that won’t make our list of healthy foods. So, how do healthy people drink their coffee? Black and organic – with a little full fat milk, if you must.
In this article we are going to give you five reasons why coffee is good for you. But before we do, we’d be remiss if we gave you the greenlight entirely. So let’s start off with a caveat.
An excess amount of coffee can come with unpleasant side effects. While it doesn’t actually present any harm in itself, you will want to to ease up on it if you, for example, struggle with sleep or suffer from an adrenal condition.
If in doubt, listen to your body. If you are not feeling quite right or balanced after that third or fourth cup of coffee, then ease up. Some are only comfortable with just a single cup a day. Others are fine drinking five or six throughout the day. Know your limits. Caffeine is after all fairly powerful stuff.
OK, now that’s out the way, let’s get on with it:
1. Drinking coffee may lead to a longer life
Research shows that if you want to add additional years to your life, coffee can help. While this notion may sound deceptive, according to the National Cancer Institute, men who drank two-to-three cups of coffee a day decreased their risk of death from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infection by 10 percent, while women decreased it by 13 percent. It was in fact a broad study that was carried out on 400,000 US men and women ages 50 to 71. Although the researchers behind the study cautioned that other factors may have been at play, the numbers nonetheless tell a story we can’t help but find interesting.
2. Coffee can protect your brain against cognitive decline
While we know that our love for caffeine is mainly due to its role in inducing dopamine release in our brain, it plays a major role in supporting brain health. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that drinking coffee three-to-five times a day during the midlife years may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by 65 percent in later life. Yet another study published in the Journal of Neuroscience concluded that caffeine not only blocked inflammation in the brain, but was also discovered to be a an adenosine receptor antagonist, meaning it blocked the protein receptors that build up and lead to Alzheimer’s in the brain.
3. One cup of coffee per day decreases the risk of liver cancer by 15 percent
A recent study revealed that if you drink one cup of coffee a day, your chance of getting liver cancer is slashed by 15 percent. According to findings published in the Continuous Update Project (CUP – and no pun intended), an analysis of 34 studies covering 8.2 million subjects (with more than 24,500 suffering from liver cancer) found that drinking coffee can reduce your chance of developing liver cancer, and decrease the amount of liver cancer in those with the disease. While researchers did not provide a definitive link to coffee and liver cancer prevention, we do know that coffee and coffee extract have over 1,000 components, many of which may work to reduce the gene expression involved in inflammation in the body and to reduce the risk of DNA damage.
4. Coffee intake may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
It seems that coffee also has a place in controlling type 2 diabetes. A study carried out by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that people with increased coffee intake over a period of four years had an 11 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the primary reason for this is due to coffee’s power to control glucose levels.
5. Coffee is home to powerful antioxidants
We know fruits and vegetables are rich in potent antioxidants, but did you know that coffee contains some powerful antioxidants of its own? Believe it. In fact, if you’re an avid coffee drinker, you’re probably getting more of your antioxidants from those cups of ‘joe’ than from the fruits and veggies. And how do antioxidants benefit us? Well, they play a role in curbing inflammation. We know that many chronic diseases today are mainly due to the occurrence of inflammation in the body. What makes antioxidants so great is that they work at a micro-level, so they neutralize the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and lead to a host of chronic disease.
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Graham Simpson, MD is Chief Medical Officer and Founder of Intelligent Health, a preventive medical centre located in Jumeirah. Dubai. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. As a founding member of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) Dr Simpson is also a licensed homeopath.