The Benefits Of Drinking Coffee on a daily basis could be contributing more to your good health than any of us have been aware. The health impact of coffee is just now getting the recognition by the latest wave of scientific evidence and research.
Long a controversial subject, coffee drinking advocates claim its antioxidant activity and brain-enhancing ability are among its many benefits, while those on the other side of the fence call out its downsides, such as insomnia and indigestion along with an increased heart rate and blood pressure.
11 reasons drinking coffee may be healthier than you thought
1. Cognitive decline– As one of the leading cause of dementia worldwide, Alzheimer’s is the most common neurodegenerative disease in people over sixty five. In one study, researchers found that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day was associated with a major decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life.
This study concluded that regular coffee consumption may help prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Over the years there have been many controlled trials in humans showing that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function, translating to a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s, the second most common neurodegenerative disease as well.
2. Heart health- Evidence suggests that coffee may support heart health by protecting against arterial damage typically caused by inflammation. A European study found that moderate coffee drinkers had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease as compared to heavy or light coffee drinkers, and nondrinkers.
Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease, but a slightly lower risk of stroke.
3. A potent source of healthy antioxidants- Many studies have shown that coffee can be a major dietary source of antioxidants. While fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, the human body seems to be able to absorb the most from coffee. Chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant found almost exclusively in coffee, is also thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
In fact, coffee shows more antioxidant activity than green tea and cocoa combined. There are thousands of antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop and have been identified during the roasting process.
As we have discussed in earlier articles, antioxidants fight inflammation, a major underlying cause of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, atherosclerosis and many types of cancer. They also neutralize free radicals and keep us healthy at the micro-level by protecting our cells from damage.
4. Is Caffeine a memory enhancer? Researchers are finding that brain activity surges, when measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI), on test subjects performing memory based tasks. Their memory skills and reaction times also improved.
Those in the test groups received a dose of 100 milligrams of caffeine, about as much contained in a single cup of coffee. The findings appear to conclude that caffeine appears to affect the particular areas of the brain responsible for memory and concentration, providing a boost to short-term memory, although it’s not clear how long the effects last.
5. Type 2 diabetes- Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem currently afflicting millions of people worldwide.
Scientists believe and a growing body of research suggests, that coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes in several ways. First, by preventing tissue damage and reducing inflammation, a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Caffeic acid, one component of coffee has been found to be particularly significant in reducing toxic accumulations of abnormal protein deposits found in people with type 2 diabetes. Another way coffee may reduce the risk of diabetes is by helping the body use insulin, enabling effective regulation of blood sugar and protecting insulin-producing cells.
Epidemiological studies have reported that heavy coffee drinkers (those who regularly drink four or more cups daily) had up to a 50 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than light drinkers or nondrinkers.
6. Lower the risk of, or prevent cancer– Thought to help reduce inflammation that could be responsible for some tumors, polyphenols, antioxidant phytochemicals found in coffee, have demonstrated anti-carcinogenic properties in several studies. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer, liver which is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world and colorectal cancer, which ranks fourth. Coffee drinkers it appears, have a lower risk of both.
In men who drink coffee, the chance of developing aggressive prostate cancer may be significantly reduced, as well as women who drank four or more cups of coffee daily, decreased the risk of endometrial cancer by twenty five percent. Research has also found ties between regular coffee drinking and lower rates of liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers.
7. Gout-Researchers have found a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a decreased risk for gout.Coffee’s antioxidant properties may decrease the risk of gout by decreasing insulin, which in turn lowers uric acid levels (high concentrations of uric acid can cause gout).
Independent studies have also confirmed that the coffee consumption patterns of people drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing gout.
8. Exercise Performance Benefits-Caffeine fights fatigue and is a performance and endurance enhancer. It also strengthens muscle contraction, reduces the exerciser’s perception of pain, and increases fatty acids in the blood, which supports endurance and enables you to exercise longer.
9. Burn Fat- Studies have shown that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by stimulating the nervous system, causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat. Caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning and is found in almost all commercial fat burning supplement. It is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
10. Liver Function- Scientific studies have shown that coffee drinkers had lower blood levels of liver enzymes which typically reflect inflammation and damage to the liver when elevated. The more coffee subjects drank, the lower their levels of enzymes, suggesting that coffee consumption has been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis as well as lowering the risk of liver cancer.
11. Depression- Multiple research studies have linked heavy coffee drinkers to have the lowest risk (up to 20 percent) of depression. Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. Data from other studies suggests, coffee drinking lowers rates of depression in both men and women. Researchers aren’t quite sure how coffee seems to stave off depression, but it is known that caffeine activates neurotransmitters that control mood, including serotonin and dopamine.
Coffee May Help You Live Longer
There are many observational studies showing that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.
In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of death in men and a 26% lower risk of death in women.
In people with type II diabetes this effect appears to be particularly strong. In one study, diabetics who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death and additional studies show that coffee drinkers in general live longer and have a lower risk of premature death.
Coffee may actually be the healthiest aspect of a standard Western diet. One of the reasons is because coffee contains massive amount of antioxidants. Studies have shown that most people get more antioxidants from coffee than both fruits and vegetables combined!
* Nutrients contained in a single cup of coffee
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA.
Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA.
Keep It Healthy
Stay away from the fat-filled, sugar-laden beverages and order a basic black coffee. And if you use milk, switch to skim milk or unsweetened nut milk. (Almond milk is my favorite)
Two to three eight-ounce cups per day is considered moderate; heavy coffee drinkers consume four cups or more daily. Eight ounces of brewed coffee may contain as little as 80 to as much as 200 mg of caffeine per cup (an “average” cup probably contains about 100 mg).
We all love coffee, but it’s important to recognize that even the most rigorous scientific studies are subject to bias, especially ones that examine something as well loved and economically important as coffee. So enjoy your coffee, but interpret these findings with a grain of salt.
Why Buy Fair Trade Organic Coffee?
The system of buying and selling goods and commodities in a way in which the local producers and communities involved are paid a fair wage is known as Fair Trade. Fair trade also may include policies that honor the local natural environment as well as the promotion of fairness and sustainability.
Many fair trade coffee farmers work with sustainable production methods to help keep the natural environment thriving for future generations.
When you buy fair trade, organic coffee you also support environmental sustainability through organic practices that reduce and/or eliminate the use of harmful toxic agrochemicals.
Fair Trade coffee can help farmers escape poverty. Living in remote locations and lacking access to credit, most small-scale family farmers are vulnerable to middlemen who offer cash for their coffee at a fraction of its value. Linking farmers directly with importers, creating long-term sustainability Fair Trade guarantees farmers a minimum price, allowing them to earn better incomes and to hold on to their land.
My Favorite Coffee Picks
Following are three of my favorite Fair Trade Organic Coffee picks, try them and let me know what you think.
Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Whole Bean, 2 Pound
Price-$14.99($0.47 / Ounce)& FREE Shipping on orders over $35
Country of Origin- Honduras
Subtle Earth Organic, richly flavorful, earthy, mellow, smooth, and almost cocoa-like and caramel-like in the taste experience. An exceptional Honduran coffee from the Marcala region. No chemical inputs are used. The cherries (fruit of the coffee bean), are composted and used as fertilizer, along with vermiculture, and fewer insects are present at the altitude that it’s grown, so no insecticides are necessary. Organic, Fair Trade Country: Honduras Region: Marcala Importer
Equal Exchange Organic Coffee, Breakfast Blend, Ground, 12-Ounce Bag
Price-$9.89($0.82 / Ounce) & FREE Shipping on orders over $35
Country of Origin-Latin America
Flavor- Blend of Medium and French Roasted Coffees. Sweet, balanced and creamy with hints of chocolate brownie, roasted nut and caramel. Fairly traded direct from small farmer cooperatives in Latin America.
The Organic Coffee Co. Ground, Breakfast Blend, 12 Ounce (Pack of 2)
By- The Organic Coffee Co. Ground, Breakfast Blend, 12 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Price-$19.58($0.82 / Ounce)& FREE Shipping on orders over $35
Country of Origin- Central and South American coffees
Flavor-A bright and flavorful blend of the finest, 100% organic Central and South American coffees. Grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. They grow their own organic coffee on unique and bio-diverse farms in Panama. This is a sustainable, fair and direct trade coffee.
PS:I hope you enjoyed this article. Join the conversation and let me know your favorite Coffee – share your experiences below and join me on other interesting articles at healingbodyandmind.org