Turns out that coffee’s good for more than jump-starting our mornings or keeping us awake during meetings. A whole lot of recent research suggests that coffee offers a host of potential health advantages.
Every day, Americans drink 400 million cups of this incredibly complex beverage, which contains more than 1,000 compounds that make a difference your body. The most commonly studied are caffeine (a nervous-system stimulant that’s seen to have positive cognitive effects) and polyphenols (antioxidants that will help slow or prevent cell damage).
What health benefits does coffee offer?
Though researchers don’t always know exactly which of coffee’s ingredients are in charge of producing their studies’ health-boosting results, there’s evidence that drinking coffee can help do the next:
1. Improve overall health.
An analysis of practically 220 studies on coffee, published in the BMJ in 2017, discovered that caffeine drinkers may enjoy more all around health benefits than people who don’t drink coffee.
The analysis found that during the study period, coffee drinkers were 17% less inclined to die early from any cause, 19% less likely to die of heart disease and 18% not as likely to develop cancer than those who don’t drink coffee.
2. Protect against Type 2 diabetes.
A 2014 study by Harvard researchers published in the journal Diabetologica tracked practically 124,000 people for 16-20 years.
Those who increased their coffee intake by more than a cup every day over a four-year period had an 11% lower threat of developing Type 2 diabetes; those who decreased their intake by one cup per day experienced a 17% higher threat of developing the disease.
The reason may be the antioxidants in coffee, which reduce inflammation (inflammation plays a part in your Type 2 diabetes risk).
If you already have Type 2 diabetes, however, you should avoid caffeinated products, including coffee. Caffeine has been proven to improve both blood sugar and insulin levels in people with the disease.
3. Control Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
A number of studies have suggested that consuming caffeine can lessen your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease – and research published in 2012 in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology showed a daily dose of caffeine corresponding to that found in two eight-ounce cups of black coffee can help to control the involuntary movements of folks who curently have the illness. (You’d have to drink practically eight cups of brewed black tea to have the same amount of caffeine.)
4. Slow the progress of dementia.
In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Florida researchers tested the blood levels of caffeine in older adults with mild cognitive impairments, which may be a precursor to severe dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
When the researchers re-evaluated the subjects two to four years later, those whose blood levels contained caffeine amounts equal to about three cups of coffee were far less more likely to have progressed to full-blown dementia than those who had consumed little if any caffeine.
5. Safeguard the liver.
Several studies published in respected journals have discovered that coffee drinking has beneficial effects on the liver, including reducing the chance of death from liver cirrhosis, decreasing harmful liver enzyme levels and limiting liver scarring in individuals who have hepatitis C.
6. Promote heart health.
According to a study published in February 2021 in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure, drinking a number of daily cups of plain, caffeinated coffee was associated with a significant lowering of a person’s long-term threat of heart failure.
The study looked at the initial data from thee well-known heart disease studies: the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study.
7. Reduce melanoma risk.
A 2015 study appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at the coffee-drinking habits of more than 447,000 people over 10 years. The researchers found that those who drank four or even more cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 20% lower threat of developing melanoma than people who drank decaffeinated coffee or no caffeine.