The unmistakable smell and taste of coffee work like an alarm clock for many in the morning. This tasty beverage that comes from a simple bean is popular worldwide.
More than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year, making it one of the world’s most popular drinks today. In fact, the love of coffee goes back centuries.
Coffee is rich in antioxidants and caffeine as well as riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin.
Drinking coffee has both advantages and disadvantages, which are proven scientifically. One of the most important benefits that has always been in the limelight is that coffee lends to a longer life.
Along with extending your life, there are many more benefits linked to coffee consumption. However, to enjoy these benefits, you must stick to black coffee and not more than four to five cups a day.
Here are some ways in which coffe helps you live longer and benefits your health.
1. Coffee and Longer Life
Coffee protects your body due to its potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants work as warriors fighting and protecting against free radicals within your body. These free radicals can weaken your immunity and make you more prone to illness.
As java drinkers are less likely to suffer from many diseases, it makes sense that this beverage adds years to their lives.
A 2008 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that decaffeinated coffee intake was associated with a small reduction in all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.
Furthermore, a large 2012 prospective study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality. This is even true in people having poor lifestyle habits, such as eating red meat and skipping exercise.
In a recent 2015 study published in Circulation, researchers found that regular coffee drinkers (people who drank less than five cups of coffee in a day) have a lower risk of dying early from a number of different causes, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, neurological diseases and suicide. This study was conducted by the American Heart Association.
2. Protects Against Cancer
The antioxidants in coffee are the reason why coffee is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer.
Coffee contains biologically active compounds, such as caffeine and phenolic acids, showing potent antioxidant activity that affect glucose metabolism and sex hormone levels. This plays a key role in preventing prostate cancer.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a strong inverse association between coffee consumption and risk of lethal prostate cancer. The association appears to be related to non-caffeine components of coffee.
A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Nutrition shows that coffee intake is inversely associated with colon cancer, particularly proximal tumors.
Coffee is also beneficial at preventing skin cancers due to its caffeine content. A 2014 study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention shows that caffeine from coffee leads to a 43 percent reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma in coffee drinkers as compared with non-consumers of coffee.
In a recent 2016 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, which is published by the American Association of Cancer Research, it was found that even moderate coffee intake leads to a 26 percent reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer after adjusting for known risk factors.
3. Keeps Your Liver Healthy
Limited coffee consumption is linked to better liver health. For liver health, filtered coffee is more hepatoprotective, meaning it prevents certain harmful substances like kahweol and cafestol from reaching your body.
A 2013 study published in Hepatology suggests that increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high-fat diet.
It even reduces therisk of primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare autoimmune disease of the bile ducts in the liver.
When suffering from fatty liver disease, do not drink unfiltered coffee as it can worsen the symptoms.
A 2001 study published in the Annals of Epidemiology reports that coffee, but not other beverages containing caffeine, may inhibit the onset of alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis. Another study published in the same journal the next year confirms the inverse association between coffee consumption and liver cirrhosis.
Later, a 2006 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that coffee drinking was related to lower prevalence of high aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels. This in turn protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.
Not just liver cirrhosis, coffee consumption is even linked to a lower risk of liver cancer. A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with a lower risk of liver cancer.
Similarly, a meta-analysis published in Gastroenterology in 2007 also suggests that an increased consumption of coffee may reduce the risk of liver cancer.
4. Prevents Gallstones
Gallstones are a very painful problem that can be prevented with regular coffee consumption. The antioxidant and metabolic effects of coffee are the reasons behind it.
A 1999 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that metabolic effects of coffee could reduce the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men.
Not just men, coffee is also beneficial for women. A 2002 study published in Gastroenterology proves that consumption of caffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in women.
Another 2003 study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology shows that coffee and caffeine intake were each associated with a statistically significant increase in the prevalence of known gallstone disease, but unrelated to newly diagnosed gallstones.
5. Treats Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.
As there is no known treatment, the focus is mainly on prevention as well as management of symptoms.
Coffee consumption is associated with a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease as well as in reducing the symptoms.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reports that caffeine has neuro-protective capability in the management of motor and non-motor symptoms.
Another study published in the American Academy of Neurology in 2012 reports that coffee intake provided only equivocal borderline improvement in excessive somnolence in Parkinson’s disease, but improved objective motor measures. This happens as caffeine seems to block a malfunctioning brain signal in Parkinson’s disease.
Caffeine may even work as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease concludes that coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. This may be due to its strong antioxidant capacity and increased insulin sensitivity.
6. Protects Your Heart
Reasonable consumption of coffee, say up to 3 to 5 cups a day, is associated with better heart health. This is mainly due to its caffeine content.
It may also be related to naturally occurring compounds in coffee beans, such as phytochemicals that may help reduce inflammation, which is important for your heart health.
A 2007 meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases reports that moderate intake of coffee reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
Later, a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 2011 found that coffee as well as green tea, black tea and oolong tea consumption reduced the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese men and women.
Coffee is even linked to reduced stroke risk. A 2009 study published in Circulation reports that long-term coffee consumption was not associated with an increased risk of strokes in women. In contrast, the data suggests that coffee consumption may modestly reduce stroke risk.
7. Helps Prevent Diabetes
The antioxidants in coffee improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Caffeine also affect insulin sensitivity. A 2004 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that caffeine intake from coffee and other sources was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for diabetes in both men and women.
A 2009 study published in Diabetologia reports that a total consumption of at least three cups of coffee or tea per day may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, this cannot be explained by magnesium, potassium, caffeine or blood pressure effects.
A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the intake of caffeinated and caffeine-free beverages with respect to the development of Type 2 diabetes in 74,749 women. It shows that caffeinated coffee reduced Type 2 diabetes risk by 4 percent and decaffeinated reduced the risk by 7 percent.
A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that coffee intake is associated with reduced risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.
Once sweetener is added to coffee, it reduces the benefits of diabetes prevention. In fact, it can actually increase your risk of developing diabetes and hence should be avoided.
Also, while coffee is beneficial for protecting against diabetes, it may pose dangers to people who already have this disease.
- Do not buy bad quality coffee, as it can be toxic in nature. It can cause sickness, headaches or a general bad feeling.
- Stick to just three to five cups of coffee a day. High coffee intake can cause insomnia and restlessness.
- Do not drink coffee right before going to bed.
- During pregnancy, do not drink more than one cup of coffee a day.
- People with high cholesterol should drink filtered coffee only.
- Do not give coffee to small children, as it may cause bedwetting.