Coffee lovers rejoice! There is no need to feel guilty about drinking your favorite cup of coffee any longer – assuming of course, your favorite cup is loaded with whipped or heavy cream and sugar. Many people have had mixed thoughts about whether drinking plain coffee was good for them. Some even feel the need to cut way back on their coffee consumption, only ‘treating’ themselves on certain days of the week.
New research however is showing that this isn’t the case. Coffee drinking, in moderation of course, is considered to not only be healthy, but quite possibly, health promoting.
Regular coffee consumption may help with many health conditions and let’s not forget the very powerful energy boost it’ll give to both your body and mind.
Worldwide, we consume approximately 145 million bags of coffee each year, which amounts to nearly 10 million tons of this tasty beverage. Some other interesting stats on coffee includes:
· 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee (caffeine) on a daily basis
· 68% of users drink their first cup of coffee within 1 hour of waking up
· The average American teen or young adult will consume 100 mg of caffeine daily
· Even though energy drinks appear to be extremely popular, coffee is still the number one source of caffeine, accounting for 70% of the total caffeine consumed
· Finland is the leading capita for drinking caffeine, consuming at least 400 mg each and every day (just call it the nation that doesn’t sleep!)
· Doctors and nurses report the highest rates of caffeine consumption amongst all major occupations
· Seattle, which is well known for their coffee, is the city that consumes the most caffeine in the United States
· It only takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes before you begin feeling the effects of that cup of coffee working in your body – in a world where instant gratification is highly prized, coffee fits right in.
· Pregnant women who consume 200 mg of caffeine or more daily will increase the risks of suffering from a miscarriage, so they need to be extra cautious about regular coffee consumption during this time.
· 68 million Americans will drink at least 3 cups of coffee every single day
· Surprisingly, of all the main chains, McDonald’s coffee contains the least amount of caffeine at just 9.1 mg per fluid ounce
· Women and smokers processed caffeine faster than men and non-smokers
· Stats taken from https://brandongaille.com/50-dramatic-caffeine-consumption-statistics/
Now that you know a few more interesting facts about coffee and caffeine, let’s look at some of the key benefits that coffee is going to offer.
Great Source Of Antioxidants
In a world where it seems we are being exposed to more and more dangerous substances, from food to environmental pollutants, you need all the antioxidant help that you can get!
As it turns out, coffee is a terrific source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for combating the free radical damage that occurs in the body due to exposure of these substances, which can eventually lead to oxidation and disease.
What’s especially interesting is that in previous years, green tea has been known as the antioxidant powerhouse in the beverage world, however recent research is showing that coffee may actually contain more caffeine per serving than both green tea, black tea, herbal tea, as well as cocoa, all of which are known to be great for antioxidant support (1).
With so many people struggling to get a good intake of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet plan, at least it’s good they can count of coffee to help provide some of the much-needed nourishment. Note that the primary two antioxidants found in coffee that are exerting powerful influences are chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. If you opt for decaf coffee, you will slash these antioxidants, so while it still can be a great option when you are getting ready for bed and still want your coffee, in the morning, caffeinated coffee is actually a superior choice.
Reduced Risk Of Liver Cancer
With cancer being one of the leading causes of death in today’s world, it comes as no surprise that most people are interested in doing everything they can to prevent it.
While there will always be the obvious solutions: eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce your unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt, exercise more, and stop smoking, it turns out that you can now add drink coffee daily to this list.
In research published in the Gastroenterology journal (2), it was noted that when a test group consumed 2 cups of coffee per day, this was associated with a 43% reduced risk of liver cancer.
It’s believed that the caffeine that’s found in coffee may help to safeguard against some malignant cells by modulating certain detoxifying enzymes in the body. Overall, coffee drinkers may be at an up to 18% decreased risk for developing cancer of all varieties.
Benefits To Your Hearth Health
Along with cancer, heart attacks and heart disease are also leading causes of concern for most people. With many individuals passing away each year due to these devastating conditions, it only makes sense to take safety precautions when it comes to your heart.
Heart health is very much determined by our day to day lifestyle choices and the decisions that we make. This includes everything from how we exercise, what we eat, how much sleep we are getting and our stress levels.
Our coffee consumption habits also do matter. Research published in the Critical Reviews in food Science and Nutrition (3) has shown that habitual coffee consumption is associated with an overall lower level of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
This particular study also noted that coffee consumption may help to prevent several chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, as well as liver disease.
Note that this is assuming you are drinking coffee in moderate levels. If you are drinking 6+ cups of coffee per day, you may notice adverse reactions and experience racing heart rates, jitteriness, and heart irregularities.
Everyone is unique in their own sensitivity level to caffeine, so it’s important to assess your own sensitivity and adjust your coffee consumption accordingly.
Give Your Brain A Boost With Coffee
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the physical benefits that coffee brings, but let’s not forget the brain boosting benefits as well. Coffee has a powerful influence on your mind, and not just on ensuring that you are staying nice and alert. People have known for years that coffee is an almost instant way to pick yourself up after not enough sleep or a long hard day at work when you just need to keep going. It’ll increase alertness, shorten reaction times, and may even help to spark creativity in some people. On top of this, the antioxidants found in coffee may also help to protect against Parkinson’s disease.
A study published by the JAMA network (4) noted that there was an inverse relationship between total cups of coffee and caffeine taken in and the incidence rate of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers suggested that the caffeine found in the coffee was playing a very strong role in this so that’s another reason to opt for regular coffee over decaf again. Another study noted that coffee, or more specifically, the caffeine found in coffee, may help to protect against memory related issues. It can help to prevent memory decline associated with sleep deprivation or aging, and may also help to completely wash away memory lapses that can occur during Alzheimer’s disease (5).
If you are someone who always seems to be forgetting things, you may want to take having a dose of coffee a little more seriously.
Assistance With Diabetes
Another condition that may not be quite as devastating as a heart attack or cancer, but one we do need to take seriously no less is diabetes. Diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society as our diets become more and more filled with processed, sugary items.
While the best ways to prevent diabetes in the first place includes eliminating all processed foods and simple sugars, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight, there are additional things you can do to help get yourself to that next level of protection.
Research is illustrating that those who consume coffee on a daily basis may have protection against type 2 diabetes and it also appears the more coffee you drink, the better off you’ll be.
The relative risk of type 2 diabetes for those drinking one cup per day was 0.87, while the risk was 0.58 when it was bumped to two to three cups per day. If you drink four or more cups, you can enjoy a 0.53 risk. When compared to those who were drinking decaf coffee, these numbers were lower, as was also the case for tea consumers (6).
Another way in which coffee consumption may help to ward off diabetes is by increasing insulin sensitivity. A study published in the Diabetologia journal (7) noted that caffeinated coffee intake was positively associated with insulin sensitivity and inversely related to a two hour post load glucose measurement along with fasting insulin levels.
By increasing insulin sensitivity levels, you help your body learn how to better manage the carbohydrates you take in, which will then lead to better overall blood glucose control.
Many people often feared caffeine and coffee if they suffered from diabetes thinking that it would negatively impact their blood glucose levels but we now know this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Can Support Weight Loss Efforts
Another way in which coffee may help benefit you is that it could help support your weight loss efforts. Losing weight can be very trying, but with the addition of coffee to your day, you might just find things get easier.Adding some coffee will help enhance weight loss in a couple of different ways. First, many find that it does suppress the appetite. If you drink a cup of coffee rather than snack on a 300 calorie bagel when you shouldn’t, that is without a doubt going to have positive influence on your weight loss goals.
Next, coffee, being that it does contain caffeine, is a stimulant and this means that it will help to boost your resting metabolic rate. Anything that increases your resting metabolic rate will help increase overall fat loss since the more calories you burn each day, the easier it will be to see weight loss results.
Next, provided you are drinking black coffee, not coffee loaded with sugars or cream/fats, you’ll also take in essentially no calories. There are just 2-5 calories per cup of coffee, so nothing that you need to concern yourself with.
Finally, because the caffeine in coffee can energize you, this may cause you to exercise harder, or simply move more throughout the day. When you have more energy, you tend to move around more thanks to the effect of neat (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), and this can be a significant contributor to how much weight loss is experienced.
So as you can see, there are many great benefits to drinking a cup or two (or more!) of coffee a day. And, you definitely do not need to go decaf either to experience these great benefits. In many cases, the caffeine found in coffee is half of the reason it provides such wonderful benefits.
Just be sure you closely monitor what you put into your coffee because it’s that which will influence whether your coffee proves to be a positive addition to your diet or a negative one.
Commonly Asked Questions
What is the disadvantages of coffee?
The primary disadvantage of coffee is not with coffee itself, but rather, what people put into coffee. Many are preparing it with a lot of sugar and/or added fats and these will increase the calorie total of the cup you are serving and could lead to unwanted fat gain and blood sugar management problems.
Beyond that, the only other problem with coffee is if you drink too much of it close to your bedtime, it can result in difficulty falling asleep at night.
How does coffee affect the brain?
Coffee impacts the brain by causing stimulation, which will in turn lead to you feeling more awake, concentrating more clearly, and potentially having more creative ideas and energy. Do note however that after taking too much caffeine in, you may experience a ‘crash’, in which case your mental energy may drop and you will be left feeling worse than before. Moderation is key.
What happens if you drink coffee on an empty stomach?
Everyone will differ in their response to drinking coffee on an empty stomach. Some people will only notice that the caffeine may hit them faster and more strongly than if they had taken it in with food. Others, who are more prone to sensitive stomachs, may notice stomach pain occurring, especially if they have ever suffered from a gastric ulcer before.
Because coffee is acidic, it’s typically recommended that anyone who does have a more sensitive stomach, drink it with food to prevent unwanted discomfort.
Does drinking coffee cause dehydration?
As long as you are drinking coffee in moderation, it should not lead to dehydration. Many people believe it does and while caffeine itself acts as a diuretic in the body, you are drinking water with the caffeine (the liquid coffee is made from). You will be taking in more fluid into your body than you are losing. So your total liquid balance will still be net positive from that cup of coffee.
1. Richelle, Myriam, Isabelle Tavazzi, and Elizabeth Offord. “Comparison of the antioxidant activity of commonly consumed polyphenolic beverages (coffee, cocoa, and tea) prepared per cup serving.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 49.7 (2001): 3438-3442.
2. Larsson, Susanna C., and Alicja Wolk. “Coffee consumption and risk of liver cancer: a meta-analysis.” Gastroenterology132.5 (2007): 1740-1745.
3. Higdon, Jane V., and Balz Frei. “Coffee and health: a review of recent human research.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 46.2 (2006): 101-123.
4. Ross, G. Webster, et al. “Association of coffee and caffeine intake with the risk of Parkinson disease.” Jama 283.20 (2000): 2674-2679.
5. Cunha, Rodrigo A., and Paula M. Agostinho. “Chronic caffeine consumption prevents memory disturbance in different animal models of memory decline.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease20.s1 (2010): S95-S116.
6. Van Dam, Rob M., et al. “Coffee, caffeine, and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study in younger and middle-aged US women.” Diabetes care 29.2 (2006): 398-403.
7. Loopstra-Masters, R. C., et al. “Associations between the intake of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and measures of insulin sensitivity and beta cell function.” Diabetologia 54.2 (2011): 320-328.