Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages for a reason: It not only tastes good and gives you a serious jolt of energy, but it also has plenty of amazing, body-boosting benefits. Which, in all honestly, is a major bonus considering the fact that most people are simply pleased to have something to help them get through their morning meetings.
John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.
If Starbucks is your favorite coffee house, then you’ve likely seen the cinnamon on the milk counter when you go to top off your brew. Next time, take advantage and give your health a boost. Swinney says that cinnamon can make your beverage even better for you, thanks to its antioxidant properties, not to mention a slew of other benefits. “Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar in many clinical studies. Adding spices add antioxidants and sweetness without calories, helping to cut back on the sugar you might add to coffee. Cloves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” she explains. Check out 10 weird facts about coffee you never knew.
It’s enough to make a tea drinker buy an espresso machine. In a new study scientists in Germany report they were able to modify a common age-related defect in the hearts of mice with doses of caffeine equivalent to four to five cups of coffee a day for a human. The paper—the latest addition to a growing body of research that supports the health benefits of drinking coffee—describes how the molecular action of caffeine appears to enhance the function of heart cells and protect them from damage.
“For example, prior studies have suggested that variants in CYP1A2, (a gene) encoding the enzyme responsible for more than 95 percent of caffeine metabolism, may alter associations of coffee drinking with cardiovascular-related outcomes, with slower caffeine metabolizers having higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) relative to their non-drinking counterparts, whereas faster caffeine metabolizers who drink coffee are at no or lower risk of these outcomes.”
Don’t feel bad about those days you drink a little too much coffee: A 2016 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found drinking a high consumption—we’re talking more than four a day—can help reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack the protective covering of the nerves in the brain, spine, and eyes. And not just a little—by 31 percent.
Already think the benefits of coffee are endless? Well they pretty much are: It can even strengthen your DNA. A small 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found drinking coffee regularly significantly reduced the oxidative damage in the body’s white blood cells, which can hurt your DNA. Instead, the coffee—dark roast, in this case!—helped keep the DNA strong.
If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, swap out those artificial vanilla and hazelnut creamers and syrups for a naturally tropical taste by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil. And while coconut oil might not be the “cure-all” it’s made out to be, adding it to your coffee may have a few health benefits, from contributing to weight loss to possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease. While these health claims are still under investigation, we think it's worth adding it to your coffee for the flavor alone. The creaminess is crazy.
While you’ve probably experienced a headache as a caffeine withdrawal (which are the worst, by the way), coffee can also help relieve them. According to the National Headache Foundation, caffeine contains properties that narrow the blood vessels and restrict blood flow, which in turn helps relieve the throbbing pain you’re experiencing in your noggin. In fact, when you add an actual pain reliever into the mix, you can increase the pain relieving effect by 40 percent.
“For example, prior studies have suggested that variants in CYP1A2, (a gene) encoding the enzyme responsible for more than 95 percent of caffeine metabolism, may alter associations of coffee drinking with cardiovascular-related outcomes, with slower caffeine metabolizers having higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) relative to their non-drinking counterparts, whereas faster caffeine metabolizers who drink coffee are at no or lower risk of these outcomes.”
How it works: Scientists believe that coffee may be beneficial in keeping diabetes at bay in several ways: (1) by helping the body use insulin and protecting insulin-producing cells, enabling effective regulation of blood sugar; (2) preventing tissue damage; and (3) and battling inflammation, a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. One component of coffee known as caffeic acid has been found to be particularly significant in reducing the toxic accumulation of abnormal protein deposits (amyloid fibrils) found in people with type 2 diabetes. Decaffeinated coffee is thought to be as beneficial, or more so, than regular.
So how much java is too much? It's wise to stick to no more than 3 to 4 cups per day. Certain groups, such as people with hypertension and the elderly, may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of caffeine. Pregnant and breast-feeding women will want to limit intake to a maximum of 200 to 300 milligrams a day of caffeine (the amount in 2 to 3 cups of coffee). The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women cap caffeine consumption at 200 milligrams a day.
If drinking a cup or two of coffee tends to make you feel good mentally, there’s a reason for that: A 2013 study published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry found drinking coffee actually acts as a mild antidepressant by boosting feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. After examining 44,000 men and 74,000 women, they found a few cups of brew reduced the risk of suicide by 50 percent.
When the morning rush gets between us and breakfast, we become our worst selves (hangry, stuck in rush-hour traffic, staring at a giant billboard of a breakfast sandwich). But here’s a way to grab breakfast and coffee on your way out the door: Brew some caffeine-packed oats in your thermos for a delicious morning meal. Not only are you getting your energizing fix, but you're also eating a solid breakfast because oatmeal comes packed with fiber and minerals like magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.
After one too many long nights at the office, it’s not uncommon to experience mental fatigue. In addition to getting your mental health back on track to make sure it doesn’t lead to more serious health problems, drink some coffee: A 2010 review in the journal Nutrition found caffeine can help decrease the exhaustion you’re feeling by perking your body up.
Here’s why: Adding a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa (we’re talking the fermented seeds from the cacao tree) offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that can help your body by lowering blood pressure, balancing cholesterol, and helping to manage type 2 diabetes. Think a homemade mocha with zero added sugar, although we think a little drizzle of maple syrup would be good in this too.

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More recent research has shown the opposite. Drinking coffee is now associated with a lower risk of diabetes, stroke, and cognitive issues like depression. One reason may be that coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, and researchers now think it’s particularly good at reducing inflammation. One recent study showed older people who consumed more caffeine showed much lower levels of inflammation than those who didn’t. Another recent large study of over 200,000 people found coffee drinkers may live longer.
And those antioxidants? Although researchers have yet to determine the exact mechanisms behind some of the disease-preventing effects, it is important to keep in mind that these compounds may be exerting other beneficial effects, such as acting as an anti-inflammatory. Coffee also contains small amounts of some nutrients, including potassium, niacin and magnesium.
Coffee has been known for helping reduce the risk of cancer, and a 2016 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention found drinking it could help cut it by a whopping 50 percent. But how much is needed to reap the benefits? Researchers say one or two cupts for a 26 percent reduced risk or more than 2.5 for a 50 percent-reduced risk.
If black coffee isn’t your thing, considering adding a little kick to your morning cup of joe with a little dash of cinnamon. Not only do the flavors mesh well together, but having a teaspoon of cinnamon every morning can help fight inflammation and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, among other benefits. “Cinnamon improves the way fat cells respond to sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity and helping to maintain blood sugar levels,” says Erinn Gregory, RDN.
Don’t feel bad about those days you drink a little too much coffee: A 2016 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found drinking a high consumption—we’re talking more than four a day—can help reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack the protective covering of the nerves in the brain, spine, and eyes. And not just a little—by 31 percent.
For the sake of something real journalists call “integrity” I should point out that coffee has also been shown to have a small, yet positive (which isn’t a good thing in this case) relationship with bladder (25) cancer. However, the same study that reported these finding, also reported that this relationship could also be linked to smoking or other dietary habits.
You can improve your coffee by adding real cream. This means organic and grass-fed. Cream like this can be purchased at all major health food stores, and will give you the health benefits of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). There is also usually a nice amount of vitamin K2 present in full-fat cream. This is important because adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been linked with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Full-fat cream has even been linked to more successful weight loss.
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By making your own creamer at home, you can avoid giving up the taste to steer clear of calories and fat. This recipe for skinny creamer is to die for, especially if you’re a fan of rich dark chocolate and the aroma and puckering goodness of peppermint. Be sure to have some of this healthier sweet treat for the holidays, and share it with your family.
Already think the benefits of coffee are endless? Well they pretty much are: It can even strengthen your DNA. A small 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found drinking coffee regularly significantly reduced the oxidative damage in the body’s white blood cells, which can hurt your DNA. Instead, the coffee—dark roast, in this case!—helped keep the DNA strong.
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