Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world, with billions of cups consumed daily. Brewed from ground coffee beans, it is a drink that is enjoyed by nearly half of adults in the United States as a way to wake up in the mornings, stay alert during the day, or stay awake during late nights. Despite its popularity, it has also been the subject of scrutiny and concern when it comes to how it affects the health of those who consume one or more cups daily. In the past, coffee has been accused of causing problems that range from high blood pressure to diabetes. Fortunately for coffee-lovers, more recent research has changed many views on this matter. Studies have shown that coffee beans may actually provide a number of positive health benefits.
Some curious minds wanted to know exactly who was protected. And why? How? These studies showed that in people with Type 2 diabetes coffee intake was correlated with insulin spikes and increased blood sugar after a meal. Further research has shown that the caffeine in coffee might be the culprit responsible for the secretion of higher levels of insulin from the pancreas.
If you are already a coffee drinker, it should be reassuring that after decades of research, no strong link can be found between coffee intake and cancer and, to the contrary, a number of health benefits seem to accompany coffee consumption. But, I’m not sure the evidence is powerful enough to recommend an increase in your daily habit. One reason is that we don’t know for sure that coffee consumption actually caused the health benefits observed in these studies. Some other, unmeasured factor could be responsible. Another reason is that the overall effect was small. And, it’s worth noting that some people are quite sensitive to the side effects of coffee.
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.
It’s true: In addition to lowering the risk of liver cancer, coffee consumption has been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrated an inverse correlation between increased coffee consumption and a decreased risk of cirrhosis — a 20-percent reduction for each cup consumed (up to four cups).
Your daily cup of coffee may be doing more for you than providing that early-morning pick-me-up. The health impact of coffee has long been a controversial topic, with advocates touting its antioxidant activity and brain-boosting ability, and detractors detailing downsides such as insomnia, indigestion and an increased heart rate and blood pressure. But the latest wave of scientific evidence brings a wealth of good news for coffee lovers. Here are 10 reasons drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought.
This trick may seem obvious, but you would be shocked to learn just how many popular versions of coffee are loaded with artificial sweeteners and refined sugar. For example, a chai tea latte (found at a popular coffee store that shall not be named) has 15 more grams of sugar than a Snickers bar does! Even less obvious versions of sweetened coffee may be packed with artificial sweeteners or extra sugar. A salted caramel mocha (again, found at an unnamed coffee chain) hits your bloodstream with a whopping 56 grams (!) of sugar.
Research has shown that although caffeine is a diuretic (meaning it triggers fluid loss), your body can adjust to a consistent intake of caffeine, which negates the dehydrating effect. However, many people who start the day with coffee find that they don’t drink enough plain water by the end of the day. If you’re one of them, try downing at least one cup or eight ounces of H2O (plain or infused) when you wake up. And aim for a target of four 16-ounce servings of water throughout the day to stay well-hydrated.
In fact, according to a 2005 study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the human diet—yes, even over wine and tea. Aside from the caffeine giving you an early-morning energy buzz, those high levels of antioxidants can help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals, as well as fight off disease. If you’re a big coffee lover, make sure to check The 15 Best Coffee Makers On The Planet.
In a research, a few individuals received a dose of 150 milligrams of caffeine each, about as much consisted of a cup of coffee. The researchers noticed a significant surge in their brain activity. The researchers, also, noted that the reaction times, as well as memory skills of the caffeinated individual improved dramatically compared to the control group that received an ordinary placebo. To be specific, they didn’t indicate any increase whatsoever as far as brain activity is concerned.
Studies have shown that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against a liver disease called cirrhosis. If you have never heard of cirrhosis before, it a condition where your liver tissue is damaged and replaced with scar tissue. It can develop several ways like from infections, obesity, and other conditions, but especially from drinking too much alcohol. Drinking coffee on a regular basis has been shown to be a natural detox to help protect against the onset of cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis. (8)
To support this argument, consider this. A recent in-depth research done in Turkey last year revealed an inverse relationship between consumption of coffee and blood levels of all liver enzymes. Conventionally, increased levels of liver enzymes reflect damage and inflammation to the liver. Simply, the more coffee drank, the lesser their enzyme levels.
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I also occasionally like to add a teaspoon of organic cocoa powder (non-sweetened) to my coffee to make my own sort of mocha coffee (but without the loads of sugar in a typical mocha you'd get at the coffee shop, so just use a little stevia to sweeten). The added cocoa powder also gives you great taste and a good dose of extra healthy antioxidants (and cocoa is also known for helping to lower blood pressure!)
When a group of volunteers received a dose of 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, about as much contained in a single cup of coffee, Austrian researchers found a surge in the volunteers’ brain activity, measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI), as they performed a memory task. The researchers noted that the memory skills and reaction times of the caffeinated volunteers were also improved when compared to the control group who received a placebo and showed no increase in brain activity.
Over the past decade, studies have found a link between coffee consumption and a lower risk of dementia. It’s thought that the drink’s high caffeine content might be responsible for the brain-boosting benefits. One small study of subjects who showed signs of memory problems found that, over a 2- to 4-year period, people with lower blood levels of caffeine were more likely to develop dementia than those with higher levels. (Want to brew up a tastier cup of joe? Consider trying some of these six ways to flavor your coffee without added sugar.)
A good chunk of health and nutrition experts from around the world subscribe to the idea that there is an association between taking coffee and a decreased risk of diabetes. And this mostly because it has been recently proven that the danger of suffering from diabetes drops by 7 % for every cup of coffee downed. Also, epidemiological studies indicated that heavy coffee users have a 50% reduced risk of suffering from diabetes compared to light drinkers or even non-drinkers.
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.
So, you’re running late for work and you manage to guzzle down a cuppa before heading into your first a.m. meeting. Fast forward to mid-day and your stomach is growling and you realize that—whoops!—you completely forgot to eat breakfast and now it’s past lunchtime. Though drinking coffee is healthy, Adina Pearson, RD, says that because coffee can suppress your appetite and is a stimulant, some people use it as a meal replacement. “Coffee’s stimulant properties may mask the fact you’re undereating, but it’s only temporary. Good self-care means eating enough—not just being buzzed. You can’t run on caffeine you need food—carbs, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, and fiber—for overall health.” Here are 7 signs you’re drinking too much caffeine.
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The fat in coconut milk is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs)—one in particular is called lauric acid, which your body converts into an antiviral and antibacterial compound that destroys a variety of disease-causing organisms. Aside from boosting your immunity, the MCFAs in coconut milk are rapidly metabolized in your body, which means they’re less likely to be stored as fat. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamins C, E and B, antioxidants, magnesium and iron—all of which work toward promoting healthy bones, teeth, brain, kidneys, and heart health.
You probably think of coffee as a pick-me-up. But its effects don’t kick in for about 30 minutes. That means if you enjoy a cup of coffee just before taking a 20-30 minute nap, you may wake up feeling extra-energized. Just be sure you don't try this hack too late in the afternoon; it's best to stop consuming caffeine six hours before you hit the hay.