Cardamom has been dubbed the “queen of spices”—and it’s not just because of its rich, warm taste. In some ancient medicinal traditions, this powerful spice was used to treat everything from gum infections to tuberculosis. And while we’re not recommending you try to whip up a DIY cardamom cure for either of those, one recent study suggests the spice may have antimicrobial properties so you can fight off pesky bacteria like E. coli. And adding it to your coffee might just improve your social health, since it’s been used as a natural breath freshener and, well, coffee breath is a thing.
When you’ve ordered a latte or a cappuccino at Starbucks, you’ve probably watched as the barista wipes down the steamer before whipping up a new cup. This is meant to fight bacteria, but you may be getting something extra in your drink that you probably don’t want. “What you don’t realize is that sanitizing solution ends up in your frothed milk! It’s not a ton, but it is there—a small amount on that wand for every frothed carafe! So avoiding lattes is a good choice if that concerns you,” Immer says. Or just prepare yours at home to make sure you’re not getting more than you bargained for. This is the healthiest coffee you can drink.
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.
Cinnamon actually comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen called the Cinnamomum tree, and it has one of the highest antioxidant contents of any spice, according to research from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. It’s been known to reduce inflammation, help lower sugar and triglyceride levels in the blood, soothe nausea, and aid in fat burning. The antiviral and antibacterial properties in the spice are also said to boost your immune system (and ward off colds.) It’s also packed with manganese, iron, calcium.
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)
Need a little boost to get you through your HIIT workout? A 2013 study from PLoS One shows that athletes who consumed coffee an hour before exercise had greater performance than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. Plus, a 2015 study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that people who drink coffee before a workout burn more calories after exercise, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This means that even if your spin class is over, your body will continue to burn more calories. We’ll drink to that! ☕
One easy way to keep your heart strong? Drink coffee—just don’t overdo it. A 2012 study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure found drinking one or two cups each day could protect against heart failure, decreasing the risk by 11 percent. Drinking more than five cups, on the other hand, could actually do the opposite, potentially causing your body harm.
Cardamom is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, because it helps neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine, but that’s not the only reason to add the spice to your java. A two-tablespoon serving has just 36 calories, is loaded with fiber, essential minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds; research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found cardamom contains compounds with the potential to kill cancer cells and stunt new cancer cell growth. Cardamom has also been known to improve blood circulation in the body, help control cholesterol, cure dental diseases, and infections like gonorrhea. It’s even been said to cure impotency, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
We know, we can’t believe it is butter in there, either. Buttered (a.k.a. “Bulletproof”) coffee has been making celebs, athletes, and health bloggers alike get friendlier with fats. Why? Some claim this buttery buzz gives them more energy, improves brain function, and aids in weight loss—particularly if these folks are following a ketogenic diet already.
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.
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.
In a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, researchers found caffeine could be a potential hair growth stimulant for men with androgenetic alopecia, a common type of hair loss. In fact, the growth of the hair follicles that were treated with caffeine increased 46 percent and the life cycle of the hair was extended by 37 percent. And once you’re hair is luscious and flowing, here’s the Haircut That Will Shave 10 Years Off Your Age.
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).
Want to add even more antioxidants to your coffee and control your blood sugar? I thought so. How exactly does one do that? It’s simple: just add a pinch of cinnamon to your cup! Interestingly, cinnamon has a fairly long history of use as both a spice and a medicine. While it can be used at any time of year, it no doubt tastes best during the cold, winter months.
If you regularly imbibe (2 to 3 alcoholic drinks per day), drinking more than 2 cups of coffee daily was shown to protect the liver from damaging diseases, like cirrhosis (or alcoholic liver disease). According to a Finish study, jointly conducted by Seinäjoki Central Hospital and the University of Tampere, coffee consumption decreased the liver-damaging enzyme GGT (or gamma-glutamyl transferase) levels by up to 50-percent.
An alarming 11.8% of American men over the age of 20 have diabetes. Needless to say, it’s a growing concern and one receiving a great deal of attention in the medical community. Between 1986 and 1998, Harvard researchers tracked the coffee consumption and occurrence of type-2 diabetes of more than 40,000 men. They discovered that long-term coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes and statistics indicated the risk decreased the more they drank. Just remember to limit your sugar!
Coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world (global demand is high, so methods of growing it often are chemical fertilizer-pesticide-herbicide intensive). This is bad for you (since pesticide residues can end up in your cup) and really bad for the planet. High demand and the fact that it’s generally grown in poorer countries also means labor practices are a major issue. Buy organic and fair-trade if and when you can.
According to the report, coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of melanoma and leukemia, as well as prostate and endometrial cancers. What’s more, a 2017 University of Southern California study found that coffee drinkers were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer than non-coffee drinkers. And those who drank more than 2.5 servings a day were 54 percent less likely to get the cancer.
According to Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, one of the easiest ways to make sure your coffee is brewed in a healthy way is to consider how you’re filtering it. Those reusable filters might be tempting (and sure, provide less waste), but using recyclable paper filters has an added bonus for your nutrition. “Filtering coffee with paper removes two compounds, cafestol and kahweol, that raise both total and LDL cholesterol levels,” she explains. Here’s how coffee can help you learn.
Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1,400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
Historically, it was first recorded as a drink just over 500 years ago, beginning on the Arabian peninsula, but there is a speculation that its use as a stimulating beverage stretches back more than 1,000 years in various ancient and indigenous cultures. Now, it is consumed in nearly every country of the world, and almost daily, even 5-6 times a day. While offices have larger machines, at home people often have single serve coffee makers which work best for the small requirements.
Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.
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.
After the researchers induced myocardial infarction in the mice during their experiments, the extra stores of p27 in the caffeinated cells apparently prevented damaged heart muscle cells from dying. The paper says the mitochondrial p27 also triggered the creation of cells armed with strong fibers to withstand mechanical forces, and promoted repairs to the linings of blood vessels and the inner chambers of the heart. To confirm the protein’s importance, the scientists engineered mice with a p27 deficiency. Those mice were found to have impaired mitochondrial function that did not improve with caffeine.
One UCLA study even famously reversed some symptoms of Alzheimer’s. What was the methodology used? A Paleo diet and lifestyle! Since a typical Paleo diet includes coconut oil, it is wise to add a little bit of this fat to your morning coffee. I personally love the taste of coconut oil in coffee, even though I am typically not a coffee drinker. Yum!
Coffee is not traditionally thought of as anti-carcinogenic, but it has been linked specifically to the prevention of two types of cancer – liver and colorectal cancer, which are the 3rd and 4th deadliest forms of cancer, respectively. It has also shown good results in preventing the occurrence of melanoma in people who consume it regularly. Research says that coffee drinkers have 43% lesser risk of cancer than those who do not drink it.