It turns out that coffee may not be as bad as some folks want us to believe. Still on the fence? Read on and find out for yourself why coffee might very well be awesome.
First, let’s start with the numbers. There are currently more than 150 million Americans who can’t go a day without a cup of cappuccino, espresso, latte or iced coffee, with the average person drinking an estimated 1.6 cups per day. Yikes! That amounts to a remarkable 400 million cups in the US alone and, well, upwards of $30 million worth of sales per day.
Quite a notable statistic there, but are we killing ourselves slowly? While some would argue that consuming a high level of caffeine on a daily basis, other studies show that coffee might actually help more than it hurts.
Below is a rundown of why coffee may actually be good for your health.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a dietician. The opinions expressed in this article are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Please consult the appropriate medical or health professional before making any changes to your diet, health, or lifestyle.
1. Coffee might be good for your liver
More than one study has come out in acclaim of coffee as a preventive remedy for liver complications in humans. And that includes cirrhosis and other conditions brought about by alcohol consumption. Filtered coffee, especially, is believed to suppress the increase in liver enzymes by preventing causal substances such as cafestol and kahweol from reaching the vital organ.
That said, espresso remains a major cause of concern as it can worsen a case of fatty liver disease.
2. Coffee is a mood booster
You know the Monday morning feeling when you find yourself mulling over whether to go to work or fake your own death? A cup of coffee can come in handy then, according to researchers. Caffeine has been shown to trigger the production of dopamine in the brain and instantly make you cheery.
One report found that women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to become depressed while another showed that regular coffee drinkers were unlikely to ever think of committing suicide.
3. Coffee may be more heart friendly than you think
Anything that is bad for your heart should be an outright no-no, and as luck would have it, coffee actually serves the opposite. More than one cup of coffee per day, according to one Harvard University study, could help keep heart failure at bay. Other studies have asserted that daily intake of coffee can reduce the risk cardiovascular disease and stroke, but apparently, more in women than men.
4. Can coffee help control diabetes?
Coffee and type 2 diabetes cannot subsist in the same body, according to some studies. Conforming to them, the Harvard Medical School puts this down to the presence of sugar-regulating ingredients in coffee. It has however been quick to dissociate caffeine with this effect as decaffeinated coffee has been shown to be stronger. In a nutshell, the ingredient is not known but the fact remains it is in there and it may ward off diabetes.
5. Coffee may reduce the risk of cancer
For those who dread the prospect of developing a liver complication more than anything, here’s another reason to make coffee your ultimate dietary partner. Coffee reduces the risk of liver cancer by more than 50 percent, according to a number of studies. If you’re a man especially, coffee trims down the expression of genes that lead to liver tissue and cell inflammation. More than one study counterintuitively links the aforementioned “unhealthy” substances cafestol and kehweol with anti-cancer properties.
What’s more, coffee has been linked with reduced risk of rectal, colon and breast cancers too.
6. Coffee might prevent gallstones
While science has not been able to show the relationship between coffee and gallstones, a study in Italy actually asserts there is. People who regularly drank coffee and/or wine, whole wheat bread and fish were less likely to develop the painful gallbladder condition.
7. Coffee may alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms
One of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is the uncontrollable movements it causes in its victims, a problem that coffee has been shown to significantly trim down. Separate reports have actually averred that a high intake of coffee can completely prevent the condition from developing altogether. A relationship is yet to be established and the active ingredient found, but according to Harvard Medical School, coffee sure does combat Parkinson’s disease and the benefits, for that matter, may be limited to men.
8. Does coffee make you live longer?
If you asked me to choose between not drinking coffee and living longer, I would choose life any day. For those who can’t get enough of the air, a study that focused on lifestyle habits such as dietary and fitness regimens has found out a new source of a few extra days: coffee. According to the study, people who drank at least one cup of coffee each day, reduced their risk of dying from lifestyle diseases over the span of 10 years. It’s basically a win-win situation for coffee lovers.
9. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants
While fruits and veggies are conventionally the unparalleled source of antioxidants, researchers from a 2005 study think otherwise. Coffee, according to their study, is a better source of antioxidants not exactly because it has more of the all-important compound but because the body happens to take up the most from coffee.
10. Coffee makes you a better athlete
Several reports, some of them in the New York Times, affirm that athletes can marginally improve their performance by taking a cup of coffee before a training session or a game. That is especially true for endurance sports such as rugby, football, cycling and running. The active ingredient in this case is caffeine, which increases the amount of fatty acids in the body expanding the sources of fuel by burning those fatty acids. It should however be noted that caffeine only acts as a short term energy booster and its significance in the long run is the reservation of carbohydrate stockpiles for later.
So, as you can see, there are a number of reasons why you might actually benefit from drinking coffee in moderation. That said, caffeine can have some negative repercussions if overdone. And, yes, drinking too much coffee is possible and easy. Studies have shown that taking in excess of 400 milligrams of coffee per day can cause lack of sleep and make you uneasy. The ultimate consequence of this is poor perception, judgment, performance, and productivity and a general state of poor health.
While taking heed of these consequences, drinking a few cups of coffee a day might not be so bad after all.