One of the most recognizable scents is that of coffee. However, not only does it smell good, studies show that it has many health benefits for those consuming it. In fact, it is estimated that up to 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year!
If you enjoy drinking coffee, there is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines include coffee consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle! Although caffeine appears to produce some of the protective effects found in coffee, coffee also contains many other natural substances including antioxidants and anti-cancer causing agents. Altogether, these substances create a beverage with many health benefits.
What is a safe amount to drink?
Up to 400 mg/day, or up to four or five 8-oz cups of coffee, seems to be safe for most adults. Consumption of more than this is likely to result in increased risk for sleeping problems, anxiety, nervousness, and feeling restless. Just remember, however, that not everyone is the same, and genetics, body weight, and metabolism are a few factors that affect how well you tolerate the effects of caffeine.
Fortunately, decaffeinated coffee also offers many health benefits.
Therefore, next time you are enjoying a cup of coffee, consider some of the following benefits that you are receiving.
1. Coffee helps fight disease and can help you live longer
Coffee may help protect your brain cells from damage that results in Parkinson’s Disease. The protective effects are better for men, and less in women. It is believed that this is related to the higher levels of estrogen found in women.
The consumption of coffee has also been linked to reductions in cognitive decline and enhancement of memory, while reducing the risk of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
The antioxidants in coffee have also been found to help prevent liver disease and liver cancer, and other forms of cancer such as that of the colon and breast.
In addition, deaths related to stroke and heart disease appear to be reduced in coffee drinkers. In 2016, it was announced by University of San Francisco researchers that caffeinated beverages do not appear to cause heart rhythm irregularities, and heart palpitations when drinking it in moderation.
2. Coffee gives the brain a boost
Caffeinated coffee keeps you alert when you may otherwise feel drowsy. Try drinking a cup before an exam or if you have a long drive to sharpen your memory and to stay alert. Just remember not to drink more than the recommended amount, or more than the amount of caffeine that you can personally tolerate.
3. Coffee helps you lose weight and prevent weight gain
Some studies have indicated that caffeine consumption can speed up metabolism and the fat-burning process, which also helps lower the risk of obesity.
Others find that drinking coffee gives them the feeling of fullness, so their appetite is suppressed.
It is also one of the lowest calorie drinks you can choose, as long as you do not pile in the sugar and high-calorie cream.
4. Coffee lowers the risk of diabetes
Researchers believe this is due to the antioxidants in coffee, which help prevent damage to the body’s cells. In addition, coffee contains chromium and magnesium, which are needed to allow the body to use insulin to control the body’s blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that the more coffee you drink (within reason) correlates with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A 2014 Harvard study showed that simply increasing coffee intake by more than one cup every day, resulted in a 11% decline in risk for developing diabetes. In contrast, those who reduced the amount of coffee they were drinking by more than one cup per day, increased their risk of diabetes by 17%! In fact, the more coffee consumed, the lower your risks of developing diabetes. While these are amazing results, you should consult with your doctor before increasing your coffee consumption, and always consume caffeine in moderation.
5. Coffee may help with depression and decrease risk of suicide
This benefit relates to caffeinated coffee. It is believed that caffeine acts as a mild antidepressant by increasing the production of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters in the brain.
In addition, those who drink two to four cups of caffeinated coffee every day, were at 50% lower risk of suicide compared to those who drink decaffeinated coffee or no coffee.
Interestingly enough, the same benefits are not found in other caffeinated beverages, such as colas whose consumers are linked to a higher risk for depression. Since studies show that black coffee has the highest benefits, perhaps it is the high sugar content in cola that places its consumers at such a high risk for depression.
6. It might be good for your liver
Studies suggest that coffee helps the liver regulate itself, and provides it with protective effects. In fact, a study published in 2016 shows that regularly drinking coffee reduces damage to your liver that occurs due to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Cirrhosis of the liver was found to be reduced by 44%. As previously mentioned above, coffee has been linked to a lower risk of liver cancer, which is the second-leading cause from cancer deaths throughout the world.
With its brain and metabolism-moosting power, as well as its disease and disorder-fighting properties, coffee may be just the beverage of choice with which you start your day. When you say you need your morning coffee, you now have a whole new, and beneficial, set of reasons to place behind that statement.
Remember if you suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety, have an overactive thyroid, or have adrenal gland insufficiency you may want to check with your doctor before drinking coffee or changing your coffee consumption habits. In addition, if you have trouble sleeping it’s best to avoid caffeine at least 4 hours before bedtime.