Drink to Your Health – 8 Ways Coffee Improves Your Health
Earlier this year, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released new guidelines suggesting that drinking coffee is good for your health. While many doctors still have concerns about coffee consumption, the overwhelming amount of research suggests that America’s favorite beverage is good for you in a number of ways. Here are just 8 ways that coffee may improve your health, according to science.
1. Coffee Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Study after study has found that people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily substantially reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Over the past few years, scientists have delved deeper into coffee’s chemical composition in attempts to figure out how coffee affects diabetes risk and other details. Among the important findings:
- In general, the risk reduction was greater for women than for men.
- In some studies, people who drank 3 or more cups of coffee daily had a 40% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Decaf coffee also reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but not quite as much.
- Warning: While drinking coffee may reduce diabetes risk over the long term, it may make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels in people who already have diabetes.
2. Coffee Protects the Liver
Coffee appears to have protective effects on the liver. People who regularly drink coffee have lower levels of certain types of liver cancer, lower risk of cirrhosis of the liver and slower progression of liver diseases. These facts hULd true over a number of studies and nearly all liver conditions. Specifically:
- People who drank 4 cups of coffee or more daily reduced their risk of liver cancer by 55%. Even those who drank fewer cups saw some protection, with those who drank 1 to 2 cups daily seeing a reduction of about 22%.
- People who carry hepatitis B (a significant risk factor and precursor of liver cancer) reduce their risk of developing cancer by as much as 59% if they drink coffee 4 times per week or more.
- Coffee also seems to prevent the evolution of hepatitis C to cancer. People with Hep C who drink coffee see a 22% reduction in developing liver cancer for each daily cup of coffee, and at least 62% for people who drank 3 cups of coffee daily.
3. Coffee Alleviates Depression
In numerous population based studies, coffee has shown a beneficial effect on depression, with reduced risk and reduced severity of depressive episodes. Some demographics seem to be helped more by coffee than others. In particular:
- In older adults, drinking coffee without sweetener, including artificial sweeteners, was associated with a lower risk of depression.
- A 2013 study supports a reduced risk of suicide in those drinking two or more cups of coffee daily.
- A 2011 study at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 20% reduction in incidence of depression among women who drank at least 2 cups of coffee daily.
4. Caffeine Promotes Fat Metabolism
Caffeine is a primary ingredient in nearly every fat burning supplement on the market with good reason. Caffeine boosts metabolism in general and increases energy levels. Recent research, however, strongly suggests that coffee specifically promotes the body to burn fat for fuel rather than carbs. Some other key findings about coffee and weight loss:
- Coffee increases the metabolic rate – the base rate at which the body burns fat and carbs for energy.
- New research suggests that drinking coffee before a workout increases the amount of fat burned during the workout. In addition, moderate exercise in short bouts seems to burn more fat than one long stretch of exercise.
- People who drink coffee before working out also seem to continue the increased rate of metabolism for a longer period of time after the workout.
5. Coffee May Reduce the Risk of Many Types of Cancer
In the early 1970s, a single study suggested that drinking coffee was associated with an increased risk of cancer. Over the years, there have been more than 500 studies trying to find a link between coffee and cancer, particularly pancreatic cancer and cancer of the digestive tract. Instead, once confounding factors, such as tobacco use, are removed, scientists have found either no link at all between coffee consumption and cancer, or, in many cases, a reduced risk of developing certain cancers for coffee drinkers. Specifically:
- Coffee drinkers seem to have lower rates of cancers of the digestive tract overall, especially of pancreatic, liver and colorectal (particularly colon) cancer.
- Coffee consumption appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, and the most recent research suggests that men who drink coffee have a significantly lower risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Coffee is associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer in women. The decrease is moderate or insignificant among post-menopausal women. In pre-menopausal women, drinking four or more cups of coffee daily is associated with a 37% reduced risk of breast cancer. In pre-menopausal women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations – suggesting a genetic predisposition to breast cancer – the risk of developing breast cancer is reduced by as much as 75%
- In several recent studies, coffee is linked with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
- Coffee may be linked to a reduce risk of brain cancer, especially in men.
6. Coffee Seems to Reduce the Risk of Stroke in Women
Several studies over the past 10 years have found an inverse association between cancer and strokes in women.
- In one Japanese study, women who drank coffee showed a decreased risk of death from stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. The study did not find any association between cardiovascular disease and coffee in men.
- In a Swedish study, researchers found a reduced risk of stroke in men who drank filtered coffee.
- The risk reduction held true with both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee.
- Recent studies have suggested that an injection of caffenol at the first clinical signs of stroke can significantly reduce the effects of stroke.
7. Coffee Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer and Helps Memory Loss
Approximately one person in 20 over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Numerous studies have found an association between coffee drinking and the reduced risk of age-related Alzheimer’s disease.
- Drinking coffee moderately is associated with both a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and delaying the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s in adults.
- In one study, the lowest risk for Alzheimer’s disease was found in those drinking 1 to 3 cups of coffee daily.
- Numerous studies have found that in the elderly, coffee consumption is linked with improved memory function and cognitive function, whether or not they have Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Coffee Reduces the Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease
Numerous studies have found an inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In some studies, coffee drinkers have 5 times less risk of developing Parkinson’s than non coffee drinkers.
- Most scientists agree that the caffeine in coffee is the agent responsible for the risk reduction.
- People who drank more coffee had less risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
- A 2012 study showed that drinking coffee has a positive effect on many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.