The health benefits of coffee are still being discovered. Every day there seems to be new breakthroughs announcing that coffee can actually prolong your life and reduce your chance of picking up various diseases. We examine a few of these claims that are backed by science.
Health Benefits of Coffee
1. Coffee Can Improve Physical Performance
Caffeine can improve physical performance by reducing fatigue, increasing the release of norepinephrine (a type of adrenaline) in the blood and improving metabolism to help your body release energy into your system easier and faster. Coffee can also help with the muscle pain sometimes experienced after exercise (for up to 3 days after a workout). One of the proteins in coffee essentially works in a similar way to morphine, numbing the pain.
2. Coffee Provides Antioxidants
Antioxidants limit free radicals in your body which are associated with cell degeneration and disease. Increasing antioxidants in your body helps reduce free radicals and with that, your chance of contracting diseases. Coffee provides even more antioxidants than fruit!
3. Coffee Is a Fat Burner
Drinking coffee can help your body burn excess fat by increasing your metabolic rate. A faster metabolism means that you burn fat faster. Coffee can increase your metabolism by up to 11%. It also converts fat to energy and helps release fats in to the blood stream as available energy.
4. Coffee Gives You Energy
This is one of the main reasons people drink coffee. Regular coffee contains caffeine, which helps to release norepinephrine and makes you more alert and can also improve your mental performance.
5. Coffee Improves Your Circulation
On the one hand, coffee reduces circulation to the brain, kick-starting the release of norepinephrine to make you more alert, but on the other hand, coffee can improve blood flow to the rest of the body. Coffee can improve your blood flow by up to 30% for up to 75 minutes after drinking it.
6. Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
One of the health benefits of coffee is that it improves cognitive performance. The same reaction that increases your alertness and memory can also decrease your risk of developing diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. The caffeine in coffee can have a positive effect on tau protein deposits, which are linked to brain cell degeneration. Coffee also improves your memory, improving recall as well as absorption of new memories.
7. Coffee Helps Protect Your Liver
Some of the ingredients in coffee have been found to assist in reducing the risk of cirrhosis due to damage from drinking alcohol. While coffee does not really sober you up, it will help protect your liver from some of the ravages of a night on the town. Coffee seems to be able to protect against nonalcoholic cirrhosis as well. This appears to only work with coffee and not all caffeinated drinks, so it is probably linked to something other than caffeine.
8. Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
People who drink coffee daily have a 30% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. If you also avoid alcohol and nicotine, your risk is reduced by up to 60%. The research is still continuing, but this also seems to be related to the caffeine in coffee, as opposed to other nutrients.
9. Coffee Helps Your Teeth
Black coffee (no sugar) can protect your teeth by destroying streptococcus mutans, which causes dental cavities if they grow unchecked in your mouth. Coffee can reduce these germs by up to 40%, reducing your chance of developing cavities due to this bacteria. Adding in additives such as syrup and sugars negates this effect though, so stick to the pure stuff.
10. Coffee Reduces Cancer Risk
Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of breast, prostrate, liver, bladder, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer, as well as leukemia. Coffee can also reduce the risk of contracting endometrial cancer, as well as brain tumors. These are some of the major studies done to date, but coffee may offer benefits in reducing the risk of quite a number of other cancers as well.
11. Coffee Helps You Live Longer
Yes, coffee can help you live longer by reducing the risk of getting some of the diseases that normally shorten your lifespan or reduce your quality of life. Coffee (no sugar added) can help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gout, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
The health benefits of coffee are numerous if you drink it in moderation and don’t add (or at least limit) sweeteners or syrups. Adding in sugar actually negates most of the benefits to be obtained from coffee. Drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day is generally considered safe for most people. So enjoy up to a few cups daily. It actually may help you to live a longer and healthier life!