If you are anything like me, you can barely function in the morning if you haven’t had your cup of strong coffee. Perhaps you need more than a few cups to get through the day. As it turns out, that’s more than just okay, it might actually be good for you!
There is a lot of research done on what we consume and how it affects us (thankfully). recent studies have put together evidence collected from over 208,500 participants to show that coffee may actually be excellent for our health. More encouragingly, the health benefits were concentrated in the bioactive compounds of the coffee beans itself. This means that you could still be getting some health benefits from your cup of caffeine-free coffee!
Here is some of what this study, as well as others, have found:
Coffee is a Major Source of Antioxidants
You’ve probably read or heard about antioxidants before. Most studies on wine tend to show that the drink has antioxidants which are good for you. This is also the case with apples. Turns out, there are antioxidants in coffee, too.
In fact, a lot of studies have shown that coffee may actually be our best source of antioxidants.
So what are antioxidants? Well, our bodies are under constant threat from something called ‘free radicals’. These elements are electrons that are unpaired with anything and they can cause some serious damage to your DNA and cells. Antioxidants counter these free radicals by basically pairing up with them and effectively disarming them before they do any damage inside.
Coffee has really high concentrations of these antioxidants, which means it could be excellent to help with issues like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
It helps to avoid premature death
Men and women between the ages of 50 and 71 were gathered for a study on coffee that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The report on more than 400,000 participants established that regular doses of coffee could prevent premature deaths.
Regular coffee consumption, the report claimed, could reduce the risk of dying early by as much as 10% for men and by almost 15% for women. The main researcher behind the study was Dr. Neal D. Freedman, who says there are more than a thousand different compounds in coffee that could be responsible for the effect and that more research was needed to establish what it was that made coffee so effective.
It’s like natural Viagra
Dr. Freedman’s study didn’t analyze the effect of coffee consumption on people’s sex lives, but it did state the coffee was increasing blood flow and relaxing muscles in participants after consumption. Recent studies have taken these findings further and established a connection between coffee consumption and better sexual performance.
It turns out coffee could be an excellent cure for erectile dysfunction in men.
Coffee drinkers are less likely to commit suicide
Studies by the American Academy of Neurology showed that coffee drinkers who regularly consume large quantities of the stuff are less likely to be depressed or commit suicide. This was said to be a significant breakthrough in research since the chemicals in coffee were shown to have reduced suicidal tendencies in men and women by almost 50%
It turns out your favourite best drip coffee maker could actually be making you happier. These astonishing results were found in data collected on more than 43,000 men and more than 165,000 women, who were all enrolled in studies between 1988 and 2008. Over twenty years, the Harvard School Of Public Health collected data and finally published its findings in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.
For men, it was found that men who consumed between two and four cups of coffee a day were less likely to be at risk of suicide than those who did not. The effect of coffee on the central nervous system was already established by the time the study was conducted. The caffeine in coffee was found to have a stimulant effect on the body. But this study established the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain due to coffee consumption. It was found that the drink created serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in the body and these could be the key to explaining the lower risk of depression in coffee drinkers.
The study found that there was no difference in benefits for coffee drinkers who had close to two cups a day and those who had more than four cups a day. A Finnish study actually showed that people drinking more than eight cups a day had an increased risk of committing suicide. So, drink in moderation.
Coffee reduces the risk of heart attacks
A massive study conducted in South Korea claims that drinking between three and five cups of coffee a day could cut the risk of coronary heart disease. This study involved over 25,000 volunteers and their coronary arteries were observed using a CT scan.
Hardening of the arteries can restrict blood supply to the heart, which is often called a heart attack. Calcium deposits in the heart are the very first sign of atherosclerosis.
The chances of getting the condition and clogging arteries were cut up to 19% in people who drank coffee regularly. A number of calcium deposits dropped.
Although the study was peer reviewed and 87% of the participants were men, some experts claim the data is encouraging and more research is needed.
Coffee and cancer risk
Finally, we come to the big one. Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases on the planet right now and many millions of people die from it every year. We’ve already seen the positive effects of drinking coffee on heart disease and there is some evidence to suggest it may also cut the risk of Parkinson’s disease by about 80%. But does it do anything to prevent cancer, too?
One study showed that regular coffee drinkers had lower risks of rectal cancer. The study pointed out that they noticed results in people who had more than two cups a day and the effects were better for decaffeinated coffee drinkers.
Another study showed positive results on liver cancer. The more you drink, this study seemed to suggest, the lower the risk of developing liver cancer.
All in all the results from a broad number of studies are very encouraging and many of the studies have been conducted by reputed institutes, with a lot of participants and over long periods of time. There is, of course, a need for more research and we have not pointed out any of the research suggesting coffee is bad for you, but it seems the drink does have benefits that are worth considering.
Whether coffee is already part of your lifestyle or not, knowing this information may help you make healthier choices the next time you are out at a Starbucks. Just be sure to go for the black coffee, with artificial sweetener and low-fat milk to avoid the extra calories.