The Wonderful Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee. It is the lifeblood of million of people worldwide who cannot begin their day without it. Coffee makes people feel more energized, prompting improved work performance and less dangerous sleepy morning commuting. Yet, coffee has other properties that make it a good choice for overall physical health.
Coffee has been linked to benefits including better mood, increase in attention and alertness and decreases in tiredness or fatigue (1). These improvements in functioning are no surprise to coffee drinkers the world over, and are often related to caffeine. Coffee drinkers enjoy these benefits due to caffeine’s ability to bind to brain receptors and inhibit Andosine, a chemical in the brain that has an inhibitory effect on the central nervous system (2).
As if the public needed more reason to engage in their coffee rituals, coffee has been suggested to benefit numerous serious physical ailments. Coffee has been reported to decrease risk of Type II Diabetes, regardless of the caffeine content (3). This means that despite the jolt of energy felt when consuming coffee, the diabetes benefits have little to do with the caffeine itself, which is great news for those who are sensitive to stimulants.
While further studies are ongoing, the magnesium and chromium contained in coffee may be the culprits, helping the body to use insulin more effectively. Coffee also contains small amounts of potassium, niacin and choline as well as the antioxidant chlorogenic acid which decreases the effects of free radicals.
Regular coffee consumption through the mid life years can reduce the risk for dementia in later life (4). Those with Parkinson’s disease may also benefit through reduced risk and by showing a reduction in tremors and motor issues related to the disease itself (5).
Liver cancer and cirrhosis present twenty percent less frequently in individuals who consume coffee. This protection seems to increase as consumption increases, topping out at eighty percent risk reduction for those who consume four or more cups per day (6).
As if that is not enough, one cup of coffee daily has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by up to twenty percent (7). That means your daily cup of joe may have protective properties for your heart.
Regardless of your personal coffee preference, latte, expresso, black or flavored, it is an added bonus to know that your daily coffee ritual can have protective benefits for your health for years to come.
1. Ruxton, C. H. S. (2008), The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutrition Bulletin, 33: 15–25. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00665.x
2. Fredholm, B. B. (1995), Adenosine, Adenosine Receptors and the Actions of Caffeine. Pharmacology & Toxicology, 76: 93–101. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0773.1995.tb00111.x
3. Van Dam RM, Hu FB (2005) Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. JAMA 294: 97–104.
4. Eskelinen MH (2009), Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(1):85-91. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-0920.
5. Postuma RB, et al “Caffeine for treatment of Parkinson disease. A randomized controlled trial” Neurology 2012; 79: 651-658.
6. Klatsky AL, Morton C, Udaltsova N, et al. Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(11):1190–1195.
7. Yoshihiro, Kokubo (2013) The Impact of Green Tea and Coffee Consumption on the Reduced Risk of Stroke Incidence in Japanese Population. Stroke, doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.677500