It’s the first thing that many people reach for in the morning, but can that early cup of coffee be doing more good than just shaking off the tiredness? The science indicates it’s a resounding yes! Not only does coffee keep you alert, but you’re also giving your body a substantial boost. So, just what benefits can that morning brew bring you?
Coffee Reduces the Risk of Certain Cancers
Despite what some think, there is no evidence that coffee contains carcinogens. All the research actually points to the opposite view: coffee can help prevent cancer. Both the high level of polyphenols found in coffee and the caffeine itself can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Coffee also stimulates bile production and lowers estrogen levels, reducing the risk of cancer.
Coffee Can Act As an Anti-Depressant
Depression can be a debilitating illness and one that is very difficult to cure. The causes of depression are not thoroughly understood, although inflammation of brain cells is thought to play a role. The polyphenols in coffee act as antioxidants that reduce the oxidative stress that triggers inflammation. Studies show that even one cup a day improves symptoms, but the more you have, the better protection you get.
Coffee Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Another little-known benefit of coffee consumption is the reduced likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies show that a single cup can reduce your chances by about 8%, increasing to around 30% the more you drink. The benefit is thought to come from magnesium and polyphenols, which help to regulate glucose metabolism.
Coffee Lowers the Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease
Studies show that caffeinated coffee consumption can significantly reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease later in life. The primary cause of Parkinson’s is a low level of dopamine. Coffee helps prevent the disease from developing by protecting the cells in the brain that produce this hormone. However, caffeine is responsible for this protection, so decaffeinated coffee does not provide the same benefits.
While most drink coffee for the energy boost and the delicious taste, it also provides numerous health benefits. The most help comes from drinking a moderate amount, around 3-5 cups a day. However, there do not appear to be many drawbacks to having more if your stomach and sleep pattern can cope with it!
- Coffee: Lowers Risk of Liver and Endometrial Cancers, The American Institute for Cancer Research. aicr.org/cancer-prevention/food-facts/coffee/
- “Sweetened Beverages, Coffee, and Tea and Depression Risk among Older US Adults” by Xuguang Guo, Yikyung Park, Neal D. Freedman, Rashmi Sinha, Albert R. Hollenbeck, Aaron Blair and Honglei Chen, 17 April 2014, PLOS ONE.
- “Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and a Dose-Response Meta-analysis” by Ming Ding, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, Mu Chen, Rob M. van Dam and Frank B. Hu, 11 January 2014, Diabetes Care.
- “Caffeine Exposure and the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies” João Costa, Nuno Lunet, Catarina Santos, João Santos and António Vaz-Carneiro, 14 April 2010, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.