Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world, with billions of cups consumed daily. Brewed from ground coffee beans, it is a drink that is enjoyed by nearly half of adults in the United States as a way to wake up in the mornings, stay alert during the day, or stay awake during late nights. Despite its popularity, it has also been the subject of scrutiny and concern when it comes to how it affects the health of those who consume one or more cups daily. In the past, coffee has been accused of causing problems that range from high blood pressure to diabetes. Fortunately for coffee-lovers, more recent research has changed many views on this matter. Studies have shown that coffee beans may actually provide a number of positive health benefits.
Other than that, antioxidants play a significant role in neutralising free radicals that naturally occur as a part of daily metabolic functions. However, the radicals in question are those that can cause oxidative stress and not the useful type. In other words, the antioxidants in a steaming cup of coffee can go a long way in keeping you healthy at a micro-level. And they do so by protecting your cells from any possible external physical damage.
Anybody who’s serious about health knows the importance of a healthy cardiovascular system. What you may not know is by simply drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day, you could significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease-related death. According to a Japanese study of more than 76,000 participants, men who hit this sweet spot (1-2 cups per day) consuming one to two cups of coffee daily reduced their risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease by as much as 38%. Of course, this still doesn’t excuse you from doing actual cardio. (And if you really hate it that much, check out 8 cardio workouts for the guy who hates cardio.)
Independent studies on the coffee consumption patterns of men and women suggest that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing gout. Researchers in the Nurses’ Health Study analyzed the health habits of nearly 90,000 female nurses over a period of 26 years and found a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a decreased risk for gout. The benefit was associated with both regular and decaf consumption: women who drank more than four cups of regular coffee daily had a 57 percent decreased risk of gout; gout risk decreased 22 percent in women who drank between one and three cups daily; and one cup of decaf per day was associated with a 23 percent reduced risk of gout when compared to the women who didn’t drink coffee at all. Similar findings have been documented for men: another large-scale study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, found that men who drank four to five cups of coffee per day decreased their risk of gout by 40 percent, and that those who consumed six cups or more lowered gout risk by 60 percent.
Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.
It’s not water, so if you’re going overboard, it’s going to mess with your digestion and potentially your sleep, which could have major consequences. Research shows drinking up to four eight-ounce cups per day is okay—that likely equals two cups, depending on the size you’re ordering. And it can stay in your system for a very long time, so if you’re having issues getting to sleep, stick to drinking coffee in the AM.
So, you’re running late for work and you manage to guzzle down a cuppa before heading into your first a.m. meeting. Fast forward to mid-day and your stomach is growling and you realize that—whoops!—you completely forgot to eat breakfast and now it’s past lunchtime. Though drinking coffee is healthy, Adina Pearson, RD, says that because coffee can suppress your appetite and is a stimulant, some people use it as a meal replacement. “Coffee’s stimulant properties may mask the fact you’re undereating, but it’s only temporary. Good self-care means eating enough—not just being buzzed. You can’t run on caffeine you need food—carbs, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, and fiber—for overall health.” Here are 7 signs you’re drinking too much caffeine.
What I do instead is use either a very small touch of organic maple syrup or a half packet of natural stevia to just lightly sweeten my coffee. I've also become a big fan of coconut sugar recently, and this is healthier than plain sugar because it does contain some minerals and other nutrients, and has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. On the other hand, if you like your coffee black with no sweetener at all, that's the healthiest way.
Other studies have tried to pinpoint exactly what in caffeine is helping to halt the onset of these diseases. A 2014 study (14) found that caffeine blocks various tau receptors (a protein that contributes to brain cell degeneration). Another study found that caffeinated coffee increased GCSF (15) - a substance greatly decreased in Alzheimer’s patients - levels in the bloodstream.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that caffeine is dehydrating, one of the primary reasons why fitness experts recommend nixing coffee pre- and post-workout. However, recent research suggests that moderate caffeine consumption — up to about 500 mg, or about five cups per day — doesn’t dehydrate exercisers enough to interfere with their workout. In addition, coffee helps battle fatigue, enabling you to exercise longer.
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found drinking coffee might be able to help you lose weight thanks to caffeine’s ability to increase thermogenesis, fat oxidation, and lipolysis. But more research still needs to be done, so don’t count as your Starbuck runs as a way to drop the pounds. Especially if you’re drinking something that’s not simple, black coffee.
How it works: Scientists believe that coffee may be beneficial in keeping diabetes at bay in several ways: (1) by helping the body use insulin and protecting insulin-producing cells, enabling effective regulation of blood sugar; (2) preventing tissue damage; and (3) and battling inflammation, a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. One component of coffee known as caffeic acid has been found to be particularly significant in reducing the toxic accumulation of abnormal protein deposits (amyloid fibrils) found in people with type 2 diabetes. Decaffeinated coffee is thought to be as beneficial, or more so, than regular.
Already think the benefits of coffee are endless? Well they pretty much are: It can even strengthen your DNA. A small 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found drinking coffee regularly significantly reduced the oxidative damage in the body’s white blood cells, which can hurt your DNA. Instead, the coffee—dark roast, in this case!—helped keep the DNA strong.
If you’ve hurt your liver from years of drinking, coffee could be the superhero you’ve been hoping for. In a 2016 review published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers found drinking two cups of coffee a day had a 44 percent lower risk of ending up with liver cirrhosis. For more on healthy eating, here are a 20 Amazing Healing Foods.