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.
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages for a reason: It not only tastes good and gives you a serious jolt of energy, but it also has plenty of amazing, body-boosting benefits. Which, in all honestly, is a major bonus considering the fact that most people are simply pleased to have something to help them get through their morning meetings.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a type of disease that causes problems with your memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to eventually interfere with daily tasks. If you’ve ever know somebody with AD or dementia, you know how devastating this condition can be, not just on the sufferer but to those around them as well.
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master's degree in science journalism from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His work covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is probably playing a game at this very moment.
Other studies have tried to tease apart which ingredients in coffee contribute to its health benefits. Those might include its antioxidants, which can combat cancer, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart conditions and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, as well as the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer.
If you like your coffee on the sweeter side, swap out those artificial vanilla and hazelnut creamers and syrups for a naturally tropical taste by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil. And while coconut oil might not be the “cure-all” it’s made out to be, adding it to your coffee may have a few health benefits, from contributing to weight loss to possibly preventing Alzheimer’s disease. While these health claims are still under investigation, we think it's worth adding it to your coffee for the flavor alone. The creaminess is crazy.
Studies on coffee consumption patterns of both genders indicate that regular coffee drinking lowers the danger of developing gout. Another separate study analysed the health behaviours of almost 90,000 female nurses across 26 years. Far from what most of them expected, a positive correlation between decreased threat for gout and long-term coffee consumption was noted.
Historically, it was first recorded as a drink just over 500 years ago, beginning on the Arabian peninsula, but there is a speculation that its use as a stimulating beverage stretches back more than 1,000 years in various ancient and indigenous cultures. Now, it is consumed in nearly every country of the world, and almost daily, even 5-6 times a day. While offices have larger machines, at home people often have single serve coffee makers which work best for the small requirements.
Malignant melanomas are the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer and one of the most common cancer types in the United States. Studies have found that there is potentially as much as a 20 percent lower risk when a person drinks a minimum of four cups of coffee daily. The type of coffee matters here, as the study showed that decaffeinated coffee was not as effective. Studies on non-melanoma cancer and coffee have shown that people were 17 percent less likely to develop the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, if they drank three or more cups of coffee daily.
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.
Coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods in the world (global demand is high, so methods of growing it often are chemical fertilizer-pesticide-herbicide intensive). This is bad for you (since pesticide residues can end up in your cup) and really bad for the planet. High demand and the fact that it’s generally grown in poorer countries also means labor practices are a major issue. Buy organic and fair-trade if and when you can.
"My guess is that they're working together to have some of these benefits," Harvard researcher Walter Willett, who authored a similar study that found a link between coffee consumption and lower risk of early death, told NPR in 2015. “The coffee bean itself is loaded with many different nutrients and phyto-chemicals,” many of which aid in insulin resistance and inflammation reduction.
If drinking a cup or two of coffee tends to make you feel good mentally, there’s a reason for that: A 2013 study published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry found drinking coffee actually acts as a mild antidepressant by boosting feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. After examining 44,000 men and 74,000 women, they found a few cups of brew reduced the risk of suicide by 50 percent.
Coffee is 99% water. While this may seem obvious, we often don’t take into account the quality of that water when brewing a morning cup. Start with the highest quality ingredients, and you will ensure that best coffee possible. This goes for the beans, too. Always opt for organic, and spend the extra dollars if you have to. Coffee is the most heavily sprayed crop in the world, pesticide-wise, so you really don’t want to go with beans of dubious quality.
Here's what you should know: Collagen is the protein-rich connective material between tissue and bones (so, yup, veg-heads, you’ll have to sit this one out). It comes in a powder form, so you can stir it into pretty much anything to get a major protein boost that will help you kick-start your day. There’s also some preliminary evidence it can help keep your skin hydrated, improve alcohol-induced liver damage, and support joint health. Look for a brand that doesn't change the flavor, like Further Food Collagen Peptides, so you aren't scrunching up your nose at every sip.
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If you love the taste of coffee creamers, but don’t love all the processed sugar and added fat, try vanilla extract or vanilla bean for a hit of flavor. Add a few drops of pure extract to your pot of coffee or add a vanilla bean to your coffee grounds so the flavor infuses before you brew. (Note: The longer you keep the vanilla bean in your grounds, the stronger the flavor will be.)
More recent research has shown the opposite. Drinking coffee is now associated with a lower risk of diabetes, stroke, and cognitive issues like depression. One reason may be that coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, and researchers now think it’s particularly good at reducing inflammation. One recent study showed older people who consumed more caffeine showed much lower levels of inflammation than those who didn’t. Another recent large study of over 200,000 people found coffee drinkers may live longer.
When you’ve ordered a latte or a cappuccino at Starbucks, you’ve probably watched as the barista wipes down the steamer before whipping up a new cup. This is meant to fight bacteria, but you may be getting something extra in your drink that you probably don’t want. “What you don’t realize is that sanitizing solution ends up in your frothed milk! It’s not a ton, but it is there—a small amount on that wand for every frothed carafe! So avoiding lattes is a good choice if that concerns you,” Immer says. Or just prepare yours at home to make sure you’re not getting more than you bargained for. This is the healthiest coffee you can drink.
An alarming 11.8% of American men over the age of 20 have diabetes. Needless to say, it’s a growing concern and one receiving a great deal of attention in the medical community. Between 1986 and 1998, Harvard researchers tracked the coffee consumption and occurrence of type-2 diabetes of more than 40,000 men. They discovered that long-term coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes and statistics indicated the risk decreased the more they drank. Just remember to limit your sugar!
If your focus is weight loss, green coffee extract could be an effective aid. Following a 22-week study of 16 overweight adults, researchers discovered participants given green coffee bean extract had undergone significant weight loss with 37.5% of them transitioning from being at a pre-obesity weight to a normal weight range. If you’re battling the bulge, consider complementing your workouts by looking at the green bean capsule aisle of your local health nutrition store.
We know, we can’t believe it is butter in there, either. Buttered (a.k.a. “Bulletproof”) coffee has been making celebs, athletes, and health bloggers alike get friendlier with fats. Why? Some claim this buttery buzz gives them more energy, improves brain function, and aids in weight loss—particularly if these folks are following a ketogenic diet already.
If you’re looking to add an extra health kick to your coffee but still want it to look like, well, coffee, try sprinkling in some ashwagandha powder. You may want to combine this with some cinnamon and coconut oil since it can have a pretty strong flavor, but some people are swearing by this adaptogen trend. While it’s used heavily in Ayurvedic medicine, mainstream health connoisseurs are starting to use it more and are noticing that it may help reduce stress and possibly even increase physical stamina.
The healthiest way to take your coffee is, of course, black. But if you can’t stand the taste of the bitter grounds on their own, we have a few pieces of good news for you. Firstly, some studies show that probably means you’re not a psychopath — congratulations. But secondly, there are other healthy options out there to add flavor to your beverage — without adding heaps of sugar.
When a group of volunteers received a dose of 100 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, about as much contained in a single cup of coffee, Austrian researchers found a surge in the volunteers’ brain activity, measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery (fMRI), as they performed a memory task. The researchers noted that the memory skills and reaction times of the caffeinated volunteers were also improved when compared to the control group who received a placebo and showed no increase in brain activity.
This coffee alternative is popular among those who have removed regular coffee from their diets because it tastes very similar to coffee but is caffeine free. A mix of carob, barley, chicory nuts and other flavors (there are all kinds of varieties) it is truly tasty, can be brewed like coffee (in a French press, via tea bags or in an espresso machine), and mixes nicely with milk, soy milk or just plain honey if you’re more of a black coffee/milk-free person.
Cardamom is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, because it helps neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine, but that’s not the only reason to add the spice to your java. A two-tablespoon serving has just 36 calories, is loaded with fiber, essential minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds; research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found cardamom contains compounds with the potential to kill cancer cells and stunt new cancer cell growth. Cardamom has also been known to improve blood circulation in the body, help control cholesterol, cure dental diseases, and infections like gonorrhea. It’s even been said to cure impotency, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
A recent study appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at the coffee-drinking habits of more than 447,000 people over 10 years. The researchers found that those who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing melanoma than people who drank decaffeinated coffee or no coffee.
Feeling a little slow lately? All it might take to get your body back to working at a normal pace is a little coffee. A 2005 study from the Radiological Society of North America found it doesn’t take much—just a couple cups—to improve your reaction time, making you better at everything from noticing something scary like smoke in your home (and realizing you need to grab the fire extinguisher ASAP) to breaking your car for a stop sign.