The Five Best Benefits of Coffee
Health benefits…of coffee???
That’s right! Coffee. Joe. Java. Whatever you call it, 54% of Americans drink it everyday. While experts warn people that there is definitely such a thing as drinking too much, they also agree that coffee may help improve your health.
“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
So what can coffee do for you?
It May Prevent Diabetes
Coffee contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin. Why is this important? Insulin controls blood sugar (otherwise known as glucose). In type 2 diabetes, the body loses its ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively. More than 15 published studies have found that coffee drinkers (about 2 cups daily) tend to be around 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes. The findings held regardless of sex, weight, or geographic location.
There’s also evidence that decaffeinated coffee may have the same benefit as regular coffee.
It May Lower Depression Risk
Women who drink caffeinated coffee have a lower risk of depression, according to a Harvard study. That research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have a 15 percent lower risk.
It May Reduce Heart Problems
A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, have fewer cases of heart rhythm problems and strokes. Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
It May Lower Cancer Risks
A Harvard School of Public Health study shows that men who drink coffee have a 60 percent decreased chance of developing a dangerous form of prostate cancer, as well as a 20 percent decreased chance of developing any other kinds of prostate cancer.
It May Reduce Brain Disease Risks
Drinking coffee may improve your chances of avoiding Parkinson’s disease and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) by up to 65%. Why? Caffeine affects the brain by modulating the release of mood transmitters.
Before you order that super-sized cup of joe, know this: additional studies are still needed to help experts more deeply understand the relationship between coffee’s nutrients and the human body. And…there’s still such a thing as too much caffeine – too much can raise blood pressure and raise blood levels of the fight-or-flight chemical epinephrine (also called adrenaline). Also, it’s important to note that both regular and decaffeinated coffee contain acids that can make heartburn worse.