Coffee isn’t just tasty and energizing, it may also be extremely good for you. It happens to be the most popular drink in the world, as well as a rich source of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds. In recent years, scientists have studied the effects of coffee on various aspects of health, and their results have been nothing short of amazing.
Here are some of the reasons why coffee might just be the healthiest beverage on the planet.
1. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found long term consumption of coffee to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The researchers included 36 studies including more than 1, 270, 000 participants. They found that moderate coffee consumption of approximately 3-5 cups per day was associated with lower CVD risk, and heavy coffee consumption of 6 or more cups per day was neither associated with a higher or lower risk cardiovascular disease. Only with an excess of 10 cups of coffee per day could caffeine be tied to heart failure. As with everything in life – moderation is the key to coffee consumption.
2. Reduces the risk of stroke
Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and the third highest cause of death with more than 140,000 people dying each year. Yet a 2011 systematic review looked at 14 stroke studies with a total of 479, 689 participants, and found 2-6 cups of coffee to reduce the risk of stroke.
3. Protective effect against Alzheimer’s
Coffee may also ward off dementia, even when the first few signs are starting to show. Researchers in San Francisco looked at 124 adults aged 65-88 years, and found that those with higher levels of caffeine in their blood delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, coffee was the most consumed source of caffeine for these individuals.
4. Can make you smarter
You usually drink coffee when you’re tired and in need of a pick-me-up, right? Well, that dose of caffeine keeps you awake and also makes you sharper. In fact, coffee is the only proven drug to improve mental performance. A study examined college students to see if they could recall words from six different lists with different themes, and what difference 200mg of caffeine made – approximately 2 cups of coffee.
The students who took the caffeine tablets could remember more words, and used more efficient learning techniques than those who were given the placebo. Coffee also helps boost working memory performance, especially when you are tired or find your task monotonous. The indirect action of caffeine on arousal, mood, and concentration is largely responsible for its reputation as a cognition enhancer. Next time you’re doing your tax return or paying your bills, perhaps a cup of coffee could help you get the job done.
5. Is not associated with cancer
Research has found coffee consumption to not correspond with heart or prostate cancer, and 2 cups of coffee may even decrease the risk liver cancer. Although some studies have found coffee to be associated with lung cancer, this only holds true for people who smoke – drinking coffee may be protective for those who do not. What’s more, a study examining all cancers found caffeine to be associated with a reduced overall cancer incidence, and the more you drink, the more protection you will see.
6. Reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Did you know that coffee can even protect you against type 2 diabetes? A whopping 29.1 million Americans (9.3%) have diabetes, and
in 2014 86 million more were diagnosed with prediabetes – the precursor to this potentially fatal chronic disease. Yet a systematic review of 45,335 participants found an inverse association between coffee consumption and type 2 diabetes. More than 6 cups of coffee per day was associated with an astounding 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and this relationship was consistent for men and women in Europe, the U.S., and Asia.
For years, physicians have been warning us about the negative health effects of coffee. You may have been told that coffee could raise your blood pressure, bring about heart disease, cause an ulcer or contribute to the onset of diabetes. But studies are continuously proving the exact opposite. With the average American consuming 9.39 pounds of coffee per year – this certainly has to be good news!