Sadly, coffee has seen more than its fair share of bad publicity. But much of what you have no doubt heard may not be the whole story, or a stretching of the truth.
To balance the scales a little, here are a few positive coffee health facts:
1. Coffee heightens your senses: Coffee has several affects on your awareness, your senses and your mental capabilities, even if they are only for the short term. Caffiene has little to no lasting affects. Coffee contains caffeine, but is also known to stimulate the production of cortisone and adrenaline. These are hormones that prepare your body for a fight or flight response. These natural responses make you naturally very aware! But they do have the affect that they can make you feel a little stressed out as well…
2. Coffee can help protect against diabetes: Drinking coffee reduces the risk of getting diabetes mellitus type 2. This is the type where body tissues become resistant to insulin. Obesity, among a lot of other factors, is a major cause for diabetes type 2. Some studies suggest drinking coffee reduces the risk of becoming type-2 diabetic up to 50% (when ingested at 7 cups a day, which we'll admit is a little ridiculous even for us coffee fanatics), but it has a linear effect. So even a single cup of coffee a day, effectively reduces this risk a little.
3. Coffee protects the brain: While coffee is unlikely to make you smarter, trust me - we've exhausted this option - but studies have shown that caffeine has a positive impact even protecting the brain from brain diseases. In this study published by the Harvard School of Public Health a beneficial effect of caffeine was found for preventing Parkinson’s disease when consumed in moderate quantities, both for men and women. For women though, the study noted that the health affects needed more research (sorry ladies…). But it doesn’t stop at Parkinson’s, there are also benefits for preventing Alzheimer and mild memory and thinking problems for older men in general. So for men: coffee may help!
4. Coffee contains antioxidants: Antioxidants are your friends! In short, they prevent free radicals from causing cell damage. This cell damage is related to aging processes, but also many forms of cancer. There also seems to be a relation to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer, schizophrenia and other diseases of the brain. And antioxidants prevent those free radicals from doing their destructive work. A certain antioxidant, methylpyridinium (a free coffee to anyone who can say that three times fast), has been found to specifically prevent colon cancer. In fact, according to University of Scranton Professor Dr. Joe Vinson, Coffee is the greatest source of antioxidants in the US diet! Further, antioxidants have been widely linked to a number of potential health benefits including protection against heart disease and cancer.
5. Coffee makes and keeps you awake: Coffee, specifically caffeine, doesn’t take away the need for sleep. It just postpones it a little, by making sure you don’t feel you need to sleep. That’s tricky, because your body is still in need of sleep, but you’re fooling your mind into not feeling that sensation. But as long as you’re aware of this phenomenon, it can be very helpful at times. When you have to meet that deadline, or you have to drive that last half an hour to get home. It should also be said that caffeine can have a negative affect for those already prone to heart problems, anxiety and high-blood pressure. But if this isn’t you, ACES!
6. Coffee has other benefits: Coffee has been strongly linked to lowering the risk of colorectal, and liver cancers, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
So the debate will go on no doubt, but hopefully this will spin a little positive to the conversation. Do you have a coffee benefit not listed here? Let us know!