Is Coffee Good or Bad for You?
There is a common misconception these days that coffee is bad for you generally and that it increases blood pressure. While the latter is actually true, the effect is insignificant with an increase of 3-4 mm/Hg (Millimeter of Mercury - a unit of blood pressure) and this generally reduces if you drink coffee regularly (1, 2).
You may still be wondering is coffee good for you?
The fact is that coffee can provide you with a variety of health benefits. Various studies confirm that coffee can even reduce your risk of developing many series diseases.
Below are the top 12 health benefits you can get from drinking coffee:
1. You Can Dramatically Increase Your Physical Performance Using Caffeine
When you drink coffee, the caffeine then stimulates your central nervous system, which causes your brain to send signals to fat cells to break down your body fat (5, 6). When your fat cells begin to break down body fat, the fat is released into your blood as free fatty acid which is then made available as fuel for your body (7, 8).
Adrenaline levels in your body are also increased when you drink coffee (9, 10), which you may know as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. This hormone's purpose is to prepare your body for extreme physical effort, which you can then leverage in the gym. But how much can caffeine actually help you during a workout? I personally always have a pretty large mug of coffee about 30 minutes before a workout.
2. Coffee Improves Energy Levels and Can Improve Your Intelligence
Yet another one of the health benefits of drinking coffee is increased energy.
Caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream after you drink coffee, where it will then travel to your brain (16). When the caffeine reaches your brain, it blocks a neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This causes an increase in other neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which leads to an increase in the firing of neurons (17, 18), which literally makes you smarter!
3. You Can Reduce Your Risk of Developing Cancer
As one of the leading causes of death in the world today (22), cancer is when the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping, which then begin to spread into the surrounding tissues. T
he good news is you can actually reduce your risk of developing two different types of cancer by drinking coffee - colorectal cancer and liver cancer (both leading causes of cancer deaths) (23).
One study found that you can reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer by 15% by drinking 4-5 cups of coffee a day (24), whereas other studies show that you can reduce your risk of developing liver cancer by up to 40% if you drink coffee (25, 26).
4. Coffee Is Nutritious
Ever asked yourself is drinking coffee everyday bad for you?
If so, its understandable given the previously mentioned stigma that coffee has - but the fact is that it is bursting with essential nutrients your body needs to function properly.
One cup of coffee contains the following nutrients (27):
- Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance)
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of your RDA
- Manganese and Potassium: 3% of your RDA
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of your RDA
You may not be all that impressed by these figures, but the benefits of black coffee without sugar add up fast - especially if you drink more than one a day - then you could multiply the amount of nutrition gained.
For example, research from the National Coffee Association and The Specialty Coffee Association of America (28) shows that the average coffee consumption in America is 3.2 cups a day, so if you are among the average (like me), then you triple the figures above - gaining a variety of essential nutrients your body needs...
... So start enjoying the benefits of drinking coffee everyday now!
5. Coffee Can Protect You from Liver Disease
Your liver is an incredible organ that carries out a variety of vital functions (29) in your body, including aiding in the digesting of food and ridding your body of toxic substances.
However, many common diseases directly affect the liver (30) including cancer, hepatitis and fatty liver disease, many of which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver (where parts of the liver are replaced by scar tissue) (31).
6. Decreased Risk of Type II Diabetes
According to figures from the World Health Organisation (35), there was an estimated 422 million adults living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980.
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show (36) that type II diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of the disease in adults. Type II diabetes can be characterized by the inability to secrete insulin or insulin resistance, as well as elevated blood sugar levels.
It’s not clear why, but if you drink coffee, then your chances of developing type II diabetes can be decreased by between 23-50%, one study even shown that it could be decreased by up to 67% (37, 38, 39, 40, 41).
A review of several studies (with a combined total of 457,922 individuals studied) found that for every cup of coffee you drink each day, your chances of developing type II diabetes is reduced by an additional 7% (42).
7. Reduced Risk of Developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease
As the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide (43), Alzheimer's effects an estimated 5.7 million Americans alone (44). It is caused by a combination of environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors that affect the brain over time (45).
While there is no known cure for the disease, there are preventative measure you can take, such as:
- Regular exercise
- Eating healthy
- And you guessed it… drinking coffee!
Studies show that you can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson's from between 32-60% (50, 51, 52, 53), just by drinking coffee! It’s also worth noting that decaffeinated coffee provides no such benefit, suggesting the benefit is obtained from the caffeine itself (54).
8. Coffee Makes You Happier
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (more than 16 million) of American adults each year (55), so taking measures to prevent depression is important. According to one study involving 208,424 individuals, drinking 4 cups or more of coffee a day can reduce the risk of suicide by up to 53% (56).
Whereas another study found that woman who had 4 or more cups daily were 20% less likely to become depressed (57).
9. Drinking Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat
Caffeine is one of the few natural fat burning substances in the world, that’s why it is used in nearly all commercial fat burning supplements.
Studies show that caffeine can increase your metabolic rate by 3-11% (58, 59). Other studies show that not only does it increase your metabolism, but it also specifically burns fat by up to 29% in lean body types, and 10% in obese people (60). It’s worth noting however, that if you drink coffee long-term, then these benefits can reduce overtime.
10. Drinking Coffee Can Reduce Your Risk of Stroke
A stroke is characterised by the blood supply to part of your brain being interrupted, depriving the brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients – leading to the death of brain cells (61).
11. Drinking Coffee Can Help You Live Longer
This may sound too good to be true, you may wonder how the humble cup of coffee can perform such a feat?
Well if you think about it, this makes sense given all of the points above - by reducing the risk of various serious diseases, you are more likely to live longer! Observational studies confirm this, with a 20% decrease in the risk of death in males and 26% in females just by drinking coffee (64).
You will have heard about antioxidants, but what are they? They are chemicals that combat a process in your cells known as oxidation. Antioxidants fight against chemicals known as 'free radicals', which cause the oxidation process in your body (which damages your cells and the genetic material inside them) (65).
Curcumin is another very powerful antioxidant. Click the link below for more info:
No more need to wonder is coffee bad for you - in fact, the health benefits of coffee cant be understated...
... such as making you happier, healthier and it can even help you live longer!
Of course, with all this being said - its also important to know the side effects of coffee (or caffeine more specifically) - Click here to learn more.
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