Health Benefits of Coffee

More and more research is showing that there may be many health benefits associated with drinking this dark black beverage, from helping prevent diabetes and neuro-degenerative disease to lowering the risk of liver disease.

1.       Packed full of Antioxidants
According to a study done in 2005, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. While fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, the human body seems to absorb the most from coffee.

For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may actually be the healthiest aspect of the diet.

2.      May lower your risk of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s
Coffee may help keep your mind sharp as you age by slowing the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, the most common of which are Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  Multiple studies have suggested that regular coffee drinkers have up to a 60 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, and the beverage may help reduce a person's risk of Parkinson's by 32 to 60 percent.

There are no known cures for these diseases and so focusing on prevention is extremely important.  It is believed that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of a neurodegenerative disease or delay its onset. 

3.       Coffee can be great for your liver
Various studies have suggested that caffeine helps the liver regulate itself. Research found that regular coffee consumption may reduce a person's risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare autoimmune disease that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and even cancer.

A 22-year-study study published in 2006 that included 125,000 people found that people who drink at least one cup of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to develop liver cirrhosis.  Studies have also shown that coffee can help prevent people from developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

4.       Coffee can make you feel happier and reduce levels of suicide
A study carried out by the National Institute of Health Study in the US found that those who drink four or more cups of coffee were about 10 percent less likely to be depressed than those who had never touched the java. And apparently it's not because of the "caffeine high" --  the same mental health benefits didn’t extend to other caffeinated beverages especially Coke which has been linked to a higher rate of depression.  It would appear that coffee’s mood lifting effect might be attributed to its antioxidants.

A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health determined that consuming two to four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by a whopping 50 percent. The proposed reason is because coffee aids in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, acting as a mild antidepressant.

5.       Coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of some types of cancer
A joint study published in 2012 between Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed 112,897 men and women over a 20-year period. They found that women who drank three cups or more a day, were much less likely to develop skin cancer than those who didn't drink coffee, or who only stuck to the decaffeinated sort.

Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Another study of 489,706 individuals found that those who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer – the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the world.

6.       Coffee can boost your athletic performance
Athletes and coaches have long used coffee to boost athletic performance before a competition. Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, which allows athletes' muscles to absorb and burn those fats for fuel, therefore saving the body's small reserves of carbohydrates for later on in the exercise.

Caffeine also increases Epinephrine (Adrenaline) levels in the blood. This is the “fight or flight” hormone, designed to make our bodies ready for intense physical exertion.

Given these effects, it is not surprising to see that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11-12%, on average

7.       Coffee could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a huge health problem, currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide.

According to studies, people who drink the most coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting this disease.

According to a study from The American Chemical Society, people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 50 percent.  Subsequently, with every additional cup, the risk gets lowered by 7 percent.

8.       Coffee keeps you alert and may make you more intelligent
It is reported that coffee allows your brain to work in a much more efficient and smarter way due to the presence of caffeine, which is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

When you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and then travels to the brain where it blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine.  When this happens, the amount of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine actually increases, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.

Many controlled trials in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function, logical reasoning – most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence.

9.       Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat burning supplement because it is one of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning.  Several studies show that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%.  Other studies show that caffeine can specifically increase the burning of fat, by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people.


However, it is possible that these effects will diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.

10.   There Are Essential Nutrients in Coffee
Coffee is more than just black water. Many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the final drink.

A single cup of coffee contains:

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA.
  • Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA.

    Although this may not seem like a big deal, most people are drinking more than one cup per day. If you drink 3-4, then these amounts quickly add up.