Drinking a cup of coffee has always been able to refuel us after a long tiring day. Many tout this popular drink as the “gift from heaven.” Coffee contains a psychoactive substance called caffeine, which is associated with some of the pros and cons of coffee. But coffee is not just made of caffeine; this beverage has thousands of compounds. While the effect of caffeine has been well established time and again, that of coffee on human health is nowhere near conclusion. Despite this, we can undoubtedly claim that coffee offers several health benefits. Here’s a list of the significant health benefits of coffee that we can reap on drinking this steaming cup of joy.
1. Coffee can help improve your physical performance:
Caffeine has been proven to improve physical performance by about 11 to 12 % on average.
It does so by increasing epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in the blood. This flight or fight hormone prepares the body for intense physical exercise.
Besides this, it also stimulates the nervous system to signal the fats cells to break down the body fat. Further, it will lead to the generation of fatty acids (that act as the energy source) needed during workouts. Read Launch of Fit India Movement
2. It helps you to burn fat :
- Coffee is one of the few natural substances that has proven effective in burning body fat. Read High BMI- An early indicator of health risk
- Most of the fat–burning supplements contain this. Caffeine’s ability to increase metabolic rate by about 3 to 11 % is the main reason for the widespread use of coffee in these supplements.
- Other studies have shown that caffeine effectively burnt about 10 % of the body fat in obese individuals and 29 % of the body fat in lean individuals.
- While many studies have proved the fat-burning effect of coffee, these have been found to diminish over time.
3. Improves various aspects of brain function :
- Drinking that warm and tantalizing mug of coffee has always been the first thing that many people do after waking up. This practice has been shown to increase your energy levels and prep you up to meet the challenges of the day.
- This boost of energy that you get after drinking coffee is because of the stimulant present in it. Caffeine gets absorbed in the bloodstream and travels to the brain, inhibiting the effect of a neurotransmitter called adenosine.
- By doing so, the levels of noradrenaline and dopamine are increased, enhancing the firing of neurons.
- These changes finally result in better memory, increased reaction times, and improved mental function.
4. May lower the risk of type II diabetes :
- Studies have demonstrated that people drinking coffee have a 23 to 50 % lower risk of getting type II diabetes.
- Caffeine reduces this risk by decreasing insulin sensitivity and impairing glucose intolerance.
- The analysis of many review studies has finally led to the conclusion that drinking a cup of coffee daily results in a 7 % reduced risk of type II diabetes. Read Diabetes- Detection Prevention and Management
5. May protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia :
- High caffeine levels have been associated with a lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- Several studies have backed this by reporting that coffee drinkers lowered the risk by about 65 %.
6. Lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease :
- Regular coffee drinking has been shown to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s by about 25 %.
- Some studies have also shown that the risk of this neurodegenerative disease was lowered by about 32 to 60 % in coffee drinkers.
- Caffeine was responsible for this effect as people who had decaffeinated coffee did not have a lower risk of this disease.
7. May reduce the risk of developing chronic liver diseases :
- Both regular and decaf coffee have a protective effect on the liver. People consuming two to three cups of coffee daily have been shown to reduce the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma by about 38 %.
- The levels of the liver enzymes are also maintained within the healthy ranges in coffee drinkers.
- Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that drinking any coffee type can reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis, chronic liver disease, non – alcoholic fatty liver disease, and liver cancer.
8. Reduces the risk of certain types of cancer :
- Coffee drinkers have up to a 40 % lower chance of getting liver cancer and a 15 % lower risk of colorectal cancer.
- The risk of prostate cancer in men who drink coffee has been shown to reduce by about 20 %. Likewise, a study revealed that the risk of endometrial cancer is lowered by about 25 % in women who drink coffee.
9. Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease :
- Coffee contains an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid that protects cardiovascular health.
- The caffeine present in coffee dilates the blood vessels and promotes blood flow based on its anti-inflammatory activities.
- These changes have notably helped reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by about 15 %. It is mainly witnessed in healthy people who consume 3 to 5 chips of coffee each day.
10. Other health benefits of coffee :
- It helps to fight depression.
- Reduces the risk of stroke.
- Lowers the risk of death.
- Protects your body from the damaging effects of the free radicals.
- It brightens the mood and lowers the risk of suicide.
- It helps with productivity by boosting mental alertness.
- Helps relieve pain related to headaches and migraines.
- Alleviates the symptoms of depression in women.
- It May help in losing weight.
How much coffee is safe to drink? :
- Consuming about 400 mg of caffeine per day is considered safe for most people.
- Roughly it means that you can drink about four cups of coffee each day without worrying about any side effects. 2
Risks of drinking lots of coffee:
- A higher risk of bone fractures is possible in women who drink excessive coffee.
- Drinking more than one cup of coffee each day during pregnancy causes complications like low birth weight and preterm birth. Pregnant women are mostly advised to stay away from coffee as caffeine can negatively impact the growing fetus.
- There can be a higher risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Extra intake can increase the risk of anxiety in people with panic disorder or social anxiety disorder.
- It can cause insomnia and restlessness, especially if you are caffeine–sensitive and consume 4 cups of coffee in a day.
- It may increase the levels of LDL cholesterol. Always prefer filtered coffee if you have cholesterol, as this traps cafestol and kahweol, the two ingredients involved in raising the LDL levels.
- Drinking coffee during childhood increases the risk of anxiety-related conditions in adulthood.
The bottom line :
Health benefits of coffee- Drinking coffee has been associated with many potential health benefits, but these are only reaped when we consume coffee in moderation. Drinking two to four cups per day is beneficial in protecting our body and our brain. This beverage can be consumed in different ways, which generally alters the pros and cons of drinking coffee. Monitor the amount of coffee you consume and pay attention to the ingredients you add. Always be mindful while adding sugar and cream to your cup, as this could negate some of the beneficial effects of your coffee. All in all, if you love the rich flavor of that hot cup of joy, then don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup or more throughout the day.