Many of us probably don’t know that a regular cup of coffee may be doing more than just providing early-morning pick-me-up. The issue of whether or not taking coffee has any medical benefits is without doubt a very controversial one. This age-old debate has seen advocates mentioning its antioxidant activity as well as brain-boosting potential. On the other hand, detractors tout downsides like indigestion, increased heart rate, high blood pressure and insomnia. However, the latest wave of medical and scientific evidence comes with a wealth of awesome news for coffee diehards. Drinking coffee can stand to be healthier for us than we ever knew.
New evidence has just confirmed that coffee is very good for the heart and that coffee drinkers live long. According to new research, drinking 2 to 3 daily cups of coffee, including ground, instant, or decaffeinated coffee, is associated with significant reductions in new cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality, compared with avoiding coffee. While the experts do not ask doctors to start prescribing coffee to patients, they are of the opinion that for the majority who like coffee, they can be encouraged to take a few cups daily. And here are some of the reasons why we think so.
1. Caffeine provides you with a short-term memory boost
In a research, a few individuals received a dose of 150 milligrams of caffeine each, about as much as is contained in a cup of coffee. The researchers noticed a significant surge in their brain activity. The researchers also noted that the reaction times, as well as memory skills of the caffeinated individual improved dramatically compared with the control group that received an ordinary placebo. To be specific, they didn’t indicate any increase whatsoever as far as brain activity is concerned. According to leading neurologists and toxicologists, caffeine is believed to affect areas of the brain responsible for concentration and memory. And so as a direct consequence, caffeine provides a boost to the short-term memory as well as an individual’s concentration acuity. However, it is worth noting that it is not exactly clear how long the boosting lasts. Better yet, it is not clear how it may vary from one person to another.
2. It is a source of useful antioxidants
Studies show that coffee boasts of more antioxidant activity compared with the two antioxidant superstars – cocoa and tea. In fact, a wide range of detailed lab analysis carried out over the years has identified over 1,000 antioxidants in coffee beans – unprocessed at that. Interestingly, hundreds of more antioxidants come up on roasting the beans. What’s more, a 2012 research labeled coffee as one of the core dietary antioxidants source readily available today.
In case you didn’t know, a majority of the antioxidants that can be found in a cup of coffee aids in the fight against inflammation which is the underlying cause of various chronic conditions such as atherosclerosis, some cancer types and arthritis.
Other than that, antioxidants play a significant role in neutralizing free radicals that naturally occur as a part of daily metabolic functions. However, the radicals in question are those that can cause oxidative stress and not the useful type. In other words, the antioxidants in a steaming cup of coffee can go a long way in keeping you healthy at a micro-level. And they do so by protecting your cells from any possible external physical damage. Lastly, chromogenic acid, (one of the main antioxidants found in coffee) has been proven to have the limited ability to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
3. A regular cup of coffee can keep cognitive decline at bay
It’s no secret that coffee provides a temporary boost in memory and brain activity. But what most of us don’t know is that frequent consumption of coffee can as well prevent cognitive decline related to mental anomalies such as Alzheimer’s disease. In an extensive study, experts found that taking around three to five cups of coffee every day has some unique benefits that can’t be replicated elsewhere. They associated it with 65% reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in later life. On retrospect, the researchers investigated the effect of taking tea or other beverages such as cocoa or beer on cognitive decline. Interestingly enough, they found no association.
There are various theories on how coffee can help prevent or better yet, protect cognitive decline. But before that here is a quick fact, caffeine in coffee prevents beta-amyloid plaque build-up. The plaque can contribute to the beginning as well as the progression of Alzheimer’s. Besides, researchers theorize that since a regular cup of coffee can keep dietary diabetes away (a dementia risk factor), it can also be said to minimize the danger of developing dementia.
4. Coffee helps curb some cancers
According to cancer specialists, men who take coffee regularly have a lower risk of developing the deadly prostate cancer compared to those who use other beverages. In similar tandem, various researchers suggest that taking four or more cups of coffee every day decreases the risk of endometrial cancer in women.
Statistically, women who take four or more cups of coffee on a regular daily basis have a 25% reduced chance of falling scourge to this cancer compared to the women who drink less than one cup daily. On the same spectrum, researchers have found a relationship between frequent coffee drinking and lower rates of breast, colon, rectal and liver cancers.
As discussed earlier, coffee contains antioxidant phytochemicals called polyphenols. Such chemicals have demonstrated many anti-carcinogenic properties in various studies and detailed lab analysis conducted over the past the few decades. So in short, these phytochemicals act as buffers that stave off the chances of tumours bursting up at the very slight exposure to carcinogenic compounds.
5. Coffee reduces the risk of developing diabetes
A good chunk of health and nutrition experts from around the world subscribe to the idea that there is an association between taking coffee and a decreased risk of diabetes. And this is mostly because it has been recently proved that the danger of suffering from diabetes drops by 7 % for every cup of coffee downed. Also, epidemiological studies indicated that heavy coffee users have a 50% reduced risk of suffering from diabetes compared to light drinkers or even non-drinkers.
There are several ways in which coffee is beneficial in warding off diabetes. First of all, it helps the body utilize insulin and protects insulin-producing cells and as a direct consequence, allows effective blood sugar regulation. Not to mention the fact that a healthy blood-sugar balance is akin to a diabetes-free life. Second on the list, it prevents tissue damage, particularly that resulting from battling inflammation in the body (one of the type 2 diabetes risk factors). Far from that, caffeic acid, a coffee component, is known to be significant in lowering toxic accumulation of some abdominal protein deposits. Such deposits, like amyloid fibrils, are found in individuals with diabetes.
6. Coffee is healthy for human heart
Before you dismiss it as another internet myth, take a second to read on a bit. A study that involved over 37,000 individuals over 13 years was carried out and recently finalized by leading cardiology researchers. Surprising enough, the research unearthed the fact that moderate coffee consumers had a 20 percent reduced danger of heart diseases compared to light or heavy drinkers, and nondrinkers.
You don’t have to be a trained cardiologist to see that coffee supports heart health. It does so by protecting the heart’s muscular chamber against artery damage that may result from inflammation. This way, various heart diseases are warded off including common ailments such as hypertension, thrombosis, heart attack, heart failure, among others
7. Coffee enhances exercise performance
It’s unfortunate that most of us have been conditioned to believe caffeine is a dehydrating agent.It is also one of the reasons in your formative years you were discouraged from sipping coffee or tea before a long class or lecture. Even fitness gurus do not recommend taking coffee before or after an intensive workout.
But far from that, recent studies have shown that as much as caffeine can stimulate dehydration, moderate consumption of coffee does not dehydrate gym enthusiasts to that extent of interrupting their workout. On the contrary, coffee and it’s battalion of goodness assists in combating physical fatigue thus allowing you a higher endurance margin on the treadmill or under the barbells.
How does this come about?
Caffeine is a performance as well as endurance enhancer. Not only does it help fight fatigue but also strengthens contraction of striation muscles. To some extent, it can cut off an athlete’s pain perception and increase fatty acid levels in the blood. The result of this, in the long run, is stallion-like endurance.
8. It is Healthy for your Liver
Regardless of what you might come across in health blogs and nutrition magazine, it’s true that coffee lowers the danger of liver cancer. Once again, a steady coffee consumption has been linked to a lower cirrhosis incidence more so alcoholic cirrhosis. Some studies have even indicated an inverse correlation between increased coffee drinking and a reduced risk of cirrhosis- 20% reduction for every cup consumed.
How it Functions
To support this argument, consider this. A recent in-depth research done in Turkey last year revealed an inverse relationship between consumption of coffee and blood levels of all liver enzymes. Conventionally, increased levels of liver enzymes reflect damage and inflammation to the liver. Simply, the more coffee drank, the lesser their enzyme levels.
9. It Guards Against Gout
Studies on coffee consumption patterns of both genders indicate that regular coffee drinking lowers the danger of developing gout. Another separate study analysed the health behaviours of almost 90,000 female nurses across 26 years. Far from what most of them expected, a positive correlation between decreased threat for gout and long-term coffee consumption was noted.
Women who took more than 4 cups daily showed a 57% lower gout risk, and so did those who took at least at three cups of decaf per day. Besides, the likelihood of gout decreased by 22% in women who consumed between 1 and three coffee cups daily.
Again, a single cup of decaf daily was associated with 23% reduced gout risk. All these patterns were benchmarked against those who consumed no coffee at all.
Antioxidant properties of coffee are believed to reduce the risk of developing gout by reducing unhealthy insulin levels. In turn, this reduces levels of uric acid. Ideally, it is widely believed that a high uric acid concentration causes gout.
10. Coffee Curbs Depression
A horde of past and recent studies have linked coffee consumption with lower depression rates in men and women. In these studies, data collected suggested an inverse relation between depression and coffee drinking. In fact, coffee aficionados seem to have the lowest risk of falling prey to depression.
How it Functions
Naturally, caffeine is known to activate neurotransmitters that can control mood. Such transmitters include serotonin and dopamine. This way, coffee staves off depression by stimulating the injection of these feel-good hormones in the blood.
How to Choose The Best Coffee for Your Personal Health Benefits
It is evident that coffee comes with a broad range of health benefits. But then how do you glean more benefits from drinking? Below are a few steps.
1. Opt for Organic Coffee Beans
As with any other food, the best way to get the pure most version of anything is to opt for the organic brand. Fortunately for us, most leading coffee processing companies provide a natural variety as well as the regular version, ( although such coffee is normally a little bit pricier than the regular version.)
If not that, check the packaging to make sure the coffee was grown without making use of herbicides and pesticides. Conventionally, organic coffee beans are typically grown with zero chemical assistance if possible, go for the whole bean organic coffee as you are more likely to get a purer product this way.
But there are also more reasons for going organic…..
Purchasing organic coffee is not only good for the body but also good for the environment. Organic farming doesn’t add harmful or synthetic components to the earth. At that, it makes the food you eat as well as the environment safer for everyone.
2. Drink At least one or two Coffee Cups per Day
Studies argue that to get the maximum antioxidant advantages from coffee consumers only require at least one or two java cups daily.
Brew fresh coffee early morning to start off your day. The healthiest and tastiest way of optimising the health benefits of coffee is grinding the beans immediately before starting preparation. Brew then drink your coffee quickly.
3. Choose Homemade Coffee
Coffee companies nowadays provide exceptional coffee in stalls, carts or even cafeterias. Undoubtedly, such drinks are delicious. However, they may not contain the same antioxidant levels as what you can get from homemade coffee.
On a hot day, instead of opting for a can of soda, prepare iced coffee instead. You will still quench your thirst and also enjoy the antioxidant coffee health benefits.
4. Choose Darker Roasted Beans
Research shows that darker roasted beans have higher antioxidant levels than the lighter variety. So ideally, darker coffee beans have more health benefits compared to lightly coloured beans.
5. Use the Proper Equipment for Coffee Brewing
If at all you are serious about obtaining the most from coffee, then you might want to consider getting the right equipment to maximise your coffee consumption experience. Here are some of them.
- Coffee machine: Buy a reliable coffee machine that not only heats water to boiling point but also produces hot coffee. Consider purchasing a machine that generates almost 12 cups should you have multiple coffee consumers at home.
- Purified water: Contrary to what some of us think, the water you use to prepare coffee makes a difference too. So make sure you use purified, chemical-free water to turn those beans to cups of Arabica/Robusta goodness.
- Coffee Bean Grinder: The best way to get the freshest quality of coffee is by using freshly ground beans. So get yourself an electric grinder that can crush those beans within less than 10 minutes and enjoy the purest form of earthen coffee.
Well, there you have it. Ten more reasons to look forward to a steaming cup of coffee every dawn.
Having said this, it is still important for you to discuss with your doctor in order to ascertain whether or not the medical condition that possibly precluded you from drinking coffee is still relevant.