Health Benefits of Coffee

There’s nothing quite like drinking an early morning cup of coffee to get us going for the day.  The subtle aroma, the bitter bite popping sleepy eyelids to an abrupt wide-awake opening always does the trick.  But there is so much more brewing in coffee than just the ability to turn us into alert and functioning individuals.  Coffee brings a bevy of health benefits that will make you want to linger a little longer drinking up what all it has to offer.

Here are a few perks in how coffee may affect your overall health and well-being:

·         May help Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

There have been studies demonstrating how coffee consumption appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.  But, caffeine is not the component responsible for this. It’s a different substance found in coffee called quercetin that data indicates is the major neuroprotective component providing protection against these medical conditions. 

Not are coffee drinkers less likely to develop Parkinson’s it can also help with movement symptoms for people who already have the disease. 

A 2016 meta-analysis looked at eleven studies including 29155 participants, and found that a higher coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s but that further studies were necessary to determine the association between coffee consumption and cognitive decline or dementia.

·         May help reduce diabetes

If you have a history of type 2 diabetes in your family, you may want to increase your coffee intake.  A large-scale cohort study found that the risk of diabetes progression from a prediabetic state was lowest in participants who drank black coffee (without sugar or creamer) three to four times each day. 

It is believed to be due to the presence of chlorogenic acids and caffeine present in coffee.  Chlorogenic acid may slow down intestinal glucose absorption and support insulin sensitivity in the body.  Other studies have suggested that it’s the antioxidants and that the brewing of coffee plays a role. 

·         Possibly protects against cancer

For many years, coffee consumption was believed to have a negative effect on overall health.  Now, current research has shown that coffee drinking is not harmful but may be a very healthy beverage to be consuming regularly. 

One area appearing to benefit from coffee consumption is reducing the risk of certain cancers.  A review of research data showed that coffee appears to have beneficial effects on possibly reducing liver, bladder, prostate, breast and colorectal cancers. It is believed of coffee and cancer has to do with the polyphenols found in coffee which have strong antioxidant properties inhibiting oxidative stress and oxidative DNA damage.  Coffee is also a source of diterpenes – cafestol and kahweol, which can modulate multiple enzymes involved in carcinogenic detoxification. 

It was also found that composition of coffee is determined by strength of the brew and brewing methods.  Stronger brews have higher levels of caffeine and also lots of beneficial polyphenols.

·         Protects against cardiovascular disease

A Harvard study showed drinking two or more cups of coffee each day could protect against heart failure.  Individuals who drank up to four cups each day had an 11 percent reduced risk. 

Another study found drinking coffee and green tea appears to help lower the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. 

Coffee does indeed appear to be more of a health beverage than how it was viewed years ago.  But, like with any food or beverage, moderation is always the key when it comes to consumption.  Drinking sugar and fat-laden coffees will not provide the same benefits as simply enjoying a cup of coffee without all the frills.  Also, anyone who is sensitive to caffeine should avoid jumping on thecoffee cart as it could result in increasing anxiety, nausea, and headaches.