13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science
Coffee is actually very healthy.
It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health.
The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases.
Here are the top 13 health benefits of coffee, that have been confirmed in actual human studies.
After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, it travels into the brain (4).
In the brain, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine.
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 (7, 8, 9).
BOTTOM LINE:Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
Did you know that caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat burning supplement?
There’s a good reason for that… caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning.
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 (12).
However, it is possible that these effects will diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.
BOTTOM LINE:Several studies show that caffeine can increase fat burning in the body and boost the metabolic rate.
This is the “fight or flight” hormone, designed to make our bodies ready for intense physical exertion.
Because of this, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about a half an hour before you head to the gym.
BOTTOM LINE:Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from the fat tissues. It also leads to significant improvements in physical performance.
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 (21):
- 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.
BOTTOM LINE:Coffee contains several important nutrients, including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin.
Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem, currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide.
It is characterized by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin.
For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
According to a massive review that looked at data from 18 studies with a total of 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee was associated with a 7% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes (27).
BOTTOM LINE:Several observational studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting type II diabetes, a serious disease that currently afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide.
This disease usually affects people over 65 years of age.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s.
However, there are several things you can do to prevent the disease from showing up in the first place.
This includes the usual suspects like eating healthy and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.
BOTTOM LINE:Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, which is a leading cause of dementia worldwide.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, right after Alzheimer’s.
It is caused by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.
Same as with Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention.
In studies, coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, with a reduction in risk ranging from 32-60% (30, 31, 32, 33).In this case, it appears to be the caffeine itself that is causing the effect. People who drink decaf don’t have a lower risk of Parkinson’s (34).
BOTTOM LINE:Coffee drinkers have up to a 60% lower risk of getting Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder.
The liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions in the body.
Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and others.
Many of these diseases can lead to a condition called cirrhosis, in which the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue.
BOTTOM LINE:Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver.
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life.
It is incredibly common and about 4.1% of people in the U.S. currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.
Another study with 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide (39).
BOTTOM LINE:Coffee appears to lower the risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce the risk of suicide.
Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death and is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body.
Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer… liver cancer and colorectal cancer.
Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth (40).
One 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 (43).
BOTTOM LINE:Liver and colorectal cancer are the 3rd and 4th leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of both.
It is often claimed that caffeine can increase blood pressure.
In fact, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk of heart disease (50).
BOTTOM LINE:Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease, but a slightly lower risk of stroke.
Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer.
There are actually several observational studies showing that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.
In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% lower risk of death in men and a 26% lower risk of death in women, over a period of 18-24 years (53).
This effect appears to be particularly strong in type II diabetics. In one study, diabetics who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death during a 20 year study period (54).
BOTTOM LINE:Several studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of premature death.
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may actually be the healthiest aspect of the diet.
That’s because coffee contains a massive amount of antioxidants.
Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. Period.