The health benefits of coffee

There are few things more more ritualistic—and to many, more sacred—than a morning cup of joe. 64% of Americans drink at least one cup a day—a statistic that’s barely budged since the ’90s. Despite warnings from doctors over the years that coffee may be hard on the body, people have remained devoted to the drink.

Luckily for them, the latest science is evolving in their favor. Research is showing that coffee may have net positive effects on the body after all.

Is coffee bad for you?

For years, doctors warned people to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease and stunt growth.

They worried that people could become addicted to the energy that high amounts of caffeine provided, leading them to crave more and more coffee as they became tolerant to higher amounts of caffeine.

Experts also worried that coffee had damaging effects on the digestive tract, which could lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn and other ills.

All of this concern emerged from studies done decades ago that compared coffee drinkers to non-drinkers on a number of health measures, including heart problems and mortality. Coffee drinkers, it seemed, were always worse off.

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But it turns out that coffee wasn’t really to blame. Those studies didn’t always control for the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking, drinking and a lack of physical activity. If people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it’s not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality.

That understanding has led to a rehabilitated reputation for the drink.

Recent research reveals that once the proper adjustments are made for confounding factors, coffee drinkers don’t seem have a higher risk for heart problems or cancer than people who don’t drink coffee.

Recent studies also found no significant link between the caffeine in coffee and heart-related issues such as high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, stroke or heart attack.

MORE: Blame Your Genes For Your Coffee Addiction

Is coffee good for you?

Studies show that people who drink coffee regularly may have an 11% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers, thanks to ingredients in coffee that can affect levels of hormones involved in metabolism.

In a large study involving tens of thousands of people, researchers found that people who drank several cups a day—anywhere from two to four cups—actually had a lower risk of stroke. Heart experts say the benefits may come from coffee’s effect on the blood vessels; by keeping vessels flexible and healthy, it may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which can cause heart attacks.

MORE: Does Bone Broth Really Have Health Benefits?

It’s also high in antioxidants, which are known to fight the oxidative damage that can cause cancer. That may explain why some studies have found a lower risk of liver cancer among coffee drinkers.

20+ Good Health Reasons To Drink Coffee

The Health Benefits of Coffee

There are good reasons to drink coffee and there are a few reasons not to. This article is for those that are looking for reasons to keep drinking it.

After all, you may have a caffeine-hater in your life. You know the type – they’re always telling you what’s bad for your health.

Here’s a list of some good reasons to drink coffee. Memorize this list – so the next time you encounter your favorite coffee-hater you can pull out one of these babies.

While you’re at it, you can add the words “from a peer-reviewed scientific journal” — that’ll really get your pet coffee-hater frothing at the mouth.

In all seriousness, here are some scientific reasons for drinking coffee in moderation. 

Top 11 Coffee Health Benefits

  1. Cut the Pain
    Two cups of coffee can cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48%. From the Journal of Pain, March 2007 (link)
  2. Increase your fiber intake
    A cup of brewed coffee represents a contribution of up to 1.8 grams of fiber of the recommended intake of 20-38 grams. From the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (link).
  3. Protection against cirrhosis of the liver
    Of course, you could just cut down on the alcohol intake. From the Archives of Internal Medicine (link). Another more recent study also showed coffee’s liver protecting benefits. link. Yet another study showed that both coffee and decaffeinated coffee lowered the liver enzyme levels of coffee drinkers. This study was published in the Hepatology Journal.
  4. Lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    Those who consumed 6 or more cups per day had a 22% lower risk of diabetes. From the Archives of Internal Medicine (link). A recent review of research conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu showed that the risk of type II diabetes decreases by 9% for each daily cup of coffee consumed. Decaf coffee decreased the risk by 6% per cup.
  5. Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease
    There is considerable evidence that caffeine may protect against Alzheimer’s disease. From the European Journal of Neurology (link). A recent study also isolated the compounds in roasted coffee that may be responsible for preventing the build-up of the brain plaque believed to cause the disease. 
  6. Reduces suicide risk and Depression

Is coffee good for you?

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared using roasted coffee beans which are taken from the berries of the Coffea plant.

There are two main species of coffee beans which are the Arabica and Robusta, and depending on where they are grown, both the country and the altitude determines the flavour of the coffee.

For example, Brazilian coffee usually has more chocolate and spice flavour compared to Ethiopian coffee which has a stronger, sweet berry flavour. 

Nutritional benefits of coffee

There are two main factors that could be considered benefits to drinking coffee. The first is associated with its high antioxidant status. Antioxidants are important for health as they prevent our cells from being oxidised by toxins, chemicals and inflammation.

The second is the stimulant caffeine, although this also presents potential risk factors if consumed in excessive amounts and for certain people who may be vulnerable to its effects (see below). Coffee, in addition, does contain some B vitamins, magnesium and potassium.

Can coffee help you live longer?

Recent research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that having three cups of coffee per day could lengthen lifespan by lowering the risk of death from several key conditions including heart disease. The study followed over 500,000 people from 10 European countries for over 16 years.

However, critics say that the study could not take into account every circumstance, such as economic, social and other lifestyle factors, that could have contributed to their findings.

They also excluded participants with some pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or stroke before beginning the study.

Can coffee increase energy and performance?

Coffee can help some people to feel less tired and increase energy levels thanks to its caffeine content. When coffee is consumed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain where it ‘fires up’ certain neurons that can lead to improved memory, mood, energy and cognitive function if consumed in moderation.

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The caffeine benefits can then reach even further when it comes to athletic performance as it may help to increase the amount of oxygen consumption during exercise, as well as stimulating the nervous system, which may aid the breakdown of body fat for energy. Some reports state that drinking coffee before exercise can improve athletic performance as much as 11-12%.

Can coffee boost metabolism?

Initial research suggests that caffeine may moderately boost your metabolic rate and that it may help the body to burn fat, both during activity and when resting. Researchers have speculated, therefore, that caffeine could show promise in the treatment of obesity. However, more research is required before this could be made as a valid health claim.

The Health Benefits of Coffee

Can coffee prevent Alzheimer’s?

There have been several studies into whether drinking coffee can help guard against neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's, including papers published in 2010, 2011 and 2015.

However, the findings of these studies have so far been inconsistent and larger studies with longer follow-up periods are required before a clear link can be established between coffee and these neurological conditions.

Can coffee help protect against diabetes?

There is some evidence to suggest that coffee may lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although more research in this area is required. In response to a separate study on coffee and diabetes, the NHS points out that proven methods of reducing your risk include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a varied and balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

Are there any risks in drinking coffee & how much is too much?

The NHS currently do not set limits for coffee consumption for most people, but they do advise pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake to 200mg per day. This is the equivalent to two mugs of instant coffee but less than two mugs of filter coffee.

Caffeine is a stimulant and everyone reacts differently to it. Caffeine can act as a diuretic which can cause the body to produce urine more quickly. People who are more sensitive to caffeine or who drink a lot of caffeinated drinks sometimes report dizziness, tremors and insomnia as side effects. If you are concerned about your caffeine intake you should speak to your doctor or GP.

It is also worth bearing in mind that many coffee-based drinks contain added milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavoured syrups, and these extras can add a significant chunk of calories, fat and sugar to your diet.

Do different varieties make a difference nutritionally?

Coffee comes in different forms: whole beans, ground coffee and freeze-dried.

Whole beans and ground coffee are best kept dry and in an airtight container away from light, heat and moisture to maintain freshness and they usually last up to 6 months.

Freeze-dried (instant) coffee on the other hand can be kept a lot longer and you should look at the individual jars or containers for their use-by date.

Nutritionally speaking organic black, fresh (beans or ground) coffee is best as it is higher in antioxidants. Some research suggests that dark roast blends have higher antioxidant levels than light or medium roast blends.

The Health Benefits of Coffee

Fifty-four percent of American adults are coffee drinkers with the average intake being at least three cups of coffee per day. As you can guess, this adds up: the U.S. spends roughly $40 billion on coffee each year. But the U.S.

doesn’t even break the top 20 in a ranking of countries by coffee consumption per capita, coming in only at number 22.

Coffee consumption proves highest in the land of the midnight sun: Finland and Norway rank #1 among the top coffee drinking countries in the world, although the Netherlands and Slovenia are not far behind.

There are over 21,000 Starbucks locations alone in the world (with about 12,000 of those being in the U.S.) and our consumption continues to rise.

Global demand is expected to increase by an extra 40-50 million bags of coffee over the next decade which is more than Brazil’s entire yearly production.

With the current threats to coffee crops that come with climate change, the world could possibly face a severe coffee shortage.

So what has us all so hooked? Let’s discuss the science behind the making of a good cup of coffee as well as its potential health benefits.

The Science Behind a Good Cup of Joe

Coffee beans themselves have little to no taste at all. The flavor, the aroma of coffee: it all comes from the roasting process which releases a large number of chemicals from the tiny bean. In fact, the average cup of coffee contains more than 1,000 chemicals.

To transfer those delicious chemicals to the hot water in our cup, we run water over those roasted beans.

To increase our success, we both grind the beans to increase their surface area (and thus more exposure of those chemicals to the water) and heat the water since higher temperatures (and thus energies) speed up the removal of molecules from a solid.

Is Coffee *Actually* Good for You?

With a coffee shop on nearly every corner of every street (seriously, there are 35,000 in the U.S alone), it's clear people loveee their coffee. But does it love you back?

Here, dietitians share the buzz about the health benefits of coffee and the risks, plus coffee nutrition facts you need to know so you can have the final answer to whether coffee is good for you or not.

The beans used to brew coffee are the roasted seeds from coffee cherries, the fruit that grows in coffee trees, according to the National Coffee Association (NCA). A typical coffee tree grows about 10 pounds of coffee cherries annually, which yields 2 pounds of green beans that are ready to roast.

There are two main coffee tree varieties sold commercially:

  • Arabica, which accounts for 70 percent of coffee made worldwide.
  • Robusta, which makes up the remaining 30 percent and is used mostly in blends and instant coffees.

Roasting turns the green seeds brown and brings out their aromatic qualities, which really show off once you grind and brew them in water. (Or, you know, whip 'em into Instagram-worthy Dalgona drinks.)

ICYWW, the difference between coffee and espresso all comes down to the size of the bean grind and prep method. Espresso is essentially super-concentrated black coffee created by forcing hot H2O through packed, finely-ground coffee beans—but the beans themselves are exactly the same. [Wow! Who knew, right?]

First let's establish the basic nutrition of coffee: A cup (8oz) of black coffee has 2 calories, 96mg caffeine, and 118mg potassium (about what you'd score in one-third of a small banana or 3oz of yogurt), according to the USDA's FoodData Central nutrition database. All other macro- and micronutrients are negligible when you take a deep dive into coffee nutrition facts.

But what do coffee's nutrition facts mean about coffee's health benefits? Here's the DL.

One of the big benefits of black coffee is that, at just 2 calories per cup, it's less calorie-dense than juices, smoothies, and other higher-sugar drinks.

“Coffee, in its pure form, has essentially no calories, but it can be rare these days to find anyone who drinks black coffee,” says Jenna A. Werner, R.D., creator of Happy Strong Healthy in West Orange, New Jersey.

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Remember that the nutrition profile changes the second you add cream and sugar. (For perspective, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream tacks on 102 calories and 11g fat, and a teaspoon-sized packet of sugar has about 15 calories and 4g sugar.)

It's high in antioxidants.

“Coffee is loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants,” says Rachel Fine, R.D., a registered dietitian and owner of the nutrition counseling firm To The Pointe Nutrition in New York City.

In fact, one study published in the journal Antioxidants reported that roasted coffee has about the same amount of polyphenols (powerful, beneficial compounds found in certain plant foods) as red wine, cocoa, and tea.

Chlorogenic acid appears to be the main polyphenol in play, and may slightly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes by way of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive (aka blood pressure-lowering) qualities, according to Harvard medical experts. More on that next.

(ICYMI, here are the top 10 antioxidant-rich foods and drinks on the planet.)

It might reduce your risk of certain diseases and death.

Research shows that moderate coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in healthy adults, and may reduce the risk of certain cancers, according to an advisory report published by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) that looked at multiple meta-analyses and study reviews. That could play into the reason why coffee consumption is also associated with a reduced risk of total mortality (3-4 percent lower mortality with 1 cup/day), according to the ODPHP.

Health pros used to believe that the caffeine in coffee made it too much of a diuretic (in other words, it makes you pee) to count toward your healthy hydration quota for the day.

But the latest science proves that the water that comes along with that cup of joe is enough to produce a net-positive water consumption. That said, be sure to still sip plenty of plain H2O to keep your system running at peak efficiency.

(See: 6 Reasons Drinking Water Solves Any Problem)

The 100 or so milligrams of caffeine we mentioned in the coffee nutrition facts are important to note too—and come with their own set of benefits and risks aside from the benefits of coffee itself.

It can boost your exercise performance.

20 Health Benefits of Coffee (And How to Get the Maximum Benefits of It)

Last Updated on June 9, 2020

Healthy eating is not eating to lose weight. If you’re a professional or entrepreneur, you’ll understand that while eating to look good is great, it’s even more important to consume the right foods to help you perform, work, and earn better.

This health stuff has levels to it. There are foods that will aid you in improving your brainpower, increasing your energy levels, and taking your working performance to the next level.

  • There are habits that will make your life easier and give you a great body and high performing mind on auto-pilot, and there are others that will do the opposite.
  • In this article, I’m going to share with you 15 healthy eating tips and habits that will help skyrocket your energy levels, heighten your focus, and give you the body you want while also being able to perform at an elite level every day.
  • Read on if you’re ready to make healthy eating part of your lifestyle and not another crash diet.

1. Eat More Protein

Protein is the king of macronutrients. This is why eating protein is one of the best healthy eating tips. Not only does sufficient protein intake aid in the growth of your muscles and help you recover from training better, but it’s also going to keep you fuller throughout the day.

This is going to lead to far fewer binges, improve your overall focus, and prevent you from reaching for sugary foods. Some good sources of lean protein are white meat, low-fat beef, eggs, whey protein, and Greek Yogurt.

Action point: Aim to eat consume around 1g protein per LB of bodyweight. If you weight around 170LBs, you should shoot for around 170g protein per day.

2. Make Breakfast Optional

Breakfast being the most important meal of the day is a complete myth. Food marketers and cereal companies make a lot of money from pushing this message. There are people who are hungry in the morning, but there are many who are not.

You should not be encouraged to eat breakfast if you don’t want to. If you’re very sedentary (office worker, professional) and spend most of your day at your desk, it’s probably a good idea to skip breakfast.

If you’re very active, have a low body fat percentage, and have high energy demands in the morning, it may be a good idea to have breakfast.

Action point: Skip breakfast if you are not hungry. If you are to have breakfast, opt for a high-protein option, such as protein shakes, eggs, and bacon or smoked salmon.

3. Track Your Food

Food tracking is a great habit to build. Studies show that people underestimate their daily caloric intake by as much as 50%.

If you believe you’re consuming 2000 calories per day, you’re probably consuming near 3000. By tracking your food, you are staying accountable to yourself and more importantly, learning what is inside foods. Learning the different macronutrient content (protein, carbs, fats) of food is invaluable.

Action point: Use MyFitnessPal app to track your food 4-5 days per week. Have at least 2 days off as over-tracking can lead to you becoming over-obsessive with food.

4. More Eggs Are Good

Another huge myth is that eggs are bad for your cholesterol. This is false.

Despite fears surrounding egg consumption and high cholesterol, research indicates no measurable increase in heart disease or diabetes risk from eating up to 6–12 eggs per week.

Eggs are a great source of vitamin B, high in anti-oxidants and protein, and as long as you control your overall calories, there is no negative health risk to consuming eggs.

Action point: Eat eggs as you please. Scrambled, poached, or boiled is the best way to cook them.

5. Say ‘No’ to Vegetable Oil

Aside from being highly processed, vegetable oil is composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are heat sensitive. This means that when vegetable oil is used for cooking and subjected heat, the bonds in the PUFAs are shifted and turn into trans fats that cause oxidative stress and wreak havoc on our health.

This can have negative effects on the gut, arteries, white blood cells, and gene replication that can promote brain disorders in the future.

Action point: Cook using traditional fats such as olive oil, peanut oil, and butter.

Coffee: Benefits, nutrition, and risks

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When people think of coffee, they usually think of its ability to provide an energy boost. However, according to some research, it can also offer some other important health benefits, such as a lower risk of liver cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart failure.

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Worldwide, experts estimate that people consume around 2.25 billion cups of coffee per day.

Researchers have looked at the benefits of drinking coffee for conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease. There is evidence to support some, but not all, of these claims.

Coffee contains a number of useful nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), magnesium, potassium, and various phenolic compounds, or antioxidants. Some experts suggest that these and other ingredients in coffee can benefit the human body in various ways.

This article looks at the health benefits of drinking coffee, the evidence supporting those benefits, and the risks of drinking coffee.

The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include:

In the sections below, we cover these benefits in more detail.

1. Coffee and diabetes

  • Coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes.
  • In 2014, researchers who gathered data on over 48,000 people found that those who increased their coffee consumption by at least one cup per day over 4 years had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who did not increase their intake.
  • A meta-analysis from 2017 concluded that people who drank four to six cups of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee each day appeared to have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, including type 2 diabetes.

2. Coffee and Parkinson’s disease

  1. Various studies have shown that caffeine, which is present in coffee and many other beverages, may help protect against Parkinson’s disease.
  2. One team concluded that men who drink over four cups of coffee per day might have a fivefold lower risk of Parkinson’s than those who do not.
  3. In addition, the caffeine in coffee may help control movement in people with Parkinson’s, according to one 2012 study.

The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee – Harvard Health Blog – Harvard Health Publishing

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

What a difference a few years can make. Not long ago, I was learning about the dangers of coffee — how it could raise your blood pressure, make your heart race, impair sleep, and maybe even cause cancer.

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is taking coffee off the possible carcinogen list. And there’s increasing evidence that coffee might actually be good for you. So good that doctors might begin recommending it.

What’s changed? It’s all about the evidence.

Possible health benefits of coffee

Over the last several decades, coffee has been among the most heavily studied dietary components. And the news is mostly good. Moderate coffee consumption (three to four cups per day) has been linked with longer lifespan.

In fact, a November 2015 study in Circulation found that coffee consumption was associated with an 8% to 15% reduction in the risk of death (with larger reductions among those with higher coffee consumption).

Other studies have found that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of

  • cardiovascular disease (including heart attack, heart failure, and stroke)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • uterine and liver cancer
  • cirrhosis
  • gout.

The reason that coffee drinking might be beneficial is unknown. One factor, of course, could be the caffeine, but that can be hard to sort out from the research because many studies do not distinguish whether the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated.

Possible health risks of coffee

A number of studies have linked coffee consumption to health problems, including:

  • Bladder and pancreatic cancer. Studies performed more than 30 years ago suggested a potential link between coffee consumption and cancers of the bladder, pancreas, and possibly others. Since then, better research has largely refuted these concerns. In fact, some of the older studies raising red flags about a cancer link have since been used as examples of “fishing expeditions” and weak research methodology.
  • Esophageal cancer. In its recently released report, the WHO has raised concerns that drinking coffee (or other beverages) at temperatures higher than 149° F may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. However, this is not unique to coffee. And drinking coffee at such high temperatures is unusual among most coffee drinkers in the US.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Studies linking coffee consumption to cardiovascular disease have mostly observed it with higher consumption (well above four cups per day), and some of these studies did not account for smoking, which often accompanies coffee consumption and is, of course, an important cardiovascular disease risk factor on its own. Other concerns include modest and temporary elevations in blood pressure, and fast or abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Bothersome, but mostly minor, side effects. The caffeine in coffee can impair sleep, cause a “speedy” or jittery feeling, and even cause anxiety. Heartburn, frequent urination (because caffeine is a diuretic), and palpitations are problematic for some coffee drinkers.

A new move by the WHO… and others

In a June 2016 report, the WHO officially lifted coffee from the list of potentially carcinogenic foods. It went on to designate coffee as potentially protective against cancer of the uterus and liver.

And the WHO is not the only organization to include coffee in its list of foods that are probably harmless and possibly healthy.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (commissioned by the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture) thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that “moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern…” And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.

Should you drink coffee?

Considering all of this good news about coffee consumption, you might feel tempted to increase your intake or to start drinking it if you don’t already.

Here’s my take:

9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You

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Ah, coffee.

Whether you’re cradling a travel mug on your way to work or
dashing out after spin class to refuel with a skinny latte, it’s hard to
imagine a day without it.

The caffeine perks you up, and there’s something
incredibly soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe. But is drinking
coffee good for you?

Good news: The case for coffee is stronger than ever. Study after study
indicates you could be getting more from your favorite morning beverage
than you thought: Coffee is chock full of substances that may help guard
against conditions more common in women, including Alzheimer’s disease and
heart disease.

“Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about
coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances
that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease,” says
Diane Vizthum, M.S., R.D., research nutritionist for Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine.

Your brew gives you benefits beyond an energy boost. Here are the top ways
coffee can positively impact your health:

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