Contrary to the popular notion, coffee is actually very healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. The studies shows that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of serious disease. Here are the 7 health benefits of coffee that have been confirmed in actual human studies.
1. Coffee can improve energy levels and make you smarter
coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. This is because it contains a stimulant called caffeine, which is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the blood stream and from there it travels into the brain. In the brain, caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine and when that happens, the amounts of other neurotransmitter like norepinephrine and dopamine actually increase, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.
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.
2. The caffeine can drastically improve physical performance
caffeine stimulates the nervous system causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat, but caffeine also increase epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in the blood. This is the fight or flight hormone designed to make our bodies ready for intense physical exertion. Caffeine makes fat cells break down, releasing them into the blood as free fatty acids and making them available as fuel. Given these effects, it is not spurring to see that caffeine can improve physical performance by 11-12% on average. Because of this, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.
3. There are essential nutrients in coffee
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 Riboflavin (vitamin B2) 11% of the RDA, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 6% of the RDA, manganese and potassium 3% 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.
4. Coffee may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by elevated blood sugar level 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. The studies show that people who drink the most coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting this disease, one study showing a reduction as high as 67%
5. Caffeine May Lower The Risk of Parkinson’s
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%. 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.
6. Coffee Appears to Have Protective Effects on The Liver
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 and it turns out that coffee may protect against cirrhosis. People who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, which can be caused by several diseases that affect the liver.
7. Coffee May Help You Live Longer
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 premature 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. 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 . Several other studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of premature death. It is however important to note that coffee can be addictive due to the caffeine content. If you love coffee but want to stay away from its addictive effect, you can always opt for the decaffeinated coffee. This should give you as much benefit as well in the most cases.
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