Is coffee bad for you? The amazing health benefits of coffee provide more than enough ammo to fire back at those who believe that coffee drinkers are doomed to suffer dire consequences from consuming 'Satan's brew.'
That's just one of the descriptions it was given in early 17th century Europe by those who didn't know what to make of the newly introduced beverage.
It was dark, bold, bitter and caused an immediate burst of energy - it was absolutely sinful!
Coffee was actually condemned by the clergy of Venice, Italy. After all, anything that good had to be bad for you! Fortunately, Pope Clement VIII had a cup, to see what all the fuss was about. He enjoyed it so much that he approved it for his flock. Coffee was then consumed openly and without remorse or shame.
Fast forward to the 21st Century - more than 500 billion cups of coffee are poured every year, around the globe! 146 billion cups in the U.S.!
Is Coffee Good For You?
- Skin Cancer Prevention - More than 3 cups per day lowers the risk of the development of basal cell carcinoma, according to a research study in 2012.
- Prostate Cancer Risk Lowered - Men who drink four or more cups of coffee each day may have a reduction in the risk of the progression of existing prostate cancer or the recurrence of prostate cancer post successful treatment.
- Stroke Risk Reduced - The results of a study in Japan finds a 20% reduction in the risk of stroke in regular coffee drinkers compared to those who completely abstain from coffee.
- Tinnitus Avoided - The American Journal of Medicine published an article concerning only women and tinnitus. The incidence of tinnitus in women is directly correlated to caffeinated coffee consumption. Tinnitus decreases as caffeine intake increases.
- Gout Risk Lowered In Men - Coffee lowers the blood's uric acid levels. Drinking up to 6 cups per day may lower the risk in men for developing gout.
- Endometrial Cancer Risk Reduced - It's the most common type of cancer of the female reproduction system in the U.S. One in every 37 women are treated for it at some stage of their lives. The risk of developing this medical issue is cut by 20% just by having 3-4 cups of coffee each day.
- Parkinson's Disease Delay Or Treatment - High caffeine intake significantly reduces the likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease. For those who already have it, caffeine might help in the control of movements according to a study by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center that was published in the Neurology Journal.
- Weight Loss - Unprocessed coffee beans, in particular, increase metabolism and burn fat calories. It's a pleasant way for most people to speed up weight loss, as they enjoy a cup of java. There are only 0 - 5 calories in coffee (black)! So the question, Is coffee fattening? comes down to a solid no.
The CGA in coffee slows vision deterioration that's caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, in this context, is oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) to the retina.
The retina is highly prone to hypoxia because eye tissue is extremely active. Just consider for a moment all of the movements your eyes make as you're reading this! The tissue of the retinas use up oxygen faster than any other organ, including the brain! Oxidative stress contributes to the development of eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
It's also the leading cause of diabetic retinopathy, a too-common eye disease of diabetics and the primary cause of blindness in adults in the U.S. As many as 45% of diabetics in the U.S. have some degree of retinopathy.
Dementia & Alzheimers
A Finnish study found that drinking 3-5 cups each day in middle years can translate into a 65% decrease in the risk of Alzheimers and Dementia later on in life. Tea drinkers also took part in the study. You guessed it; no similar association was found. Pour another cup of coffee!
Caffeine may help prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque that contributes to the onset and progression of Alzheimers. Also, coffee is associated with the decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, which is a risk factor for dementia - so the risk of developing dementia is also lowered.
In a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, 50,000 women were tracked for about a decade. The depression risk was 20% lower in the women who consumed 4 8 oz. cups every day.
In a separate study, adults who drank 2-4 8 oz cups of caffeinated coffee each day were about 50% less apt to attempt suicide compared to decaf coffee drinkers or those who didn't drink any amount of coffee.
Why? There's speculation that long-term high-caffeine intake might elevate the production of dopamine and similar 'feel good' hormones. Time for another cup?
Research by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard School of Public Health concludes that drinking 4 8 oz. cups per day results in significantly improved heart health, with an 11% lower risk of cardiac arrest. As little as 2 8 oz. cups of caffeinated coffee may be enough to show improvement in circulation when idle.
Is Coffee Bad For Your Liver?
Coffee may help combat alcohol-related cirrhosis. More research is needed to determine exactly what it is. Decaf coffee is known to lower liver enzyme levels, so it's likely not associated with the caffeine levels.
What have studies concluded so far? More than two 8oz caffeinated coffees a day helps protect against liver diseases like cirrhosis. Consumers of alcohol can have as much as a 22% lowered risk of cirrhosis, according to the results of a study at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in California that were published in Hepatology (April/2014).
The study lends even more hope with its findings that two or more 8oz cups daily can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by an incredible 66%!
A study led by Dr. La Vecchia in Milan, Italy concludes that drinking three 8oz cups each day reduces the risk of liver cancer by more than 50%. Even those who drink less are cutting the risk by up to 40%. Have another cup!
Type 2 Diabetes
Onset Prevented or Delayed - Drinking six 8oz cups per day produces a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a Harvard School of Public Health review of 28 correlated studies.
Of course, even the greatest coffee lovers aren't likely to consume that high quantity. But, there are very promising results even for the average coffee drinker.
Increasing caffeine intake by just one 8oz cup each day may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 11%. The bad news for coffee drinkers? Decreasing coffee intake by as little as one cup per day increased the risk of the onset of Type 2 Diabetes by 17%!
Other Possible Benefits
- Help the body to fully utilize insulin
- Shield insulin-producing cells
- Organ tissue damage from hypoxia
- Combat inflammation that leads to diabetes related complications
- Reduce the toxic accumulation of abnormal protein deposits (amyloid fibrils) found in type 2 diabetes because of the Caffeic acid in coffee. Some researchers suspect that decaf might be even more beneficial than regular coffee.
SEE ALSO: Can Coffee Cause Diarrhea?
Both long-term and short-term memory may benefit from coffee consumption.
It only takes about 200 mg of caffeine per day (two 8oz cups) to improve long-term memory. As for short-term memory, it only takes half that dosage of caffeine to cause a surge in brain activity. As an added bonus, reaction time is better, too!
Studies have shown there's absolutely no change in brain activity in the research subjects who took a placebo. So, perhaps it's safe to draw the added conclusion that 'mind over matter' is no substitute for caffeine when it comes to timed memory-task performance.
Studying for a test? Pour a cup or two! Why not? If the caffeine doesn't help your memory, it will at least provide the energy boost needed to study longer!
Suddenly feel like drinking a cup of coffee? Check out our Kona coffee review to learn about quality Hawaiian coffee.
Coffee Drinkers Are Likely To Live Longer
The profile of a coffee drinker doesn't appear healthy. They're described as having a much higher tendency to smoke, dine on red meat and sit back on the couch. Yet, they also have a much lower risk of dying from chronic health issues like heart disease and diabetes. How did THAT happen? It can't be true!
Research findings published in 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed this after following a study group of coffee drinkers aged 50 - 71 for more than ten years. Each participant drank a minimum of one cup of coffee per day.
Antioxidants In Coffee
Contrary to popular belief, such a healthful impact from coffee is probably not related to the caffeine content. Results remained consistent, even when the coffee was decaffeinated. Most people would wrongly list caffeine as the top ingredient in coffee. Yet, a research group, led by Chang Y. Lee, at Cornell University at Ithaca, N.Y., concludes that raw coffee has only 1% caffeine.
However, the green coffee beans have 7-9% of a phenomenally beneficial antioxidant known as CGA, or chlorogenic acid. Found almost exclusively in coffee, it's credited for lowering blood pressure, increasing metabolism, improving circulation and aiding in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
CGA content is decreased through the roasting process.
In addition to CGA, there are about 1,000 more antioxidants present in raw coffee beans. And, the roasting process creates several hundred more! Coffee is at the top of the list as the greatest antioxidant source in American diets.
Does it have more antioxidants than green tea? Cocoa? Yes. And, yes! The content level is far beyond that of any other food, according to Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton.
Is There Any End To The Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee?
Probably not! There are plenty of studies yet to be initiated and several that are currently in progress pertaining to coffee, caffeine and the incredibly abundant variety of antioxidants. The findings of most studies to date are overwhelmingly supportive of coffee addicts!