If you love your morning cup of joe, or you enjoy drinking coffee throughout the day, ignore those buzz-killers who tell you that’s a bad thing. Take a big sip of that espresso and tell them that multiple studies have shown that coffee has numerous health benefits. Here are just a few:
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1. Your brain works better on coffee.
Coffee drinkers know that their morning grumpiness is lifted and their sleepy brain fog clears away. That is not an illusion, or just because the caffeine is an energizer. Research shows that caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter that inhibits the firing of neurons in the brain. So a brain on caffeine is literally working faster and more efficiently! There's a reason that many workplaces provide office coffee for employees!
2. You are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
In a review of multiple survey studies of coffee drinkers, researchers found that people who drank six to seven cups of coffee per day had a 35% lower chance of developing diabetes. For those who drank four to six cups per day, the risk was lowered by 28%. This held regardless of location, sex, or weight. Decaf works just as well, which suggests that the healthy component is not the caffeine, but the antioxidants and minerals in coffee.
3. You are less likely to have symptoms of depression (if you are female).
A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day are 15% less likely to have depression than women who drink one cup or less.
4. You are less likely to develop certain cancers, and have a healthier liver.
Compared to non-coffee drinkers, those who drink coffee are less likely to develop some cancers, including colorectal, endometrial and breast cancer. Coffee also seems to have a protective function for the liver, as coffee drinkers are 40% less likely to get liver cancer and 80% less likely to develop liver cirrhosis.
5. You are much less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Multiple studies have concluded that coffee drinkers are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The protective factor here appears to be the caffeine, which has led to research on new caffeine-based drugs to treat Parkinson’s.
6. You have some protection against the effects of aging.
Animal research suggests that caffeine reduces the muscle weakening that comes with age. It also appears to fight the brain inflammation that appears before Alzheimers and other cognitive disorders develop.
7. Your metabolism work faster, and burns more fat.
Ever notice that “fat-burning” supplements contain large amounts of caffeine? There is a good reason for that. The energizing effects of caffeine go all the way to the metabolism, making it work faster. Two different analyses of multiple studies show that caffeine increases the effectiveness of exercise by 11-12 per cent.
8. You are taking in multiple nutrients, including a large amount of antioxidants.
Coffee is not just water and caffeine! Coffee is a good source of several of the B vitamins, as well as the elements potassium and manganese. It also packs a high dose of antioxidants--in fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the western diet, more than any fruit or vegetable.
Of course, coffee affects different people in different ways. For some it causes a stomach upset with just one cup. For others, the caffeine is too strong and interferes with sleep even when they stop drinking it many hours before bedtime. If you don’t like coffee, the healthy aspects are not an argument to make yourself drink it! In fact, black tea is often gentler to the system and contains plenty of caffeine and antioxidants as well.
Also, if your main source of coffee is in high-calorie coffee drinks like mochas and lattes, the good effects are going to be countered by the sugar and calorie load. The closer to plain that you can drink your coffee, the better the effects will be.
But if you think of your coffee fix as a guilty pleasure, or something you need to stop indulging in, leave off the worrying and enjoy. Coffee really is good for you!
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