Ever since Ethiopian monks (so the legend goes) began brewing a particular tropical shrub seed back in the 13th century, coffee has been a coveted beverage enjoyed by billions of people around the globe. According to Business Insider, after crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity in the world (and that includes natural gas, gold, sugar and corn).
Because of its addictive qualities, it was assumed that coffee must be bad for your health and doctors regularly counseled patients to abstain from drinking their favorite elixir as much as possible.
Then scientists began to study the long term effects of coffee consumption, and in many cases, the results of their studies demonstrated how beneficial coffee could actually be for those of us who like our cup of joe each day. Here are some of the results of those studies:
Coffee Helps Us Hydrate
For years, it was thought that coffee was a diuretic that could cause dehydration. New studies, however, conclude that moderate coffee consumption has similar hydrating properties as water.
Coffee May Help with Weight Loss
Having a cup of coffee before a meal, just like any low calorie liquid, helps you feel full quicker and coffee may increase your metabolic rate and break down fat cells between meals.
Coffee May Lower Susceptibility to Depression
A study on women in 1996 found that coffee can lower rates of depression.
Coffee Alleviates Headaches, Migraines and Other Pain
The caffeine in coffee has a vasoconstrictor effect on the brain which not only can help migraine symptoms, but can be beneficial as an analgesic.
Coffee May Increases Cognitive Function & Memory
We all know coffee is a great “pick-me-upper” but there is now evidence that coffee (specifically caffeine) can help increase cognitive performance among women, especially those over 80.
In a study done just last year at John Hopkins University, the caffeine in a single cup of coffee was shown to increase memory.
Coffee May Help Asthma Sufferers
While drinking coffee during an asthma attack will likely do very little, there isresearch that shows a relationship between the amount of coffee consumed and a lower prevalence of asthma symptoms.
Coffee May Lower the Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease
For those of us over the age of 50, especially for those who have a family history of Alzheimer’s, new research which indicates there may be a lower risk of AD among coffee drinkers is something to celebrate. According to the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), the caffeine and polyphenol content in coffee prevent the build-up of protein causing plaque in the brain.
There is additional research that comes to similar conclusions.
Coffee May Lower the Risks of Parkinson’s Disease
A study of a men conducted in 2000 demonstrated that the incidence of Parkinson ’s disease declined consistently with the increase consumption of coffee. Once again, it appears caffeine was the agent responsible for the decrease in risk.
Coffee May Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Almost 26% of seniors (11.8 million) have type 2 diabetes and the numbers are growing. While a proper diet along with exercise plays a primary role in reducing the risk of diabetes, there is good news for coffee drinkers. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Assoc. in 2005, supports the hypothesis that regular coffee consumption is associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Coffee May Lower Risks of Heart Disease & Stroke
Recent research demonstrates that caffeinated coffee consumption not only reduced the risk of cardiovascular heart disease, but also reduced risks of heart valve disease. Additional research concluded that green tea and coffee consumption may reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Coffee May Reduce Many Cancer Risks
The Obligatory Warning
While drinking up to six cups of coffee a day has not been shown to cause any negative effects for the average person, if you struggle to control your blood pressure or blood sugar, you should talk to your doctor about your coffee consumption. Likewise, if you are over anxious or have trouble sleeping, too much coffee could be the culprit.
Finally, if you have high cholesterol, you should brew your coffee using a paper filter. It seems that certain oils, which are trapped by a paper filter, may lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol levels. So if you’re like me, say good-bye to your French press or metal filter!
For many of us, it’s hard to imagine getting up in the morning without smelling the alluring scent of fresh brewed coffee, let alone, the kick start it gives you when you need it most. Now there’s no reason to feel any guilt about it, go ahead and drink to your health!
A new study just published in the European Journal of Nutrition concludes that coffee can help protect our DNA!