Who doesn’t love coffee? Whether in pumpkin spice latte form or brewed according to the latest, excruciatingly detailed specifications, it seems to have something for everyone. Including, it seems, those who want to improve their health.
It turns out that while other beverages have been grabbing all the health food glory, coffee has been quietly saving your life. That might seem a bit overblown, but as Healthy Holistic Living explains, you won’t believe all the good that two cups of coffee a day can do for you.
There’s more to coffee than a shot of caffeine in some hot water. It contains a fair amount of several necessary nutrients, including Riboflavin, Vitamin B5, and Manganese. More importantly, it contains a healthy amount of antioxidants—enough, in fact to be a better source of antioxidants for the regular coffee drinker than the combined amount of vegetables and fruits they typically consume.
And while that caffeine may be helpful in getting you out the door and through your morning, it’s also busy helping your body in other ways. Caffeine is linked to a boost in brain function, including reaction time and improved mood. It can also boost metabolism by as much as 11% and exercise performance by 11-12%.
Most surprising, however, is the way in which coffee is associated with a lower risk of disease. Researchers have found that regular coffee drinkers:
- Have as much as a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Are less likely to get dementia in old age, and have a 32-60% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
- Are 23-67% less likely to become diabetic, with the risk of type 2 diabetes reducing by about 7% with each daily cup of coffee.
- Are 84% less likely to develop Cirrhosis of the liver. (Those who drink four or more cups per day were least likely to get the disease.)
- Are 40% less likely to develop liver cancer.
- Have a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. In fact, those who drink four or more cups a day were found to be 53% less likely to commit suicide.
Does it sound like coffee helps you live longer? That’s because it does. In a 2012 study from the New England Journal of Medicine, regular coffee drinkers appeared to live longer, with those aged 50 to 71 who drank 4-5 cups per day being 12-16% less likely to die.
Of course, for all those benefits, there remain some risks—especially for those prone to anxiety, high blood pressure, or sleeplessness. The caffeine in coffee can leave people jittery and nervous and cause heart palpitations and difficulty sleeping. For those who need to limit caffeine, whether due to pregnancy, heart problems, insomnia, or anxiety issues, the benefits of coffee don’t outweigh the risk.
And there is the undeniable fact that caffeine is an addictive substance. It’s possible to build a tolerance to it and thereby diminish the positive effects (or require a larger dose to get the same result). And withdrawal can cause headaches, irritability, and tiredness. Unfortunately, though decaffeinated coffee can mitigate the addiction problem, it can also diminish the health benefits.
But whether you’re drinking it for enjoyment, for the brain boost, or for the health benefits, at least you have a new excuse for your morning coffee break. Just tell people it’s for your health.