Coffee drinkers rejoice! Your daily cup o’ Joe has some surprising health benefits and can even help ward off certain diseases.
Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. Half of American adults report drinking coffee every day. If you’re one of them, here’s some happy news: your caffeinated habit has some surprising health benefits.
Learn why you should say thank you to your daily cup o’ Joe.
Coffee nutrition facts
Compared to any other food or beverage, coffee is the greatest source of antioxidants for Americans. Whether regular or decaf, coffee has more than four times the antioxidant count than green tea! The preventative properties of antioxidants help the body battle free radicals, fight inflammation and help rebuild and regenerate cells.
Coffee also contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and chromium.
Just don’t load your coffee with sugar and cream. To save on fat and calories, try drinking your coffee black or using additives sparingly.
Coffee is a brain food
Bottoms up! Study after study has shown consuming coffee every day over time seems to protect men from Parkinson’s disease. Plus, Parkinson’s patients who consumed caffeine showed an overall improvement in symptoms. Why? Caffeine may help interrupt a malfunctioning brain signal in Parkinson’s patients.
Your daily brew can also ward off mental decline like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A 20-year study out of Finland and Sweden found that people who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day were 65 percent less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Coffee also appears to protect against developing multiple sclerosis. A U.S. study learned that non-coffee drinkers were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop MS than those who drank four or more cups per day.
Coffee for disease prevention
Drinking coffee is associated with staving off type 2 diabetes. In a study of 100,000 individuals, Harvard researchers found those who drank an additional cup of coffee a day lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 11 percent. By the same token, those who reduced their coffee intake by one cup per day increased their risk of diabetes by 17 percent.
Coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. In a study of 130,000 individuals, people who reported drinking one to three cups per day were 20 percent less likely to be hospitalized for arrhythmias than non-coffee drinkers. A separate study found that coffee-drinkers were also less likely to have clogged arteries.
Women who drink at least two cups of coffee are also 20 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who drank less or none at all, according to a 2009 study of 83,700 nurses.
Studies have also shown an association between high coffee consumption and protection from certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and liver cancer. In a study of nearly 48,000 men, those who drank six cups of coffee a day had 20 percent less incidence of prostate cancer than those who drank none at all.
To drink or not to drink
Before drastically changing your habits, remember: coffee is a stimulant, and its effects vary person to person.
Don’t force-feed yourself.
“We recommend not drinking more than five cups [of coffee] per day,” says Miriam Nelson, Ph. D., nutrition professor and member of the 2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. According to the DFA, that’s about 400 milligrams of caffeine.
A previous version of this blog was initially posted on healthwaysfit.com.