Medical professionals counsel their patients to drink less coffee. What is not adequately addressed is that coffee isn’t the problem; it is excessive amounts of caffeine. Coffee, and to some extent, caffeine, have copious amounts of health benefits. Excessive caffeine does have detrimental effects on the body, however. The recommended amount of caffeine per day is 400 milligrams. That is the equivalent of four 8 oz cups of brewed coffee each day. As long as you aren’t exceeding that amount, you do not run the risk of harming your health. If you love coffee and need more than four cups per day, switch to decaf so you can enjoy the benefits without going overboard on caffeine.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the twenty-five health benefits to drinking coffee.
1) Coffee can help with weight loss.
Caffeine, which is a component in coffee, is a stimulant. Stimulants basically serve as a way to jump-start the body. The heart starts pumping, your mind becomes alert, you get a boost in energy levels, and your blood pressure increases. In other words, everything in your body is now working and moving a little bit faster.
This increase in speed aids in weight loss. Stimulants can aid with weight loss in two ways. First, they can speed up your metabolism and help your body burn calories faster. Secondly, stimulants act as an appetite suppressant and make you feel less hungry. Combine those together, and you have a recipe for weight loss. A prime example of this is ADHD meds since weight loss is sometimes a side effect for those who take ADHD medication. Those meds control those symptoms through the use of stimulants.
British researchers have discovered that coffee helps burn what is called “brown fat.” Brown fat generates heat as it burns off. That release of heat helps burn calories. Further studies are required to see how much this burns in the long-term, but this is additional evidence of coffee having a benefit.
2) Coffee can help make your workout and physical performance
Coffee can help you with those 6 AM workouts, or any time of day for that matter. Not only does a cup of coffee before heading to the gym help you feel more alert and ready to take on the world, but it also helps prep your whole body for your workout. Research has also shown that drinking a cup of coffee before a workout helps your muscles and gives you a better workout. Coffee helps your muscles burn more fat quickly by reversing their glycogen storage. To put that plainly, that means your muscles have more time before they get to the point of fatigue. The longer it takes to fatigue your muscles, the longer your workout can be. A longer workout gives you more time to burn calories and meet your fitness goals.
Coffee also stimulates the nervous system and raises your levels of adrenaline. These prepare your body for the type of physical exertion you get from a rigorous workout. Caffeine also helps your fat cells break down, which gives your body more fuel for the workout. Studies have shown an increased workout performance of 11-12%.
: Studies show that coffee helps your muscles, which allows you to have a longer and more productive workout. It also helps encourage fat cells to break down, which provides the body with more fuel for your workout.Bottom line
3) Coffee contains essential nutrients
Coffee beans are full of essential vitamins that we need in our diet. These nutrients are found in the coffee beans themselves and are not disrupted by or removed from the beans during processing. Our modern diets are not balanced and can be lacking in nutrients. As much coffee as we consume, the nutrients that are in the beans starts to add up. These are some of the nutrients we consume in an 8-ounce cup of coffee:
- Magnesium & niacin (Vitamin B3)- 2% of your RDI
- Manganese & potassium- 3% of your RDI
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)- 6% of your RDI
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)- 11% of your RDI
RDI=Reference Daily Intake
: Coffee contains valuable nutrients that are needed in our diet. Daily intake of coffee can help with deficiencies in those areas.Bottom Line
4) Coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants
Coffee beans are full of naturally occurring antioxidants. Some studies surmise that coffee may contain more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. This doesn’t mean cut out the fruits and vegetables and replace them with coffee. It simply means coffee is an integral part of one’s diet and can help provide us with more antioxidants. For those of us who eat a traditional Western diet, that diet can be low on nutrients. Coffee can help supplement any gaps in our diet. We should still eat all the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, as shown in the food pyramid. Dates, cranberries, blueberries, and red grapes are excellent sources of antioxidants.
You can reap the benefits of antioxidants from both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
An antioxidant is a compound that slows down or stops the oxidation process in the body. Oxidation produces what are called free radicals. Free radicals set off chain reactions that can damage the cells and DNA in the body. When cells or DNA get damaged, that’s when diseases like cancer can occur.
Coffee is actually the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. The antioxidant that scientists have studied is CGA (chlorogenic acids). This antioxidant has shown that it can help sugar levels, blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer.
Coffee helps provide the body with antioxidants, which helps fight off disease and cell damage.Bottom Line:
5) Coffee can help lower certain types of cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world. According to WHO, cancer ranks #2 for deaths worldwide when all cancers are combined together. In the US, if you combine all cancer deaths into one category, it is also the #2 cause of death, according to Medical News Today.
According to studies, liver cancer and colorectal cancer rates are lower in coffee drinkers. The why is not entirely known, nor is it clear why coffee has an effect on these cancers and not others. More studies need to be done to get a complete grasp on the exact details. It could be linked to the high level of antioxidants in the drink.
More studies are in the works to show if coffee can produce these same effects on other types of cancers. So far, coffee has shown promise with prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, as well as some cancers of the mouth and throat.
Coffee was once considered a potential carcinogen by some doctors and scientists. Since close to 90% of the public consumes coffee, it’s a good thing that has been disproven.
While the reasoning may not be apparent, coffee has been linked to lower cancer rates, especially liver cancer and colorectal cancer.Bottom Line:
6) Coffee can lower the risk of stroke
Contrary to popular belief, not only does coffee not cause heart disease or contribute to stroke, it can actually lower your risk of stroke. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers have up to a 20% lower risk of stroke than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee can raise blood pressure, but the amount it increases one’s pressure is negligible. Increased blood pressure is one of the causes of stroke. But if coffee consumption barely raises one’s blood pressure, it can not be definitively linked to stroke risk.
High blood pressure also can affect one’s heart, thus the previous links between coffee and heart disease. However, additional research shows that link is not valid. Coffee does increase one’s blood pressure but not enough to have it affect one’s heart. Coffee raises one’s blood pressure by 3-4 mg/Hg, which is not significant. This pressure boost also dissipates the more often you drink coffee.
If you are a person who suffers from chronic high blood pressure, keep this in mind when you drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages. While the amount your pressure is raised by is minimal, decaf may be a better choice.
How coffee lowers one’s risk is thought to be linked to what the beverage does to your cholesterol levels. Coffee can reduce rates of bad cholesterol in your blood. This leads to less plaque buildup in your arteries, therefore a lower risk for stroke.
Coffee does not raise one’s stroke risk; it may actually decrease it by lowering cholesterol. Coffee also does not increase one’s risk for heart disease and only has a temporary, negligible elevation in one’s blood pressure.Bottom Line:
7) Coffee can help those with depression and lower their risk of suicide
Depression is a serious disease that affects at least 15% of our population. Coffee can help combat some of the feelings of depression. Coffee has a positive effect on one’s mood. It’s why a large swath of the country drink at least one cup each morning to kickstart our day. So it isn’t too far of a reach to think that what many of us feel each day from our morning cup of coffee could help someone suffering from depression. This statistic is quite prominent in women, showing women who drink four or more cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to suffer from depression.
A significant link has also been found between coffee and suicide risk, as well. 86,00 nurses were studied over the course of ten years for a study. The coffee drinkers had a lower risk of suicide. Nursing is a high stress profession, and suicide rates among female nurses are higher than female rates in the general population.
It is cautioned to not go overboard with using caffeine to alleviate symptoms of depression. Too much caffeine can trigger feelings of anxiety and other health issues, which in turn can trigger a depressive episode. Drinking coffee in moderation is good for depression, but too much will make depression worse.
Moderate amounts of caffeine can help those who suffer with feelings of depression. However, make sure not to drink too much as that could trigger other health issues and a depressive episode.Bottom Line:
8) Coffee can protect your liver
Studies have shown that coffee can help protect the liver from cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is one of the complications of liver disease. In a person with cirrhosis, the cells of the liver are destroyed, and irreversible scar tissue is formed. There is no cure for cirrhosis. Severe cases can lead to death in less than two years if no liver donor is found. Cirrhosis can be caused by multiple different diseases such as hepatitis, fatty liver disease, or alcoholism.
However, studies have shown that coffee can help protect your liver from cirrhosis. One study showed that people who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had up to an 80% lower risk for the disease. While this does not mean someone should engage in any of the risky behaviors that cause cirrhosis, this does give hope to those who suffer from liver conditions that could eventually cause cirrhosis.
: Coffee can help protect your liver from cirrhosis. People who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had up to an 80% reduced risk for cirrhosis.Bottom Line
9) Coffee can lower your risk for Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimers disease
Multiple studies now show that drinking coffee links to reduced risks of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimers. Researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute wanted to figure why. They decided to test a variety of roasts of coffee and see what results they could get. What they found was that phenylindanes, which are produced during the roasting process, prevent two compounds that are critical to creating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's from clumping together to form those diseases. As dementia is also caused by brain cell death like Alzheimer's, it reasons that it as well can benefit from coffee consumption.
Separate studies have been done on how coffee impacts dementia and Alzheimers exclusively. Those studies had not looked into the why as much as the previous study did, but they also found positive results. For some, the reduction of risk from these diseases was as high as 65% over the course of their life. Those who drank 3-5 cups of coffee per day saw reduced risks from these diseases. No one knew quite why they got these results, but antioxidants were thought to play a role.
Coffee can reduce rates of dementia, Alzheimers, and Parkinson’s disease. Some coffee drinkers saw a reduction of up to 65% in their risk for disease. Both antioxidants and phenylindanes are thought to be why these rates are reduced.Bottom Line:
10) Coffee can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a global health problem that affects millions of people across the globe. Type 2 diabetes varies from Type 1, which is a condition one is born with. Type 2 develops over time and can be caused by a wide range of issues such as obesity, lack of activity, and even insulin resistance.
It has been found that time and time again, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Researchers honestly do not know why. No study has determined a definitive reason why this happens. But every study comes back with the same information; coffee can lower risks anywhere from 23% to 67% depending upon the survey.
Researchers do not have a definitive reason why, but coffee lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes.Bottom Line:
11) Coffee boosts your energy levels
This is one that should go without saying, but coffee gives your energy levels a big boost. Coffee beans contain the stimulant caffeine, which jolts your body and body into a state of alertness.
What no one really talks about is how caffeine does this to your system. After you drink your cup of coffee, the caffeine enters your bloodstream and makes its way to your brain. Once in your brain, it blocks a specific neurotransmitter called adenosine. When this neurotransmitter is blocked, other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, pick up their pace. This leads to more neurons firing in your brain, which is the feeling of alertness you get from caffeine.
: Coffee and caffeine work to block adenosine in your brain, which leads to other neurotransmitters picking up the pace. This increased firing of the neurotransmitters leads to the alert feeling one gets from a cup of coffee.Bottom Line
12) Coffee can enhance your memory
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have conducted a study that conclusively shows that coffee can help with memory retention. Researchers looked for participants that normally did not ingest caffeinated products. Subjects were given either a placebo or a caffeine pill five minutes after viewing a series of images. The next day, the subjects were presented with more images. Some they had seen the day before,others were similar, but not identical, to images from the day before. The group that had taken the caffeine pills were more accurate at recalling what they had seen the day before and adequately identifying the similar items versus the placebo group. By testing the participants' pattern separation abilities, researchers were able to show that caffeine and coffee can help deeper levels of memory retention.
This backs up other studies that have been conducted regarding caffeine and memory. While those studied different types of variables, all were looking at whether there was a positive correlation between coffee and memory. All have noted that there is.
Coffee can help boost memory function and retention, which has been proven in multiple studies.Bottom Line:
13) Coffee may increase your longevity
Since coffee and caffeine help prevent or slow down the progressions of so many different diseases, it should come as no surprise that coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers. Study after study backs this up. Drinking coffee could improve your mortality by as much as 20%. It has even been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. There are examples of this in multiple medical journals across the globe.
The results were pronounced in a study of people with Type 2 diabetes. Evidence had already shown that coffee could help with their condition. But this study showed that it could also help with their mortality rates.
Coffee helps with a whole host of conditions and may actually help you live longer.Bottom Line:
14) Coffee can help your fiber intake
Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet via the foods they eat. If you drink coffee, you are helping your fiber intake levels. One 8 oz cup of coffee contains 1.5 grams of fiber. If you are a heavier coffee drinker, think how much fiber you are adding to your diet each day!
The recommended amount of fiber that a person should have each day ranges between 25-38 grams. However, people are consuming maybe 15 grams each day. Fiber helps the body with an array of functions, including helping with food absorption and helping regulate the movement of food out of the digestive system.
Coffee contains fiber, which is a necessary component of a healthy diet.Bottom Line:
15) Coffee drinkers have stronger DNA
There are now published studies that show that coffee drinkers have stronger strands of DNA. What exactly does it mean to have stronger strands of DNA?
Nearly every cell in the human body has DNA. DNA can also be found in the mitochondria of humans, as well. Inside those structures is where you will find DNA. Our DNA is what tells each cell what type it is going to become. DNA is basically what constructs the human body.
From time to time, DNA breaks. A break can affect that cell and its growth and development. When a cell is broken, it will try to repair itself. During that repair process is where things can go wrong. If the DNA repair doesn’t go well, the cell will be fixed but not restored to its original form. It can then go rogue and start to damage the other cells around it. These breaks and incorrect repairs are one of the things that can cause cancer.
: Coffee drinkers have stronger DNA and experience fewer DNA strand breaks.Bottom Line
16) Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of MS
MS stands for Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a disease of the nervous system. In a patient with MS, that person’s immune system start attacking the myelin that surrounds their nerve fibers. As the myelin breaks down, this causes communication problems with that person’s brain and the rest of their body. MS can cause a person to have issues with everything from walking to vision and numbness in their limbs.
Research now shows that individuals who drink at least four cups of coffee per day can help protect themselves against MS and MS flare-ups. Caffeine has neuroprotective properties that help protect the body from the onset of the disease.
The neuroprotective properties in caffeine has been shown to protect individuals from the onset of MS symptoms.Bottom Line:
17) Coffee lowers the risk of gout in men
Gout is a form of arthritis. An attack can happen at any time and will come out of nowhere. People have woken up in the middle of the night to the sensation of joint around their big toe on fire. The joint will feel hot and the area will be so sensitive that it can be bothered by even a bedsheet. The symptoms for gout can come and go, but the feeling of a flare-up can linger for a while.
While gout can affect anyone, it is more commonly seen in men. Once women reach age 60, then the risk for gout levels out a bit. A study of 50,000 men showed that coffee drinkers had lower incidents of gout.
Bottom Line: Coffee has shown to help lower the incidents of gout in males with the condition.
18) Coffee can prevent cavities and periodontal disease
There is a tendency from dentists to discourage patients away from coffee. They to do this because of the potential of coffee to stain a person’s teeth. However, researchers in Brazil have found a benefit of coffee for your teeth. Strong black coffee can actually kill bacteria in the mouth that can cause tooth decay. As an FYI, if you add sugar, cream, or other flavorings to your coffee, you negate this benefit. But if you are a black coffee drinker, this is good news for you!
In addition to cavities, coffee can help with periodontal disease. As part of a study done by the VA Department, results showed that males who consumed more coffee actually had less bone loss from periodontal disease. This study does not specify that one had to only drink black coffee to reap the benefits.
Bottom Line: Black coffee can kill the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for tooth decay, and coffee consumption can help stave off bone loss from periodontal disease.
19) Coffee may protect against melanoma
Melanoma is a very common but very deadly type of skin cancer. It occurs when melanocytes (this is what gives skin its dark color or tan) begin to grow out of control. Melanoma is a common problem with moles that are found on the human body. This type of cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the US.
Studies have now shown that a person’s melanoma risk decreases with each cup of coffee consumed. This is great news since this cancer is quite common.
Bottom Line: Coffee consumption has been linked to a person’s risk for melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer.
20) Coffee can help prevent retinal damage
Researchers at Cornell University have proven that coffee plays a role in helping our retinas. Their study found that coffee helps protect our retinas from oxidative stress. One of the antioxidants in the coffee bean, chlorogenic acid, is what aids our retinas.
Our retinas are located on the back of the eye near the optic nerve. They help convert light to neural signals, and then sends those signals to the brain for recognition. If they are damaged, a person is going to have a considerable impact on their ability to see.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is a disruption in the balance of the pro-oxidant system and the anti-oxidant system. Oxidative stress is one of the contributing factors to eye diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion.
Bottom Line: Coffee, specifically chlorogenic acid, which is found in coffee beans, is beneficial in preventing oxidative stress in our retinas. Oxidative stress is responsible for a loss of or compromised vision in multiple different eye conditions.
21) Coffee can reduce your risk of heart attack
While it was discussed earlier in this article, the benefits that coffee can have on one’s stroke risk, a study now shows that coffee can also have an effect on one’s heart attack risk. Specifically, it shows a positive impact on those who have already suffered a previous heart attack.
Individuals who had already had one AMI (aka acute myocardial infarction, which is the medical term for a heart attack) who drink two cups of coffee or more per day had a lower risk of another AMI. Even those who drink smaller amounts of coffee showed a reduction in their rate of a repeat AMI. But the most significant decrease was seen in the two cups or more per day group.
Bottom Line: Coffee can help reduce one’s risk for a heart attack; it is especially helpful for those who have already had one heart attack.
22) Daily Coffee consumption is now in the USDA’s dietary guidelines
In 2015, the USDA updated its dietary guidelines. This is done periodically to adjust for new scientific information and habits of the public. For the first time ever, the USDA added daily recommended coffee consumption to its guidelines. It’s not that the USDA didn’t realize until 2015 that the public consumes a great deal of coffee. It’s just that for the first time, they recognized the vast amount of research that shows coffee in moderate amounts is good for the body. You can read the full report here. As an FYI, the USDA says that adding sugars, creamers, and flavors to your cup of coffee does start to negate those benefits.
Bottom Line: Coffee consumption is now suggested by the USDA as a beneficial part of our diets.
23) Coffee helps you get along with your co-workers better
Like some of the other points mentioned in this article, this seems like something that would be common sense. Coffee is known to make one more alert and improve your mood. If you are in a better mood, it should go without saying that you would get along with your co-workers better. There is now a study to back that up.
The Journal of Psychopharmacology has done the research to back up this point by studying workplaces that drink coffee versus workplaces that do not. Workers in workplaces that consume coffee have a more positive view of themselves, which led to more harmony in the workplace. In these same workplaces, employees were more likely to engage in group activities in the workplace. Those same feelings were not replicated in workplaces that did not drink coffee.
Bottom Line: Workplaces that have employees who consume coffee have co-workers who get along better and engage in more group workplace activities.
24) Coffee can lower your risk of heart disease
Coffee has already proven effective at lowering or preventing both heart attacks and strokes. It should come as no surprise that it is also effective with heart disease as well. Researchers in both Korea and Brazil returned studies with very positive results linking caffeine to the prevention of heart disease. This study from the UK showed people drinking up to 25 cups per day did not experience hardening of the arteries. While it may not cause a hardening of the arteries, drinking 25 cups of coffee per day could cause other issues, so it should be avoided. Past studies had not returned positive results for coffee and heart disease, but newer studies are controlling for other factors and getting better results.
Past studies were not taking into account other habits an individual may have that could be detrimental to their heart, like smoking and not exercising. These new studies take these details into consideration.
Bottom Line: Coffee, even in large daily quantities, does not cause heart disease as previously thought. Recent studies now show that coffee can help prevent heart disease.
25) Coffee can help get with cellulite and dry skin
Coffee scrubs have shown promise for helping one rid themself, or at least reduce, the appearance of cellulite dimples. These scrubs can be homemade or purchased from stores. It should be noted that cellulite is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of. But coffee scrubs have shown promise, and the products are now being studied for additional efficacy.
Recent studies have shown that coffee can help reduce cellulite in a couple of different ways. Coffee can help dilate the blood vessels, which helps reduce the appearance of cellulite. The antioxidants present in coffee and its grounds are also good for the skin, Improving the skin’s appearance can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite. The actual act of massaging the coffee grinds into one’s skin could also be a contributing factor. The massaging action can assist in lymphatic drainage and stretch the skin, which also improves the appearance of cellulite. The improvement that some users are seeing could be from the exfoliation that the coffee grounds are providing their skin. Researchers still want to do more studies, but users are already touting the results.
It is easier to see how coffee helps with dry skin issues. All you need is a mixture of coffee grounds and coconut oil, and you can rub it across any areas that had been giving you problems. The grainy texture of the coffee ground will rub those dry skin patches off. Also, coconut oil is known for its moisturizing properties, and it is featured in many beauty products. The same scrub you would use for cellulite you can use on any patches of dry skin.
Bottom Line: Coffee is being touted as aiding in the reduction of cellulite. It is unknown exactly what is causing the improvement in the appearance of cellulite after being treated with a coffee scrub. Coffee is also recognized for its ability to help with dry skin.
Coffee is a drink that is consumed by roughly 90% of the US population. Half of the coffee drinking population do so daily. Coffee and caffeine can be maligned by medical professionals who dismiss any health benefits, or who say that the risks outweigh the rewards. In moderation, coffee and caffeine are just fine. Make sure you don’t consume too much, or you negate the benefits and could cause harm to your health.
These tips are just twenty-five of the many you can find on the internet. Unlike some of the other suggestions you may read, these are backed up with scientific studies. So feel free to have a couple of cups of coffee throughout the course of the day. As long as you don’t have any health conditions that are adversely affected by caffeine, and you don’t exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine daily, you are all set. Coffee and caffeine can help your body prevent or fight off countless health conditions. It’s nice to know that a beverage we all consume and love so much comes with a bevy of health benefits.