Coffee and Your Health
Natural ways to help prevent diseases have been around for thousands of years. And while modern medicine has come a very long way in recent times, it’s always smart to surround yourself with healthy, disease preventing foods.
We here at Morning Love Coffee love to promote a healthy lifestyle as well as longevity. And since we’re longtime coffee drinkers ourselves, we began to wonder if coffee itself provided any substantial protection against disease.
I did some research, and let me tell you that coffee has come a long way in the eyes of the public. Many people may still believe in the old notions that coffee can stunt your growth or even contribute to certain cancers.
These old notions are completely wrong.
In fact, coffee has various disease preventing qualities.
Let’s jump in.
Coffee and Cancer
Certain studies in the 1980’s came out demonizing coffee as a contributor to certain cancers. In the past 40 years, this old notion has come to pass.
Decades of research have helped to prove these dated articles wrong. In fact, newer and more accurate studies have come out to show that drinking coffee may in fact help prevent certain cancers. Isn’t that something.
In 2016, coffee was actually taken off of the WHO’s (World Health Organization) list of carcinogens. The WHO had made the original call to include coffee as a carcinogen due to past faulty research. They then chose to remove coffee because of the host of newer, accurate studies that have come out in recent years detailing no evidence that coffee increases the risk for cancer.
A 2017 study concluded that coffee (specifically two cups of coffee a day) has the potential to lower the risk for many types of cancer like liver cancer, breast cancer, and cancers of the head and neck.
One other research study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute suggests that coffee might help in stopping the growth of colon cancer cells.
One small thing to note: this study specifies these positive effects with a higher intake of coffee than you might be used to drinking. Research suggests that you have to drink four or even more cups to find this impact, per day. You might have to stock your single mug coffee maker to accomplish this target!
Don’t worry though, you can still experience the many positive effects of coffee without drinking close to a mug a day.
Like I said, there are lots of other perks that coffee can deliver in a reasonable serving.
The cancer preventing effects that coffee has been shown to have is tied to the antioxidants that coffee contains.
For those who don’t know, an antioxidant is a compound that is produced in your body as well as found in foods. Antioxidants help defend cells from free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells in the body.
Essentially, the antioxidants in coffee act as a line of defense.
Coffee possesses lots of antioxidants (ones that are actually found in red wine too) that may help prevent cancer cell growth. The antioxidants found in coffee are actually often higher than those found in other fruits like apples, tomatoes, and cranberries.
Yet another reason to grab a cappuccino.
Coffee and Parkinson’s
For those who do not know, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system. It affects motor movement and leads to tremors of the hands, loss of motor function, and slowness of movement.
In 2012 the American Academy of Neurology published this study that showed the benefits that coffee can provide for those who have Parkinson’s.
Those patients in the study with Parkinson’s posted a modest improvement in motor function, which is promising. While this improvement doesn’t merit coffee as an all-out treatment for Parkinson’s, researchers have said that it merits consideration among those with the disease.
The study also suggested that those who do not have the disease but drink coffee regularly may be less at risk to develop the disease, due to the boost in alertness and overall function that coffee provides.
Coffee and Alzheimer’s
It’s well known that coffee can boost cognitive function, at least in the short term. Those who drink coffee are often more alert and feel sharper.
In the long term, a coffee drinker’s cognitive health versus a non-coffee drinker is not as clear. This report details the findings from 5 different studies about coffee’s effects on one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
It’s stated that the majority of the studies found that coffee helps prevent cognitive decline, which is great news for us coffee drinkers!
One study even stated that “coffee drinking of 3-5 cups per day at midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65% at late-life.”
That sure sounds promising.
Coffee and Type II Diabetes
Coffee’s effect on those who already have type II diabetes is less than conclusive. On the other hand, the evidence is promising when talking about the risk of developing diabetes in those who do not yet have it.
This study interestingly states that increasing coffee consumption (roughly by 1 cup per day) actually decreases one’s risk for developing type II diabetes by 11%.
Similarly, the study also found that decreasing coffee consumption (again by 1 cup a day) increases the risk for developing diabetes by 17%.
If you already have diabetes, it’s important to measure your blood sugar levels when consuming coffee, keeping a close eye on the additives that may be included.
And if you do not have type II diabetes, well that drink in your hand may be helping you keep it that way.
Coffee and Your Mental Health (Depression)
Diseases of the mind are much less talked about in general, but they still merit a place in this conversation.
Research from the National Institutes of Health and the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) show that coffee is beneficial in fighting and preventing depression. In fact, your risk may be reduced by up to 10%.
While this study does state that 4 cups of coffee is the magic number, other studies show similar positive effects with much less.
Some experts believe that it’s the antioxidants in coffee that help against depression. It’s certainly not the caffeine that’s doing it. The study noted that other caffeinated drinks did not produce the same result that coffee did. In fact, some caffeinated drinks like soda were linked to an increased risk of developing depression.
Overall, coffee has fantastic health benefits that cannot be ignored. Not only does it perk you up in the morning, but it can reduce the risk of some of the most prevalent and dangerous diseases. Next time you’re in the line at your local coffee shop or brewing a mug in the kitchen, don’t think you’re just drinking for energy.
You’re drinking for livelihood.