If you’re constantly resisting down the urge to hit your bloodstream with caffeine, relax. It’s really okay to get a steady stream of java—so long as you’re stopping at a reasonable time before bed (typically 2 p.m., since coffee has a half-life of 8-10 hours), not swallowing a pot a day, and avoiding syrups and artificial sweeteners (check out these 15 ultra-healthy add-ins instead). And we’re not just saying so because the energy jolt is just that good. Coffee also has a slew of health benefits.
For this part of the experiment, 22-month-old mice received caffeine—the daily equivalent of four to five cups of coffee in humans—in their drinking water for 10 days. That was sufficient to raise their mitochondrial respiration to the levels observed in six-month-old mice, according to the study. Analysis showed the old mice had roughly double the amount of p27 in their mitochondria after the 10 days of caffeine.
Other studies have tried to pinpoint exactly what in caffeine is helping to halt the onset of these diseases. A 2014 study (14) found that caffeine blocks various tau receptors (a protein that contributes to brain cell degeneration). Another study found that caffeinated coffee increased GCSF (15) - a substance greatly decreased in Alzheimer’s patients - levels in the bloodstream.
Similar to adding grass-fed butter, coconut oil is loaded with healthy fats, specifically medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs have been linked to improved weight loss in multiple scientific studies. When it comes to brain health, coconut oil may also be largely beneficial. Some studies have examined the potential links between reduction in Alzheimer’s disease rates and daily ingestion of coconut oil.
If you don’t like coffee, there is no current recommendation to drink it anyway. However, if we can figure out why coffee might have health benefits, it’s possible that a medication can be developed that provides those benefits without the side effects (or taste) of coffee or caffeine. Or, faced with a choice of a new medication or coffee, one might choose the latter.
It’s no secret that antioxidants are good for you. Antioxidants (32) help to limit a chemical called free radicals, which have been associated with cell degeneration as well as a number of deadly diseases. By increasing the amount of antioxidants in your diet you can limit free radicals in the body, and limit your risk to some of these diseases.
Poole notes that the analysis included a number of different studies, each with different designs, and not all of them may have adjusted for potential confounding effects that could skew the connection between coffee and health outcomes. Coffee drinkers, for example, also tend to smoke more than non-drinkers, and smoking has an effect on early death, heart disease and certain cancers.
For the sake of something real journalists call “integrity” I should point out that coffee has also been shown to have a small, yet positive (which isn’t a good thing in this case) relationship with bladder (25) cancer. However, the same study that reported these finding, also reported that this relationship could also be linked to smoking or other dietary habits.
The thick creamy coconut milk is the healthiest option for coffee creamer because it's loaded with super healthy saturated fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are known to boost your immune system and your metabolism! Plus, coconut milk in coffee is just plain delicious! It's the best healthy creamer option by far aside from just using real grass-fed dairy cream.
What I do instead is use either a very small touch of organic maple syrup or a half packet of natural stevia to just lightly sweeten my coffee. I've also become a big fan of coconut sugar recently, and this is healthier than plain sugar because it does contain some minerals and other nutrients, and has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. On the other hand, if you like your coffee black with no sweetener at all, that's the healthiest way.
Feeling a little slow lately? All it might take to get your body back to working at a normal pace is a little coffee. A 2005 study from the Radiological Society of North America found it doesn’t take much—just a couple cups—to improve your reaction time, making you better at everything from noticing something scary like smoke in your home (and realizing you need to grab the fire extinguisher ASAP) to breaking your car for a stop sign.
Do you remember the first time you had a cup of coffee? More likely than not, you were in college and cramming for a final and your roommate suggested brewing up a batch. It might have been love at first sip, or you could have stomached your way through it, hoping it’d help you ace your test. Either way, now that you’re older (and hopefully, wiser), Pearson says to make sure you actually like coffee or if you’re using it as a band-aid to your poor sleep habits. “Coffee is a pick-me-up, but working toward a normal sleep pattern will make life much better than caffeine. If you’re using coffee to survive on inadequate sleep, your body and mind are still tired and you’ll still not be at your best physically and mentally,” she explains. “Chronic inadequate sleep raises stress hormones and contributes to a lot of health problems.”
In an extensive study, experts found that taking around three to five cups of coffee every day has some unique benefits that can’t be replicated elsewhere. They associated it with 65% reduced a risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in later life. On retrospect, the researchers investigated the effect of taking tea or other beverages such as cocoa or beer on cognitive decline. Interestingly enough, they found no association.
The popularity of the Bulletproof Diet is undeniable. But what started the craze was the world-famous Bulletproof Coffee. By simply adding grass-fed butter to black coffee, you will get a nice brain-boosting buzz — as well as all the health benefits of grass-fed butter. Try blending the coffee with a handheld blender or latte frother if you are stuck with globs of butter on top of your coffee.
Studies have shown that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against a liver disease called cirrhosis. If you have never heard of cirrhosis before, it a condition where your liver tissue is damaged and replaced with scar tissue. It can develop several ways like from infections, obesity, and other conditions, but especially from drinking too much alcohol. Drinking coffee on a regular basis has been shown to be a natural detox to help protect against the onset of cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis. (8)
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master's degree in science journalism from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His work covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is probably playing a game at this very moment.
Long term consumption of coffee has also been shown to reduce, although moderately, the risk of stroke (38). Another study pointed out that drinking about five or six cups of coffee a day is associated with the greatest reduction (39) (36%) in stroke risk, and that coffee also contributes to overall reduction of cardiovascular mortality (a less scary way of saying “heart death”).
Alternatively, opt for “milks” and creamers made from almond, coconut, cashew, and other plant sources. They can be much lower in calories than traditional creamers; and they're often produced with all-natural ingredients (read: no high-fructose corn syrup) and provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. If you prefer a flavored or sweetened version, check the grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts panel. Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.
Regardless of what you might come across in health blogs and nutrition magazine, it’s true that coffee lowers the danger of liver cancer. Once again, a steady coffee consumption has been linked to a lower cirrhosis incidence more so alcoholic cirrhosis. Some studies have even indicated an inverse correlation between increased coffee drinking and a reduced risk of cirrhosis- 20% reduction for every cup consumed.
How it works: Scientists believe that coffee may be beneficial in keeping diabetes at bay in several ways: (1) by helping the body use insulin and protecting insulin-producing cells, enabling effective regulation of blood sugar; (2) preventing tissue damage; and (3) and battling inflammation, a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. One component of coffee known as caffeic acid has been found to be particularly significant in reducing the toxic accumulation of abnormal protein deposits (amyloid fibrils) found in people with type 2 diabetes. Decaffeinated coffee is thought to be as beneficial, or more so, than regular.
So, you’re running late for work and you manage to guzzle down a cuppa before heading into your first a.m. meeting. Fast forward to mid-day and your stomach is growling and you realize that—whoops!—you completely forgot to eat breakfast and now it’s past lunchtime. Though drinking coffee is healthy, Adina Pearson, RD, says that because coffee can suppress your appetite and is a stimulant, some people use it as a meal replacement. “Coffee’s stimulant properties may mask the fact you’re undereating, but it’s only temporary. Good self-care means eating enough—not just being buzzed. You can’t run on caffeine you need food—carbs, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, and fiber—for overall health.” Here are 7 signs you’re drinking too much caffeine.
According to Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, one of the easiest ways to make sure your coffee is brewed in a healthy way is to consider how you’re filtering it. Those reusable filters might be tempting (and sure, provide less waste), but using recyclable paper filters has an added bonus for your nutrition. “Filtering coffee with paper removes two compounds, cafestol and kahweol, that raise both total and LDL cholesterol levels,” she explains. Here’s how coffee can help you learn.
Other studies have tried to tease apart which ingredients in coffee contribute to its health benefits. Those might include its antioxidants, which can combat cancer, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart conditions and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, as well as the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer.
When the morning rush gets between us and breakfast, we become our worst selves (hangry, stuck in rush-hour traffic, staring at a giant billboard of a breakfast sandwich). But here’s a way to grab breakfast and coffee on your way out the door: Brew some caffeine-packed oats in your thermos for a delicious morning meal. Not only are you getting your energizing fix, but you're also eating a solid breakfast because oatmeal comes packed with fiber and minerals like magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.
Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1,400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
Diabetes is on the upswing in the United States: About 1.5 million people are diagnosed each year, according to the American Diabetes Association, and approximately 7.2 million people have the disease but don’t know it yet. But it's not all bad news. Researchers from Harvard University believe that drinking coffee—either decaf or regular—might help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, the most common form. According to the analysis, which was published in the journal Diabetes Care, the more coffee people drink, the less likely they are to develop type 2 diabetes. (It is possible to overdo it, though. To keep insomnia, tummy troubles, and migraines at bay, health experts recommend drinking no more than four 8-ounce coffees daily.)
The American Heart Association recommends a daily limit of six teaspoons of added sugar per day for women. That does leave some room for sugar in your coffee, but be mindful of much you use. Rather than pouring it in from a larger container, use packets or a measuring spoon to keep track of your intake. And try to use just one packet, or one teaspoon. If you use a pre-sweetened milk or creamer, skip granulated sugar altogether.
In addition to the jolt of energy and focus you can get from the caffeine in coffee, the drink has a number of other health benefits. Coffee can lower your risk of liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and even some cancers. Multiple studies have shown that drinking multiple cups of coffee per day — yes, even three or four cups is OK — could prevent early death.
Increased coffee consumption may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes - the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers gathered data from three studies. In these studies, the diets of the participants were evaluated using questionnaires every 4 years, with participants who reported having type 2 diabetes filling out additional questionnaires. In total, 7,269 study participants had type 2 diabetes.
Need a little boost to get you through your HIIT workout? A 2013 study from PLoS One shows that athletes who consumed coffee an hour before exercise had greater performance than those who drank decaffeinated coffee. Plus, a 2015 study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that people who drink coffee before a workout burn more calories after exercise, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This means that even if your spin class is over, your body will continue to burn more calories. We’ll drink to that! ☕