If you are already a coffee drinker, it should be reassuring that after decades of research, no strong link can be found between coffee intake and cancer and, to the contrary, a number of health benefits seem to accompany coffee consumption. But, I’m not sure the evidence is powerful enough to recommend an increase in your daily habit. One reason is that we don’t know for sure that coffee consumption actually caused the health benefits observed in these studies. Some other, unmeasured factor could be responsible. Another reason is that the overall effect was small. And, it’s worth noting that some people are quite sensitive to the side effects of coffee.
Brushing isn’t the only way to prevent cavities. While coffee is known to stain the teeth, it’s also been found to protect them: A 2009 study published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry found drinking coffee can help prevent cavities and tooth decay, but there’s a catch—you have to drink it black. Because unfortunately adding in sugar isn’t going to do your smile any good.
If you’re looking for a unique coffee alternative, try mushrooms in the form of tea. A staple in traditionalChinese medicine, the soft, flat reishi mushroom makes for one invigorating (and healthy) libation. White and Foster recommend combining 1/3 ounce of chopped or powdered reishi mushroom with 3 cups of water, then bringing the tea to a boil and simmering for 30 minutes before drinking in doses.
While you’ve probably experienced a headache as a caffeine withdrawal (which are the worst, by the way), coffee can also help relieve them. According to the National Headache Foundation, caffeine contains properties that narrow the blood vessels and restrict blood flow, which in turn helps relieve the throbbing pain you’re experiencing in your noggin. In fact, when you add an actual pain reliever into the mix, you can increase the pain relieving effect by 40 percent.
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.
From health bloggers to celebs (hey, Jennifer Aniston), it seems like everyone is hopping on the collagen bandwagon this year—adding it to smoothies, cooked meals, and... you guessed it... coffee. If you’re not on board yet, don't believe everything you hear about collagen—sprinkling it into a smoothie probably won't make you look 30 years younger.
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.
Men who drink coffee may be at a lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. In addition, new research from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that drinking four or more cups of coffee daily decreased the risk of endometrial cancer in women by 25 percent as compared to women who drank less than one cup a day. Researchers have also found ties between regular coffee drinking and lower rates of liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers.
So how much java is too much? It's wise to stick to no more than 3 to 4 cups per day. Certain groups, such as people with hypertension and the elderly, may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of caffeine. Pregnant and breast-feeding women will want to limit intake to a maximum of 200 to 300 milligrams a day of caffeine (the amount in 2 to 3 cups of coffee). The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women cap caffeine consumption at 200 milligrams a day.
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”).
Not only does coffee help enhance your athletic performance, but it can also help reduce muscle pain after you do spend some time at the gym: A 2003 study in the Journal of Pain found those with high caffeine consumption had significantly reduced muscle pain after working out, which could be explained by caffeine’s ability to decrease sensitivity to pain, opposed to those who drank a placebo.
How it works: Antioxidants fight inflammation, an underlying cause of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, atherosclerosis and many types of cancer. They also neutralize free radicals, which occur naturally as a part of everyday metabolic functions, but which can cause oxidative stress that leads to chronic disease. In other words, antioxidants help keep us healthy at the micro-level by protecting our cells from damage. Finally, chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant found almost exclusively in coffee, is also thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that caffeine is dehydrating, one of the primary reasons why fitness experts recommend nixing coffee pre- and post-workout. However, recent research suggests that moderate caffeine consumption — up to about 500 mg, or about five cups per day — doesn’t dehydrate exercisers enough to interfere with their workout. In addition, coffee helps battle fatigue, enabling you to exercise longer.
Cardamom is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, because it helps neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine, but that’s not the only reason to add the spice to your java. A two-tablespoon serving has just 36 calories, is loaded with fiber, essential minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds; research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found cardamom contains compounds with the potential to kill cancer cells and stunt new cancer cell growth. Cardamom has also been known to improve blood circulation in the body, help control cholesterol, cure dental diseases, and infections like gonorrhea. It’s even been said to cure impotency, erectile dysfunction, and premature ejaculation.
"Caffeine for treatment of Parkinson disease" Ronald B. Postuma, MD, MSc, Anthony E. Lang, MD, Renato P. Munhoz, MD, Katia Charland, PhD, Amelie Pelletier, PhD, Mariana Moscovich, MD, Luciane Filla, MD, Debora Zanatta, RPh, Silvia Rios Romenets, MD, Robert Altman, MD, Rosa Chuang, MD and Binit Shah, MD. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318263570d August 1, 2012. Abstract. Accessed 15 December 2013.