If you’ve hurt your liver from years of drinking, coffee could be the superhero you’ve been hoping for. In a 2016 review published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers found drinking two cups of coffee a day had a 44 percent lower risk of ending up with liver cirrhosis. For more on healthy eating, here are a 20 Amazing Healing Foods.
Sure, coffee isn’t going to do as much good as sunscreen when it comes to protecting your skin, but it still has some benefits. A 2014 study published by the American Association for Cancer Research found drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of melanoma, which according to the American Cancer Society causes a large majority of skin cancer-related deaths.
Studies show that coffee boasts of more antioxidant activity compared to the two antioxidant superstars; cocoa, and tea. In fact, a wide range of detailed lab analysis carried out over the years has identified over 1,000 antioxidants in coffee beans – unprocessed at that. Interestingly, hundreds of more antioxidants come up on roasting the beans. What’s more, a 2012 research labeled coffee as one of the core dietary antioxidants source readily available today.
This natural energizer is known as a liquid shot of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Some people don’t mind the taste and others do, but all agree that wheatgrass is one of the most nourishing juices. “Because of its easy digestibility and rapid assimilation, it’s a natural energy supplement, whether alone or added to a protein-type supplement drink,” says Gloria Gilbère, doctor of natural health.
Coffee doesn’t only help reduce the risk of developing melanoma—it does the same for basal cell carcinoma too, which affects millions of people every year. A 2012 study of 113,000 participants published by the American Association for Cancer Research found those who drank a minimum of three cups of coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing the skin cancer than those who didn’t.
Cardiovascular disease. Studies linking coffee consumption to cardiovascular disease have mostly observed it with higher consumption (well above four cups per day), and some of these studies did not account for smoking, which often accompanies coffee consumption and is, of course, an important cardiovascular disease risk factor on its own. Other concerns include modest and temporary elevations in blood pressure, and fast or abnormal heart rhythms.
Already think the benefits of coffee are endless? Well they pretty much are: It can even strengthen your DNA. A small 2014 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found drinking coffee regularly significantly reduced the oxidative damage in the body’s white blood cells, which can hurt your DNA. Instead, the coffee—dark roast, in this case!—helped keep the DNA strong.
It’s easy to get carried away ordering fancy-sounding lattes, but consuming them daily can greatly increase your intake of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. However, you don’t have to switch to black coffee just yet. There are plenty of ways to spice up your coffee without doing it at the expense of your health. Try these seven coffee hacks to help you have a healthier coffee and an energized morning.
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.”
Coffee is not traditionally thought of as anti-carcinogenic, but it has been linked specifically to the prevention of two types of cancer – liver and colorectal cancer, which are the 3rd and 4th deadliest forms of cancer, respectively. It has also shown good results in preventing the occurrence of melanoma in people who consume it regularly. Research says that coffee drinkers have 43% lesser risk of cancer than those who do not drink it.
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.
One easy way to keep your heart strong? Drink coffee—just don’t overdo it. A 2012 study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure found drinking one or two cups each day could protect against heart failure, decreasing the risk by 11 percent. Drinking more than five cups, on the other hand, could actually do the opposite, potentially causing your body harm.
A morning cup of coffee can be a great thing. Coffee consumption has been linked to longer life, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and lowered risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and it’s also a wonderful source of antioxidants, But all these health benefits can be canceled out if you’re loading your latte with tons of cream, sugar, and chemical-filled syrups.
If black coffee isn’t your thing, considering adding a little kick to your morning cup of joe with a little dash of cinnamon. Not only do the flavors mesh well together, but having a teaspoon of cinnamon every morning can help fight inflammation and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, among other benefits. “Cinnamon improves the way fat cells respond to sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity and helping to maintain blood sugar levels,” says Erinn Gregory, RDN.
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.
More recent research has shown the opposite. Drinking coffee is now associated with a lower risk of diabetes, stroke, and cognitive issues like depression. One reason may be that coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, and researchers now think it’s particularly good at reducing inflammation. One recent study showed older people who consumed more caffeine showed much lower levels of inflammation than those who didn’t. Another recent large study of over 200,000 people found coffee drinkers may live longer.
In the Hungry For Change Book we discuss the addictive nature of caffeine and when consumed in large quantities, can lead to adrenal fatigue. Coffee is also a diuretic, meaning it purges water from your body. That said, if you want to function at a high level and remain well hydrated, then it would be a better choice to replace coffee with a natural alternative. The list below provides some great tasting substitutes.