Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages for a reason: It not only tastes good and gives you a serious jolt of energy, but it also has plenty of amazing, body-boosting benefits. Which, in all honestly, is a major bonus considering the fact that most people are simply pleased to have something to help them get through their morning meetings.
You might think that nonfat, sugar-free vanilla syrup is a healthy choice, but low-calorie doesn’t always translate to health benefits. Swinney suggests weaning yourself off sweeteners completely if you can, but if you can’t, be super picky about the additives you’re putting into your brew. “Pick organic cream to whiten your coffee or make your own packaging-free alternative milk from oats or nuts. Creamers often have artificial flavors, sweeteners, and other additives, so you’re better off using organic milk or cream plus organic brown sugar,” she says. Next, don’t miss these 13 surprising uses for coffee.
Independent studies on the coffee consumption patterns of men and women suggest that drinking coffee regularly reduces the risk of developing gout. Researchers in the Nurses’ Health Study analyzed the health habits of nearly 90,000 female nurses over a period of 26 years and found a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a decreased risk for gout. The benefit was associated with both regular and decaf consumption: women who drank more than four cups of regular coffee daily had a 57 percent decreased risk of gout; gout risk decreased 22 percent in women who drank between one and three cups daily; and one cup of decaf per day was associated with a 23 percent reduced risk of gout when compared to the women who didn’t drink coffee at all. Similar findings have been documented for men: another large-scale study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, found that men who drank four to five cups of coffee per day decreased their risk of gout by 40 percent, and that those who consumed six cups or more lowered gout risk by 60 percent.
Hepatocellular cancer—which predominantly occurs in those who have chronic liver disease— is the most common form of liver cancer, and coffee can help reduce the risk of developing it. A 2017 study published in BMJ found it could be possible to see a 20 percent reduced risk by drinking one cup a day, 35 percent by drinking two, and 50 percent with five because of caffeine’s ability to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.
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.
People who regularly workout drink coffee half an hour before for a burst of energy so they can get the most of their exercise. The burst of caffeine increases epinephrine levels in the blood, which makes the body ready for any physical exertion. This allows people to push themselves longer and harder to begin seeing immediate results from their exercise regimen.
You might think that since we boil water to brew coffee, you don’t have to worry whether it’s filtered. But Swinney says filtered water is a smart choice, if not for taste, but for health. “Filtered water ensures there are not any unwanted heavy metals like lead or copper, that might be found in old pipes. Tap water also contain many chlorine disinfection byproducts which can be harmful long term,” she says. “You should also avoid using well water unless it’s been tested for contaminants.”
Caffeine affects every person differently, so if you experience any negative side effects, consider cutting your coffee consumption accordingly. It takes about six hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off, so limit coffee drinking to early in the day, or switch to decaf, which only contains about 2 to 12 mg of caffeine per eight ounces. Always taper your coffee consumption gradually. Avoid quitting coffee cold turkey; doing so can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms that may include severe headache, muscle aches and fatigue which can last for days.
“Absolutely not,” says Donald Hensrud, medical director of Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program. “You have to enjoy life, and if you enjoy tea, keep on enjoying it. It’s all good. There are health benefits to coffee, to black tea and to green tea.” But there can also be problems associated with higher doses of caffeine, he notes. The amount in more than two cups of coffee a day, for example, can interfere with conception and increase the risk of miscarriage. And, he says, because individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates, slow metabolizers may be more susceptible to side effects such as heartburn, insomnia, heart palpitations and irritability.
One of the benefits of coffee beans is that they contain an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (CGA) in addition to other antioxidants. Raw beans contain roughly 9 percent CGA by weight, which can help with weight loss and is a neuroprotectant. Coffee beans also help reduce inflammation, which is associated with a number of health concerns. In addition, the caffeine in coffee beans provides benefits such as reducing headaches. Understanding these health benefits can help coffee-drinkers appreciate more than just the taste of their next cup of java.
Lastly, it's extremely important to choose organic coffee beans , as conventional coffee is one of the most heavily treated crops with pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Remember that one of the many health risks with these chemicals is that some pesticides can act as "xenoestrogens" in your body, disrupting hormone balance for both men and women. Chronic xenoestrogen exposure can also be one cause of "stubborn abdominal fat" in both sexes as well as "man boobs" in men... so choose organic as often as you can with most foods, but especially with coffee!
"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.
In fact, according to a 2005 study conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the human diet—yes, even over wine and tea. Aside from the caffeine giving you an early-morning energy buzz, those high levels of antioxidants can help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals, as well as fight off disease. If you’re a big coffee lover, make sure to check The 15 Best Coffee Makers On The Planet.