Coffee is one of the top 5 most popular beverages in the world. It is imported to very nearly every nation on the planet, and most people groups have assimilated it into their culture in some way. Most coffee drinkers love the flavor and appreciate the stimulating effects of caffeine, but it is possible that some of coffee’s popularity is due to its more subtle effects. In fact, coffee benefits the body in many ways. Scientists continue to discover its roles in preventing disease and delaying the effects of aging. This beverage is much more than a kick in a cup. In fact, its composition is one of the most nuanced and important pieces of the typical Western diet.
Main Health Benefits of Coffee
Like most plant based brews, coffee contains loads of antioxidants. The particularly high level that coffee contains is partially due to the climate in which it grows. Antioxidants are, in part, a plant’s natural defence against damage from the sun and other natural degrading agents. Humans derive partial benefit from these complex compounds in much the same way that the plants themselves do. One example is that it has been observed that women who have 3 or more cups of coffee a day have an 11% lower incidence of skin cancers than non-coffee-drinking women do. Antioxidants are important in many ways, and Westerners get more antioxidants in their diets from coffee than from any other source. But this isn’t all the good things that coffee has to offer. A standard serving contains vitamin b12, b5, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin. For people who drink enough coffee, these amounts can approach the FDA daily recommended levels.
Coffee has an effect on other diseases and conditions in the body, though the specific mechanism of action is not known. Moderate daily coffee drinkers have a 40%+ lower risk of developing liver cancer, an ca. 40% lower rate of type II diabetes, an 11% lower incidence of heart failure, and significantly reduced appearances of certain autoimmune diseases. Coffee also increases liver function among people who drink alcohol, reducing cirrhosis rates by 22% and death from cirrhosis by 66%. Regular coffee consumption reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and delays the onset and severity of Alzheimer’s.
Because a standard serving of coffee contains just two calories and boosts the metabolism, coffee is a great way to help to burn fat. Athletes and exercisers all over the world have observed coffee’s positive effect on their endurance and performance. Coffee helps athletes by increasing fatty blood plasma levels in the blood, an ingredient that is burned by the body for fuel before it starts using its precious carbohydrate reserves. Some of this effect is due to the feeling of happiness and well-being coffee produces as well. In fact, regular female coffee drinkers (4+ cups a day) have a 50% lower suicide rate than the average population. The mechanism of action seems to be coffee’s impact on neurotransmitters in the brain: promoting the release of serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline while blocking the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine. The antioxidant content also has some effect on happiness and reduced anxiety. Even the aroma of coffee has been demonstrated to lower the stress levels of most individuals.
In addition to coffee’s effects on old-age related ailments like Alzheimer’s, coffee has profound impacts on the regulation of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen in aging people. These hormones have great bearing on most bodily processes, but coffee is best at helping them maintain thyroid health and diabetes prevention. For those wishing to gain the benefit of all of this without the caffeine buzz, it is important to know that not all the help can be derived from decaffeinated coffee as most of those benefits are related to the caffeine in coffee.
Concerns about Coffee Consumption
There are those who express concerns about coffee’s impact on health. Some people suffer from anxiousness or sleeplessness as a result of their coffee habit. Others cite skin problems and various other ailments. It is important to note that, as with anything, moderation is an important virtue. Many people will suffer no ill effects from large amounts of coffee consumption, but those who do have problems need only reduce the amount they drink in order to recover. Sleep loss can be averted by having coffee only early in the day, and jitteriness and accelerated heart rate will be eliminated by reducing the quantity consumed. You will learn how your body reacts to coffee with practice, and in no time, the cognitive and health benefits will overwhelmingly outweigh any potential concerns.
Coffee has been one of the most popular drink all over the world for centuries. In the early days, the beverage’s popularity was due to the boost it gave to people’s talkativeness and apparent intelligence. Early coffee houses became known as “penny universities” in the 17th century, because a patron could buy a cup for one cent and then benefit from the intellectual conversation that flourished in the environment. It was little known then that coffee provided numerous health benefits in addition to its cognitive aid. The advent of modern science has opened up the mysteries of this wonderful black beverage to us, revealing many benefits for body and mind. Coffee’s popularity is not likely to diminish anytime soon and, with an estimated 400 billion cups consumed every year, it is good to know that the habit has numerous health benefits. There is little doubt that as researchers continue to analyze the depths of coffee’s complexity that we will learn about new ways coffee impacts our bodies positively. For now what we know is sufficient to ensure that coffee will be the drink of choice for pleasure and health.