For years, coffee has had a bad reputation, supposedly causing several health problems. Recent studies, however, have actually shown that drinking coffee has many benefits, ranging from preventing disease to providing your body with antioxidants.
Modern studies show coffee has no connection to conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Older studies did not consider other risk factors, such as smoking or lack of physical inactivity. New studies show a link between coffee take in conjunction with a human genetic mutation that can lead to heart problems due to the mutation altering the way the body breaks down coffee within the body. Moderate your coffee intake and see your doctor if you notice any complications from this mutation. Additionally there has been evidence to support the claim that coffee has any chance to stunt your growth.
Coffee: A Rich Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are commonly associated with fruits and vegetables, but coffee is also a great source of these healthy compounds. While foods such as berries, beans and nuts may have a higher amount of antioxidants per serving, they are consumed less frequently than coffee. According to Joe A. Vinson, Ph. D., of the University of Scranton, “Most people drink it for the caffeine, but it’s the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet.”
Polyphenols, the type of antioxidants found in coffee, have been shown to help brain function. Most people assume that the caffeine in coffee is what helps brain function, but it actually has nothing to do with it. Caffeine increases alertness, but does not perform the same function as polyphenols. So, decaf will have the same effect on brain function as regular coffee.
Studies have shown that drinking coffee can lower the risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. The antioxidants in coffee are what lower the risk of diabetes. They prevent tissue damage, which is part of what causes type 2 diabetes. Coffee also contains the minerals chromium and magnesium, which help the body use the hormone insulin. This helps because with type 2 diabetes, the body loses the ability to use insulin effectively.
Drinking coffee can also lower the risk of heart disease. It lowers the risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease. The antioxidants in coffee also help reduce inflammation, which reduces the risk of diseases related to it, including heart disease. Coffee has also been shown to lower the risk of heart rhythm disturbances, also linked to heart disease.
The anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants also help in preventing certain cancers, specifically liver cancer. Also, other components in coffee have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. A substance called trigonelline can act like estrogen. This can prevent tumor formation in colon cancer, but can be harmful for women with breast cancer.
Other Health Benefits
In addition to improving brain function and preventing disease, there are many other benefits to drinking coffee. It reduces muscle soreness more effectively that aspirin or ibuprofen. It has also been shown to help both short-term and long-term memory. If you drink your coffee black, it can help fight cavities. Coffee helps fight bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, a major cause of cavities. Lastly, drinking coffee will make you happy because it increases dopamine production in the brain.
While there are many health benefits to drinking coffee, too much is never a good thing. Coffee is only healthy when you drink it in moderation. At a certain point, coffee will start to have negative effects, including anxiety, insomnia and an increase in cholesterol levels.
The most significant health issue regarding coffee intake is due to things added to the drink. Sugar and cream add unwanted fat and calories. Specialty coffees in particular can contain unnecessary additives. These additions negate any weight loss benefit that coffee could offer.
Unfiltered coffee, such as boiled or French pressed, can cause your cholesterol to increase; however, using a filter negates this potential problem. The common side effects of coffee are a consideration. Anxiety, tension, insomnia and nervousness are symptoms that most coffee drinkers ignore but these issues become a serious problem in your life then you will want to reconsider your intake. You can overcome these effects through moderation, which is the key. You should limit your coffee intake less than four cups a day.
Many common myths exist regarding coffee. Some believe that coffee intake can lead to higher blood pressure. It is true that it can have this affect on non-coffee drinkers or new coffee drinkers. This rise in blood pressure is not seen in people who regularly consume coffee after their bodies adjust to the regular use of the substance.
Myths exist linking coffee as a potential cause of many forms of cancer; however, there is no evidence that coffee has any effect on any forms of cancer. Reproductive myths exist that blame coffee for decreased fertility and low sperm count. These myths are equally false and no link has ever been found linking coffee to infertility.