Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in America and around the world. It's also one of the most widely consumed beverages on Earth. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than half of the world's population drinks some form of coffee every day.
The caffeine content of a cup of coffee can vary from about 50 mg for an espresso shot to 400 mg for a double-shot latte. The average American consumes between 200 and 300 mg per day. That's roughly equivalent to what you'd get from two cups of tea or four cups of cola.
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But how does this small amount of caffeine affect your body? And why should you care?
Like most people, you probably enjoy starting your day with a cup of joe. But do you know about the benefits that may come with your coffee intake?
Yes, you read that right: benefits! Isn't it nice to know you can have your coffee (benefit) and drink it, too?
The Many Health Benefits of Coffee
Here are some fascinating ways coffee may help your body:
Boost Energy Levels
Coffee boosts energy levels by increasing your metabolism and helping you burn more calories throughout the day. It also helps to boost your mood, which can help you stay focused and productive.
Lower Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study II cohort. They found that women who drank three cups of coffee daily had a 9% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D) than those who didn't drink coffee.
They also found that women who drank four cups of coffee daily had an 11% lower risk of developing T2D.
The researchers say there are several possible explanations behind why drinking coffee may reduce the risk of developing T2D. First, caffeine increases insulin secretion, which helps maintain normal glucose levels.
Second, caffeine stimulates the release of dopamine, which improves feelings of well-being and reduces stress.
Third, caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, which are believed to contribute to the development of T2D. Finally, coffee contains certain polyphenols compounds that may improve insulin sensitivity and prevent weight gain.
Support Brain Health
A study published in JAMA Neurology found that people who drank two or more cups of coffee per day were less likely to develop dementia than those who never drank coffee. The link was strongest among older adults.
It makes sense that coffee would protect against dementia. Caffeine acts as a mild stimulant, so it could keep your mind sharp. And since coffee contains antioxidants like vitamin E and beta carotene, it could also help ward off cognitive decline.
Promote Weight Management
Coffee has long been touted as a great source of energy. But did you know it could also be good for your waistline? Research suggests that drinking just one cup of black coffee daily can aid in weight loss.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank three cups of caffeinated beverages per day had lower body mass indexes than those who didn't.
Researchers observed a group of overweight adults in another study for six months. Half of the participants consumed four to five cups of coffee daily, while the others stuck to water. After six months, those who sipped java lost about 10 pounds compared to no change among the control group.
The researchers believe that the caffeine in coffee helps boost metabolic activity, which leads to faster burning of stored fat. Another theory is that caffeine stimulates the release of adrenaline, which causes the body to use more calories to fight off stress.
Another benefit of coffee is that it may reduce appetite. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that participants who consumed three cups of caffeinated coffee had lower blood sugar levels than those who did not drink coffee.
This effect may occur because caffeine reduces the feeling of hunger, making people less likely to overeat.
Lower Risk of Depression
According to a large study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, women who drank three cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 20 percent lower risk for depression than those who never consumed coffee.
Coffee drinkers also had about half the odds of having major depressive episodes or major depressive disorder (MDD) compared with people who didn't drink coffee.
The findings are consistent with previous studies showing that people who consume moderate amounts of caffeine—around 200 milligrams per day—tend to experience less anxiety and stress.
Protect Against Liver Conditions
According to recent studies, coffee might help prevent liver disease and even improve symptoms.
In one study, researchers examined data collected from nearly 200,000 adults over six years. They found that those who reported drinking three or more cups of coffee daily had a 15% lower risk of developing liver scarring and a 20% lower risk of developing cirrhosis than those who didn't drink coffee.
Another study found that people who drank one or more cups of coffee daily had a 15% lower chance of dying from chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, and fatty liver disease.
Support Heart Health
A landmark Dutch cardiovascular disease study, which analyzed data from more than 37 thousand people over thirteen years, found that moderate consumption of coffee—2-4 cups per day—was associated with a 20% reduction in cardiovascular mortality.
This effect was independent of age, gender, smoking status, body mass index, physical activity level, alcohol intake, and hypertension.
The researchers suggest that coffee's protective effects are due to caffeine's anti-inflammatory properties since no association was observed among participants consuming less than one cup of coffee daily.
Findings published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine add to the evidence that moderate consumption of coffee (four to five cups daily) is associated with a decreased mortality risk.
Researchers examined data collected over a decade from nearly 500,000 adults enrolled in Britain’s National Health Service. They included information on how much coffee each participant consumed, including whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Participants answered questions about their age, sex, education level, smoking status, alcohol intake, physical activity, weight, height, history of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, and sleep quality.They also reported how often they felt stressed, anxious or depressed.
During the follow-up period, there were 16,037 deaths among participants. Researchers adjusted the analysis for age, sex, socioeconomic status, BMI, smoking, alcohol intake, physical exercise, sleep quality, stress levels, and depressive symptoms.
After accounting for those variables, researchers found that drinking eight or more cups of daily coffee was linked with 14% less risk of death than abstaining from coffee.
Among participants who drank four to five cups of coffee daily, the risk of death was 13% lower than among those who did not consume coffee.
Control Parkinson's Disease Symptoms
Rush reports that people who consume caffeine experience fewer tremors and stiffness, according to one study. They're also less likely to develop dementia later in life.
In addition, researchers say there's evidence that caffeine might help slow down the progression of Parkinson's disease. And while many people think that drinking too much caffeine can lead to headaches, heart palpitations, and even seizures, there isn't enough data to suggest that caffeine causes those side effects.
In some cases, coffee seems to work better than anti-Parkinson drugs. However, you don't want to overdo caffeine, but some Parkinson's benefits could be associated with moderate use.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who consumed two to five cups of coffee daily had significantly lower total cholesterol than non-coffee drinkers. The researchers believe this could be due to caffeine blocking an enzyme called HMG CoA reductase, which helps produce cholesterol.
Coffee is also a good source of magnesium and potassium, which are essential for heart health. Magnesium can help keep your blood pressure under control, and potassium may help prevent irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
Does Drinking Coffee Have Health Risks?
According to Harvard Health, although coffee is generally considered safe, consuming large amounts over long periods can cause adverse effects. For example, excessive consumption of coffee can lead to insomnia, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, anxiety, migraines, and heartburn.
Speaking of insomnia, Cleveland Clinic reminds us that coffee contains caffeine that stays in your body for up to four hours after drinking it. Therefore, you may have trouble sleeping if you drink coffee late in the afternoon.
To play it safe, stick with decaf in the evenings. A study published in 2017 found that people who drank caffeinated beverages in the morning had lower levels of melatonin, a hormone produced during sleep, suggesting that caffeine might interfere with sleep cycles
Moderation Is Key For Getting The Most Health Benefits Of Coffee
Many studies show that drinking coffee in moderation has health benefits. But everyone is different, and you can find countless research debating the pros and cons. It's always best to talk to a medical care professional if you have concerns.
But for now, studies have shown that there are many health benefits of coffee and it can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation, so savor each sip.