Coffee lovers are often peppered with unsolicited comments from their close friends or family members about how they should be careful not to drink too much coffee.
Presumably, their worries are a result of hearing stories about people consuming unsafe amounts caffeine and ending up in the hospital. But is coffee really all that bad for you?
Unless you have a special condition that makes your body particularly sensitive to caffeine, drinking a few cups of coffee every day is fine. In fact, drinking coffee each day has a number of health benefits, so find that coffee maker that’s right for you and start brewing!
Improves General Mental Function
Coffee and your central nervous system have a long and storied history. One can only fully grasp it by knowing how the central nervous system works without a caffeinated beverage interfering.
Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that floats about the central nervous system, attaching to receptors in your brain that can make you sleepy and slow down your brain function. In addition to adenosine, caffeine can latch onto those same receptors, and once they do, there’s no room left for to play its nasty, sleepy tricks.
Caffeine also causes the body to produce noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. The caffeine stimulates your brains, shakes you awake, and gets you up and moving. It’s been proven to increase vigilance, mood, attention, learning, and general mental function.
Reduces Risk of Type II Diabetes
Drink, drink, drink, and then drink some more, because a study from the Harvard School of Public Health determined that high consumption of coffee is associated with a significantly reduced risk of Type II Diabetes.
Increases DNA Integrity
This is probably the most unexpected benefit of being a coffee drinker on this list. You can trace some of the other ones directly back to the benefits of antioxidants and caffeine and the array of other good things packed into your morning pick-me-up, but this benefit is surprising.
Coffee drinkers appear to experience 27% less DNA breakage than non-coffee drinkers. This is significant largely because DNA strands breaking can lead to cancer, so obviously we want less of that to happen—enter coffee as a surprising way to reduce the problem!
Decreased Risk of Liver Problems (Including cancer)
There are 3.9 million people diagnosed with cirrhosis, a liver disease, in the US. Coffee reduces the risk of abnormal liver function tests, cirrhosis, fibrosis, and hepatoma carcinoma (HCC).
Reduces Risk of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia
There’s no cure for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or any other form of dementia. It’s one of the reasons why even casual links to reducing risk between these diseases and coffee are remarkable.
The National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland came to the conclusion that coffee has protective benefits against Parkinson’s—and it’s likely the caffeine that does it.
Dementia, in particular the kind caused by Alzheimer’s, is devastating. While there isn’t hard evidence confirming coffee reducing the risk of developing it, there are some hopeful statistics, including this one: observational studies show that the consistent consumption of coffee is linked to a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 65%.
Reduces Risk of Multiple Sclerosis
I’ve said it before, but I’m happy to bring it up again: the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee do wonders for the human body. That, coupled with the neuroprotective elements of these magic beans may lower the risk of multiple sclerosis!
Reduced Risk of Depression and Suicide
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that slurping down several cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of suicide by 50%!
We can follow this one back easily enough—caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and it’s suspected that it acts as a mild antidepressant, which also accounts for the previous studies documented the lower risk of depression.
Increased Life Expectancy
Drinking 2-4 cups of coffee per day had an 18% reduced risk of early death.
This was the conclusion of the largest study on mortality and coffee to date. It look place in 10 European countries and surveyed over half a million people. Another study focusing on non-white population also found that coffee increases longevity.
There are so many scientifically-backed benefits to drinking coffee, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Unless you’re pregnant or have an adverse reaction to caffeine, go ahead and have another cup!