The Health Benefits Of Coffee: Reasons To Enjoy Your Cup Of Joe
Coffee is one of the most popular pick-me-up drinks, whether brewed or instant, almost everyone has had a cup to perk them up. Coffee is most commonly consumed in the morning to jumpstart one’s day as it helps kick one out of sluggish sleep mode. Millions of early morning coffee junkies could not even imagine starting their day without it. Many people love coffee just for its “pick-me-up effects” and taste alone; but it is safe to say that coffee lovers will have more reasons to enjoy their cups when they learn of all the health benefits of coffee.
The stimulant in caffeine also improves brain function; according to some studies, those who consume 2 cups of coffee a day (on average) have better cognitive ability and have a significant increase in memory recall. Aside from the benefits that one can get from the stimulants in caffeine, recent studies have shown that there is a plethora of other health benefits of coffee.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants. It has more antioxidants than green tea, cocoa and red wine. Antioxidants as we are aware of are great for the body, they fight the effects of free radicals that start a chain reaction that damage our cells. There are many kinds of antioxidants and the one in coffee is called polyphenols. Polyphenols in coffee cuts down the risk of liver cancer, reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and the risk of type 2 diabetes of up to half, there are also some studies that say antioxidants in coffee (polyphenols) reduce the tendency to develop depression.
The antioxidant in coffee also contains the anticancer compound methylpyrindium; significant presence of methylpyrindium can only be found in roasted coffee beans compared to other food products. These anticancer compounds are linked to reduced risk of liver cancer (as previously mentioned), oral, esophageal, pharyngeal cancer, aggressive prostate cancer and lately, colon cancer.
People typically get more antioxidants from coffee compared to any other sources like cranberries and dates, simply because people consume more coffee than these fruits. Americans alone drink an average of 8 ounces of coffee a day.
Most people will think that the above mentioned health benefits of coffee are enough reasons to give them a smile every time they sip their cup of joe, but, there are more.
Caffeinated coffee have been associated to lower occurrence of gallstone and bladder diseases, moreover, the caffeine in coffee increases the effectiveness of pain killers, most especially migraine and headache painkillers; so yes, there is truth to the belief that coffee helps reduce headaches.
Women will be excited to learn that coffee has a “women’s only” benefit. They say that women who consume 3 cups per day (regular or decaf) on average, decreases all-cause mortality fairly linearly to a relative risk of 0.85 compared to those who are non-coffee drinkers. The relative risks remain almost the same even for up to 6 cups a day female coffee drinkers.
And for men over 40 years old, drinking coffee reduces the risk of gout.
Other than the health benefits of coffee that will be noticed in the long term, there are also those that can be observed almost immediately. Coffee is great at preventing constipation. It is a powerful stimulant to peristalsis, an effect found in both regular and decaf variants. In fact, in alternative medicine, practitioners would sometimes recommend coffee enemas to “cleanse the colon”; this however does not have any proven benefits from traditional medicine.
Now, we have also heard that coffee stains the teeth, but coffee also benefits our dental health. The tannins in coffee may decrease the cariogenic potential of foods, in a nutshell, the tannins in coffee prevents dental carries by reducing the plaque formation.
Having been made aware of almost all the health benefits of coffee, we must also be aware of some risks.
Coffee, as was discussed, is a very effective stimulant; it increases heart rate and blood pressure. Many coffee drinkers are aware of the “coffee jitters”, which is characterized by restlessness, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and even narcolepsy caused by too much caffeine. It is therefore advised to heavy drinkers to spread coffee drinking all throughout the day or choose decaf, since decaf has the same antioxidant levels as regular coffee.
Coffee can also cause gastrointestinal problems as it can damage the lining of gastrointestinal organs. Those who suffer from gastritis, colitis, and ulcers are therefore advised against consuming coffee, or at least, abstain from drinking coffee in an empty stomach.
Like everything else in life, there will always be benefits and risks. The health benefits of coffee however, outweigh the negatives. For coffee lovers to enjoy their favorite drink and take advantage of its health benefits, they must live by the credo “everything in moderation”.
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