Consumed for more than five centuries, coffee has become one of the undisputed global staple foods. A grain of coffee is packed with many beneficial nutrients. Coffee is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins; including, but not limited to, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, amino acids, lipids, sugars, Vitamin B, and chlorogenic acids. Like anything else, excessive consumption of coffee has its risks. The ideal consumption amount, as pointed out by nutritionists and health professionals, is up to four cups a day.
Healthy Effects of Coffee Consumption
Coffee and Cancer – Caffeine inhibits cell proliferation, which protects against numerous types of cancer.
Coffee and Pancreas – A group of researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Research Center in the United States, led by Dr. C. Morton, found a small protective effect of coffee against pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in 129,000 individuals who consumed alcohol. Coffee consumption reduced the incidence of pancreatitis by up to 25%.
Coffee and Cognition – Daily and moderate coffee consumption helps to improve mood and cognitive performance. In many cases, drinking coffee can also help relieve a headache, increase concentration levels and memory. Coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing dementia by about 65%. Much of the cognitive benefits of coffee are owed to caffeine, a powerful neurostimulant. Yet contrary to popular belief, coffee contains only 1 to 2.5% of caffeine. The importance of caffeine consumption as a preventive measure against neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s is well-documented.
Coffee and Depression – Consuming three to four cups of coffee reduces the incidence of depression and suicide in the population, according to a US study of 128,934 people over a 10-year period.
Coffee and Smoking – Studies show that when smokers drink at least four 50ml cups of coffee a day, the number of cigarettes smoked falls by half.
Coffee and Alcohol – Daily consumption of 4 50ml cups of coffee prevents the negative effects of 40g of alcohol on the human brain.
Coffee and Sex – Studies in the US show that interest in sex and sexual activity is greater among people who drink coffee every day.
Coffee and Diabetes – In an investigation conducted at the prestigious Harvard Medical School, where more than 193 thousand people were observed, it was concluded that those who drank coffee regularly had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t drink coffee. Even people who drink it decaffeinated are more likely to develop diabetes than those who drink normal coffee.
Coffee and Cholesterol – A cup of coffee contains about 1g of soluble fiber, which means that its consumption helps to keep cholesterol levels low.
Coffee and Heart – Some studies suggest that coffee may contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition contains a study which reveals that healthy people, at the age of 65 and older, who drank four or more cups of coffee a day, were 53% less likely to develop heart disease.
Coffee and Blood Sugar – Coffee contains magnesium, which allows the body’s cells to become more sensitive to insulin. Increased insulin sensitivity means it helps to keep blood glucose and energy levels healthy and balanced.
Coffee and Aging – Coffee is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for many health benefits, including delaying the aging process and increasing life expectancy. In addition, the anti-inflammatory power of antioxidants is extremely effective, which is crucial in the fight against heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases.
Coffee and Weight Loss – In addition to being a natural diuretic, coffee can be an ally in the fight against being overweight. Low in calories, coffee speeds up metabolism, which in turn helps burn fat and unwanted calories.
Coffee and Asthma – Several studies have pointed to the fact that moderate coffee consumption is effective in controlling asthma. Most existing medications for the treatment of asthma contain high doses of caffeine.
Coffee and Teeth – The compound trigonelline, which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste, has antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties that prevent against the formation of dental caries.
Coffee and Lungs – Coffee also has a decongestant effect and is extremely effective in fighting colds, as it relieves bronchial tubes and accelerates recovery.
Coffee and Physical Endurance – Caffeine is a powerful ally in terms of endurance and athletic performance, whether it is a high-profile athlete or a regular practitioner of some kind of physical activity. Additionally, coffee can reduce muscle pain by up to 48%.