HEALTHY LIVING: 8 health benefits of coffee, based on science
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Here are the top 13 health benefits of coffee, that have been confirmed in actual human studies.
1. Coffee can improve energy levels and make you smarter
Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. This is because it contains a stimulant called caffeine, which is actually the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, it travels into the brain. Many controlled trials in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function.
2. Coffee can help you burn fat
Did you know that caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat burning supplement? There’s a good reason for that... caffeine is one of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%. Other studies show that caffeine can specifically increase the burning of fat, by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people. However, it is possible that these effects will diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.
3. Coffee may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a gigantic health problem, currently afflicting about 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by elevated blood sugars in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to secrete insulin. For some reason, coffee drinkers have a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The studies show that people who drink the most coffee have a 23-50% lower risk of getting this disease, one study showing a reduction as high as 67%.
4. Coffee may protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide. This disease usually affects people over 65 years of age. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. Several studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Caffeine may lower the risk of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, right after Alzheimer’s. It is caused by death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain. Same as with Alzheimer’s, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention. In studies, coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, with a reduction in risk ranging from 32-60%.
6. Coffee appears to have protective effects on the liver
The liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions in the body. Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and others. Many of these diseases can lead to a condition called cirrhosis, in which the liver has been largely replaced by scar tissue. It turns out that coffee may protect against cirrhosis. People who drink 4 or more cups per day have up to an 80% lower risk.
7. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of some types of cancer
Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death and is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer... liver cancer and colorectal cancer. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth. Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer. One study of 489,706 individuals found that those who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
8. Coffee does not cause heart disease and may lower the risk of stroke
It is often claimed that caffeine can increase blood pressure. This is true, but the effect is small (3-4 mm/Hg) and usually goes away if you drink coffee regularly. However, the effect may persist in some people, so keep that in mind if you have elevated blood pressure. That being said, the studies do not support the myth that coffee raises the risk of heart disease. In fact, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk of heart disease. Some studies also show that coffee drinkers have a 20% lower risk of stroke.