The Health Benefits of Coffee

For some reason coffee still has a bad rep. Even though there have been several reports in recent years regarding the health benefits of coffee, some people still believe that drinking copious amounts of fruit juice is somehow better for you than drinking coffee.

Coffee contains several anti-oxidants, that are reported to help fight off bowel cancer. Studies have also suggested that coffee can lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and colon cancer. Coffee helps to lift cheer you up, potentially treat depression and also help cope with headaches. And it is good for our teeth too, as it can reduce your risk of developing cavities. Coffee has been shown to help reduce the onset of dementia and Alzheimers disease. In fact, a recent study by researchers at the University of Florida showed that drinking 5 cups of coffee a day can help to reverse the effects of Alzheimers (although the research did not use human subjects). So, why the bad reputation?


Maybe it is more to do with the perceived drinking culture, with many European coffee shops being smoky places, or some coffee drinkers being workaholics living on 4 hours sleep each night.

Dr. Gary Arendash, research leader at Florida Uni who carried out the study on the positive effects of coffee on Alzheimers patients said that their results are particularly exciting, however results showed that a reversal of pre-existing memory impairment is more difficult to achieve. They provide evidence that caffeine could be a viable ‘treatment’ for established Alzheimer’s disease and not simply a protective strategy. Source: BBC Health News.

Also there  is very strong evidence that regular coffee consumption reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease, and the essential ingredient is the caffeine in the coffee. In fact, Parkinson’s drugs are now being developed that contain a derivative of caffeine based on this evidence.

Coffee After Exercise?

Other studies have shown that coffee can help to aid recovery after exercise, by reducing muscle soreness. Also, some fitness enthusiasts include caffeine in their list of favourite supplements to aid training. It could be argued that any healthy, legal substance that helps people to get fitter and stronger is good for you. Caffeine also improve performance – this was recognized by the Olympic Games Committee who have classed caffeine as a controlled substance.

Coffee can also reduce the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver and has been linked to a reduced risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, a primary liver cancer that usually arises in patients with pre-existing cirrhosis. The exact mechanism and the amount of coffee needed to achieve a beneficial effect are as yet unclear. Coffee also decreases the risk of developing gall stones – so combined with drinking plenty of water to stay well hydrated, coffee can reduce the need for painful treatments and surgery.

Research by Esther Lopez-Garcia of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid showed that coffee drinkers generally develop less heart disease than non-drinkers.

Black coffee is low calorie, health, perks you up, fights mental decline and even provides some antioxidants. Adding milk can lead to people consuming too many calories, especially if 5 full fat lattes are drunk each day. But, if you are working out the recommended 5 times a week, then the protei in the milk will aid muscle recovery far more that vitamin C in orange juice.

Cholesterol Warning

Not all good news though as coffee raises cholesterol levels. If you have high cholesterol and are trying to lower it then coffee may not be the best drink. If you use that extra energy to exercise harder though, you should end up in a better state of health.

So, is coffee the new health drink? Coffee does have various health problems associated with it, but this is generally when drunk in much higher quantities.

References:

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  2 comments for “The Health Benefits of Coffee

  1. July 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Great news! I love my morning skinny latte – especially after a good workout. Keeps me going all am and now I dont even have to feel guilty about it.

  2. Rob
    August 20, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Very interesting info:) I recently read on Mens Health magazine that coffee can also increase muscle in less time then desired because of its powerful influence on muscle contraction. Means less curls for bigger bi’s.

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