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Last Updated on November 25, 2022

15 Health Benefits of Coffee According to Science

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15 Health Benefits of Coffee According to Science

Coffee often gets a bad rep, based on everything ranging from its caffeine content to the stains it leaves on your teeth. But the truth is that the benefits of this beverage far outweigh many of the perceived negatives associated with it. What’s often overlooked is the fact that coffee is so much more than just caffeine.

In its original form, it’s a whole food that contains a plethora of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. The key is knowing where to find high-quality coffee and how to avoid losing its health benefits by decreasing its nutrient content or adding harmful substances, like artificial ingredients.

Let’s look at some of the excellent health benefits of coffee according to science in this article.

Health Benefits of Coffee: Types of Coffee Beans

If you’re a true coffee connoisseur, you probably know all there is to know about different kinds of coffees. However, do you know which coffee is healthy and which isn’t? There are a lot of things that can change how healthy your coffee is but the biggest factor is the coffee bean. Yes! It’s those brown-colored beans that you love.

The National Coffee Association (NCA) identifies Arabica (also known as Coffee arabica) and Robusta (Coffee canephora) as the two main types of coffee beans. These two coffee beans differ from each other in both taste and the amount of caffeine that they possess. However, both are healthy in use since they contain antioxidants and various nutrients that are beneficial for the body.

Decaf coffee, like regular coffee, is also a completely safe alternative to consume and may be included in your healthy lifestyle since it doesn’t contain any extra elements, only the caffeine is extracted from the coffee (Decaffeination is a perfectly safe process, in case you were wondering).[1]

15 Benefits of Coffee Backed by Science

Thought to be carcinogenic for a long time, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans helped shift public opinion. As part of a balanced diet, coffee use in moderate amounts was officially recognized for the first time. The statistics leaned in favor of coffee since it promoted protective enzymes in the drinkers’ bodies.[2]

Here are 15 coffee benefits backed by science that all drinkers should know about:

1. Helps You Burn More Calories

According to a study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, drinking about four cups of coffee daily can reduce body fat by 4%.[3] Even if you don’t work out, drinking caffeine has also been proven to boost your metabolism by 10 to 20% for those who drink one to two cups daily.

As a result, you can burn some calories (and it even helps you to lose weight if you’re on a diet and have an exercise regimen).

2. Improves Your Blood Circulation

Drinking coffee is a great way to improve your circulation of blood. According to a Japanese study, drinking a five-ounce coffee has been proven to cause a 30% boost in capillary blood flow.[4]

Increased blood circulation results in better oxygenation of your body’s tissues which has several benefits, such as improved performance in physical activities, regulating blood pressure, less breathlessness, etc.

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3. Has a Pain-Reducing Effect

Coffee literally alleviates some of your physical pains, much like ibuprofen or other pain medications. Research from the University of Illinois determined that one or two cups of coffee a day is able to provide drinkers with good pain management.[5] It acts as an ibuprofen and pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and lessens pains like headaches and muscle aches.

Coffee also decreases muscle soreness by 48%, as compared to medicines like naproxen and aspirin which decrease muscle soreness by 30% and 25%, respectively. [6]

4. Helps Preserve Your Muscle Tissue

When you drink coffee, your brain releases a substance called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which supports the powerhouse of your muscles. Without this essential factor, muscles are more likely to experience atrophy.

Caffeine can have an effect on many different types of cells in the body, including muscle and fat cells, as well as brain and nerve cells. You also may have seen athletes drink coffee, which is mainly because caffeine can prevent the decline in muscle power.

5. Improves Your Memory

Another vital brain function supported by coffee consumption is enhanced memory. Caffeine helps to stimulate the brain by increasing serotonin and acetylcholine, which as a result, helps to stabilize the blood-brain barrier. In addition, there are other properties like polyphenol micronutrients that can help to prevent tissue damage.[7]

Keep in mind the type and quality of coffee comes into play. Coffee that is roasted longer (dark roast coffee) tends to produce more phenylindanes which protects the brain. [8]

6. Lowers Your Risk for Depression

Coffee has also been linked to a lower rate of depression, especially in women. Those who consume as many as four eight-ounce cups per day have been found to lower their depression risk by as much as 20%.

A research fellow in nutrition, Michel Lucas, and his team found that women who consumed four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of depression compared to those who consumed less than two cups per day.[9] There was no apparent protection against depression in those who drank decaf, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and other liquids containing less caffeine.

This lowered risk is because coffee also has an impact on the production of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

7. Reduces Your Risk of Some Cancers

Coffee has been studied extensively by researchers, and scientists claim that it can have a great impact on reducing the risks of cancer. So far, coffee has been linked to a lowered risk for liver and colorectal cancer, the world’s third and fourth most common cancers.

According to a study by BMC Med, coffee can lower the risk of getting kidney cancer and protect against colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and various other cancerous diseases due to its carcinogenic and antioxidant qualities. Coffee drinkers appear to be at a 40% lower risk for liver cancer and a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer if they drink four to five cups daily.[10]

Roasted coffee tends to have less acrylamide, a white, odorless crystal chemical manufacturers use in food packaging, caulk, and certain adhesives. Natural roasted coffee contained the least amount of acrylamide, at 179 mcg/kg, while instant coffee contains 358 mcg/kg of acrylamide.[11]

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8. Reduces Your Risk for Heart Disease

New research suggests that if you drink one or more cups of coffee every day, you may be less likely to get heart failure, and only if it has caffeine.

While this is true, the effect has been determined to be relatively small and generally only present in those who don’t drink coffee regularly. Drinking two to three cups of coffee, whether it is instant, ground or decaffeinated, is found to significantly reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality, compared with avoiding coffee.[12]

People who drink coffee have a 5-8% lower chance of developing diseases like heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease, respectively, compared to people who don’t drink coffee at all. Coffee drinkers are also at a 20 percent lower risk of stroke.[13]

9. Helps to Combat Gout

Gout is a condition caused by increased uric acid in the blood. Some studies have suggested that coffee may lessen the risk of gout by reducing uric acid levels in the body. If you drink coffee, your body can eliminate more uric acid, bringing your uric acid levels down.[14]

Coffee may also inhibit the body’s ability to produce an enzyme necessary to metabolize purines. By doing so, uric acid production may slow.

Sugar is unnecessary, but adding a few tablespoons of low-fat milk to your coffee can help. One possible contributor to gout is a diet heavy in sugar. Decaf coffee also modestly lowered gout risk.

10. Helps You Obtain Numerous Nutrients and Antioxidants

Coffee outperforms green tea and chocolate, two of the powerhouses when it comes to antioxidants. As inflammation lies at the root of many debilitating diseases, antioxidants are an important tool in the fight against disorders like arthritis, atherosclerosis, and even cancer.

In raw coffee beans, scientists have found around 1,000 different antioxidants, and the roasting process creates hundreds more. In several studies, coffee was found to be the primary or one of the key sources of antioxidants in the diets of the study participants.[15] People in Western culture get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined.

Other essential ingredients include riboflavin (11% of the RDA), potassium (3%), magnesium, and niacin (2% each). These amounts are increased if you drink more than one cup per day.[16]

11. Makes You More Energetic

This benefit of coffee seems pretty apparent. It’s the reason many people turn to their morning cup of coffee.

No doubt coffee can give you that extra boost, especially when you’ve had a night of insufficient sleep. This is because caffeine is a stimulant that helps you feel more alert and focused. It also gives you a boost in energy and helps you keep going when you’re low on stamina.

Light roast coffee has the most caffeine, followed by medium roast and then dark roast. So if you want an instant energy boost, it’d be best to choose the light roast coffee.

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You can even boost your productivity if you drink coffee strategically; here’s how: The Ultimate Coffee Guide For Energy Boost

12. Lowers Your Risk of Alzheimer’s

Studies at the University of Miami and the University of South Florida have found a proven link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of dementia.

Those who consumed around three cups daily were also 65% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Coffee drinkers also have a lower risk, around 32 to 60%, of developing Parkinson’s disease, another top neurodegenerative disease.[17]

13. Smelling Coffee Reduces Stress

Do you wake up and feel ready to take on the day just by smelling your coffee? You may not be imagining things; a new study discovered that smelling coffee can make you stress-free and active.[18]

Keep in mind, caffeine’s stimulating effects can only be triggered in a person who already enjoys coffee and is familiar with its sweet, earthy aroma. The aroma of coffee beans, ground coffee, or freshly brewed coffee may not have the same effect on people who are either unfamiliar with coffee or who don’t experience a mental or physical boost after drinking it.

14. Helps You Live Longer

While it’s uncertain in precisely what ways drinking coffee lowers your risk of death, there seems to be a correlation. According to the findings, those who consume up to eight cups of coffee daily may have a marginally less chance of earlier age death in comparison to people who do not consume any coffee.

It doesn’t matter whether the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated, brewed or instant, its antioxidant quality regulates various bodily functions making the body work more efficiently.[19]

15. Promotes Sustainability

Recent years have seen the increasing popularity of fair trade coffee, which protects small coffee farmers worldwide.

As fair trade organizations work to improve farmers’ rights and earning potential, they also promote social, economic, and environmental sustainability. They encourage shade-grown and organic coffee, part of what makes the beans grown in places like Costa Rica superior to those you might get from more prominent commercial distributors.[20]

Any Potential Risks of Drinking Coffee?

There are a few crucial factors you should consider if you want to enjoy the benefits of coffee. Since many of these benefits are directly linked to the caffeine in coffee, you won’t get the same perks from decaf. You can also decrease the health benefits by adding artificial sweeteners and creamers.

While coffee can help you resist fatigue, drinking it excessively can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Coffee is also a diuretic. Drinking too much of it can result in dehydration.

Individuals with mental health issues may be more susceptible to the psychoactive effects of coffee. Caffeine in high dosages has been linked to increased anxiety and panic attacks. The other side effect many people experience when they begin drinking coffee is the inability to fall asleep. Often, this is because coffee (or anything with caffeine in it) has been consumed too soon before sleep.

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How Much Coffee Should I Drink a Day?

Drinking one or two cups of coffee is the optimal amount, nonetheless, you can always drink more but in moderation. It is best to time your cup of joe, so you don’t over-caffeinate your body.

The window of time between the morning and midday is ideal time for drinking coffee. Coffee provides the much-needed jolt that gets you into the swing of things and ready to go. First, you need a lot of concentration and energy to get your morning going and start with the most challenging activities at the beginning of the working day. Secondly, it makes you feel happy, which is the most important part of life.

How to Get the Maximum Benefit From Coffee?

To get the maximum health benefit of coffee, opt for whole coffee beans and grind them right before you’re ready to brew. Black coffee is recommended if you want to experience more of the benefits.

You’ll also want to go with organic coffee beans since those that aren’t pesticide-free are often among the most heavily-sprayed crops.

The best way to find beans free of chemicals is to look for a 100% organic seal or visit a local coffee farm and buy them directly from the grower. Your taste buds and your health will thank you.

Final Thoughts

A variety of morning routines exist specifically to provide a boost of energy. One of the simplest is coffee, whose aroma and smell are enough to rouse you from sleep even before you take that first sip. There is a variety of coffee out there that will suit anybody and any situation, with its own special blend of delectable aromas and flavors.

You’ll be in a great place of improved health, prolonged energy, peak creativity, and action if you know the advantages and risks of coffee and how to consume it wisely. So, don’t worry, and enjoy your cup of joe.

TL;DR

Don't have time for the full article? Read this.

15 Health Benefits of Coffee According to Science

Coffee is a popular drink because it helps you concentrate and gives you more stamina. The best time to drink coffee is between the morning and midday.

Coffee has been connected to various potential health advantages like improvement in your memory, lower risk of depression, and helps to combat gout.

Roasted coffee has the least amount of acrylamide, a white, odorless crystal chemical that manufacturers use in food packaging, caulk, and certain adhesives, compared to instant coffee.

Coffee gives you the boost you need with its antioxidant qualities and helps improve your blood circulation.

You can use any type of caffeine for healthy input, as long as it is in moderation. Anything used in excess is dangerous for the body.

Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

[1] National Coffee Association: All About Decaffeinated Coffee
[2] Health: Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
[3] Harvard T.H. Chan: Four cups of coffee a day associated with modest loss of body fat
[4] American Heart Association: Coffee may help perk up your blood vessels
[5] Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine: The Role of Caffeine in Pain Management: A Brief Literature Review
[6] Pain News Network: Does Coffee Reduce Your Pain?
[7] CNBC: Is coffee good for your memory? A Harvard brain expert shares how she gets the most out of its health benefits
[8] Medical News Today: How coffee protects the brain
[9] Archives of Internal Medicine: Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women
[10] BMC Cancer: Coffee consumption and risk of cancers: a meta-analysis of cohort studies
[11] Medical News Today: Is the acrylamide in coffee harmful to health?
[12] Pub Med: Light to moderate coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of death
[13] Time: Here’s Another Reason to Feel Good About Drinking Coffee
[14] National Library of Medicine: Epidemiology of Gout
[15] Greatist: Here’s the Scoop on Antioxidants in Coffee
[16] HealthLine: Coffee and Antioxidants: Everything You Need to Know
[17] Alzheimer’s Society: Caffeine and Dementia
[18] Stevens: The Scent of Coffee Appears to Boost Performance in Math
[19] Harvard: Caffeinated or not, coffee linked with longer life
[20] Sustainable Coffee: People Need Coffee to Thrive

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