In this post I discuss coffee health benefits (according to research), as well as it’s drawbacks and risks, plus my take on drinking coffee with key health considerations. I wrote it to help you ponder coffee’s pros and cons and make a decision for yourself to have it or not.
I have also included my FREE Sleep Guide download: Top 3 Nutrition Tips For Better Sleep Tonight! Key nutrition tips for insomnia PLUS my top 3 bedtime snacks for deeper and restful sleep. Get it below!
Let’s dive right in.
Just a drink or a drug?
Coffee is in the news regularly and it seems the body of data suggests that it could be beneficial for a number of medical conditions is steadily growing. It’s an amazingly potent collection of biologically active compounds which have far reaching effects on the body. As such it needs to be perceived and respected as a potent drug.
Caffeine, the most widely known compound in coffee, only makes up a mere 1% to 2% of the bean. The other ingredients such as chlorogenic acids, caffeol, polyphenols, phytoestrogens and diterpenes are now being researched regarding their effects on health.
Coffee benefits – research review
As caffeine is contained in some of the most widely consumed foods and beverages, it’s been extensively investigated in both animal models and human studies.
Highly regarded Medscape News published an excellent and extensively referenced summary of the potential medical benefits of coffee consumption (you can check it out HERE although registration is required to view this article in full. After you create a free account you’ll have access to an overview).
In summary, the main health conditions/ body systems covered in the Medscape article include:
- Cardiovascular system – despite potentially increasing blood pressure, coffee may lower the risk for coronary disease and protect against heart failure. In cited studies, moderate coffee intake was associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease as far out as 10 years, and new data suggests that an average of 2 cups a day protects against heart failure.
- Coffee consumption may cut stroke risk by as much as 25%. While its impact on stroke risk in those with cardiovascular disease is still in question, data presented at the European Meeting on Hypertension 2012 found that 1 to 3 cups a day may protect against ischemic stroke in the general population.
- Weight loss and diabetes – studies have linked coffee consumption with improved glucose metabolism, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and promotion of weight loss in overweight people.
- Cancer – according to recent data moderate to heavy coffee consumption (4-6 cups per day) can reduce the risk for numerous cancers. The benefits are thought to be at least partially due to its antioxidant and anti-mutagenic properties.
- Dementia and Parkinson’s disease – it’s clear that coffee temporarily affects cognition, many of us need it to get going in the morning! But new research also links it with more enduring effects on cognitive wellbeing including slowing the progression of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
- Depression – coffee drinkers reportedly have significantly decreased risk of developing depression. A 2011 study suggests that a boost in coffee consumption might also benefit our mental health: