Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, after water of course. More than 10 $ billion is spent on this energizing product each year. As a comparison, the European Union exported cars in the worth of 132 billion EUR, in 2017 (Eurostat, 2018). Needless to say, the difference between these two revenues becomes a minuscule one when we consider how different the two products are.
Coffee has been around for thousands of years. Actually, coffee’s roots span so far that nobody actually knows when was the exact period people started using it. Some sources state that the beneficial effects of coffee were first noticed in Ethiopia, after which this beverage slowly took over the whole world (NCA, 2019).
It is important to note that coffee beans while containing the famous caffeine substance, contain a lot of other, lesser-known substances that also affect the way our bodies works. Some of them are- chlorogenic acid, hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ), caffeic acid, and other substances.
13 Benefits of Drinking Coffee
In this section, we will rely heavily on numerous medical studies that tried to assess just how beneficial coffee is. As it turned out, coffee has a lot of good effects on the body (and the mind), but in this text, we chose to mention only the most important ones.
1 Reduced Risk of Dementia
Sadiq Butt and Sultan (2011) in a comprehensive article in which they summarized almost all hitherto undertaken studies, mentioned that negative correlation has been repeatedly found between coffee consumption and Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course, we have to be careful with the concept of correlation- as it doesn’t necessarily imply causation- in other words, we don’t exactly know the nature of relationship between coffee consumption and Alzheimer’s disease, but we know that people who drink coffee are less likely to develop this type of dementia.
2Protection Against Parkinson’s
Negative correlations between another type of dementia and coffee have also been found. This time, it is Parkinsonism, and scientists concluded that coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from Parkinson’s disease at a certain point of their lives (Sadiq Butt & Sultan, 2011).
Like Alzheimer’s, Parkinsonism is a particularly insidious type of disease that slowly deteriorates the person’s physical and mental states. While patients with Alzheimer are only mentally challenged, people with Parkinson’s disease also have motoric and somatic problems.
Dementia in Parkinson’s disease is actually just a part of a whole syndrome.
3Coffee Ameliorates Cognitive Functioning
Closely linked with the first benefit is the second one- coffee ameliorates cognitive functioning. Scientists have found that some substances found in coffee beans (kahweol and cafestol) protect the brain against some malignant cells that could otherwise cause cancer (Sadiq Butt & Sultan, 2011).
This is achieved by modulating detoxifying enzymes that exist normally in our metabolic system.
4Coffee Protects from Chronic Liver Diseases
In one recent research, doctors have found that coffee lowers the damage that the liver suffers in some liver diseases, such as Hepatitis, for instance. In one Brazilian research, researchers identified the positive effect of coffee on the health of patients who suffer from chronic Hepatitis C (Machado, Parise & Carvalho, 2014).
This effect is sometimes called hepatoprotective effect- the word itself comes from the Greek language, where hepat stands for liver.
More specifically, Brazilian scientists have found that patients who ingest more than 123 mg of caffeine per day recuperate faster than patients who ingest a lower amount of caffeine.
5It Lowers Oxidative Stress
By inducing protein expression, and mRNA, coffee alleviates the oxidative stress our whole body suffers. It is often presumed that this kind of alleviating process is linked with lower cancer rates among coffee users.
Some blog writers said, in referring to this topic, that coffee makes “repairs” your DNA, but it is rather silly to say this.
6Coffee Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes
In an enormous study that included researchers from all around the world, published in the famous medical journal Lancet, it has been stated that coffee lowers the chances of acquiring Type 2 diabetes (mellitus).
This rather unsettling metabolic disorder causes a lot of other complications- heart diseases, diabetic retinopathy, loss of blood flow to the limbs (which might lead to the necessity of undergoing an amputation as a result of necrosis), kidney failure, etc.
This is probably one of the most important findings concerning coffee, as diabetes has become one of the plagues of modern times. For instance, in 1985, only about 30 million people had this type of diabetes.
In the aforementioned research published in Lancet, it has been assessed that more than 392 million people worldwide suffered from Type 2 diabetes.
To put it differently, in the period of just 30 years, we’ve been able to see a more than tenfold increase in the number of people who are suffering from this metabolic disorder.
Asian cultures, where a lot of rice is consumed, are even more susceptible to this chronic disorder, as the rice they eat is saturated with sugar- considering that these are the fastest-growing nations in the world, we should, unfortunately, expect a further increase in the numbers of people who are suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
But there is another important thing. Although Type 2 diabetes has a genetic component (e.g. there are genes that cause it), a lot of new cases don’t have this genetic predisposition. It is rather the way of living (lack of exercise, obesity, etc.) that probably caused the exponential growth of new Type 2 diabetes cases.
All this means that you can lower the possibility of acquiring this deadly disease by leading a healthy lifestyle, and possibly, drinking at least a tiny bit of coffee every now and then.
7Coffee Drinking has Positive Effects on Skeletal Muscles
Up until now, the effects of coffee on the heart muscle have been the most investigated, while the relationship between rich phytochemistry found in coffee beans and skeletal muscles has mostly been neglected.
However, there are some studies which prove that drinking coffee might speed up muscle recovery, and regeneration of injuries (Dirks-Naylor, 2015). Moreover, autophagy, more efficient insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake are some other benefits of coffee drinking for the skeletal muscles.
So, if you are a sportsman or sportswoman, don’t hesitate to drink at least one cup of coffee here and there. It won’t hurt, quite the contrary! Of course, you should be careful not to go over-the-top, especially try not to “caffeinate” yourself before some important competitions or games.
However, if you drink it in moderation, your career in sports might actually benefit quite a lot from drinking coffee.
8Coffee Lowers the Risk of Endometrial Cancer
Giovanucci (2012) in his large meta-analysis of studies on the effects of coffee, found that ingesting coffee on a fairly regular basis possibly decreases risks of acquiring endometrial cancer. This type of cancer occurs in women, as it afflicts female reproductive organs (womb and the lining of the uterus).
Women in menopause have the greatest risk of developing endometrial cancer. Up to 320,000 women are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year, while about 76,000 deaths occur every year as a result of this terrible disease (World Health Organization, 2014).
9Coffee Helps with Retaining Good Oral Health
Although superficially bad for your teeth (as they get darker from drinking coffee), coffee is actually good for your oral health (Alasaad, n.d.). For example, a lot of scientists concluded that some substances in coffee beans help with retaining healthy gums.
Needless to say, having healthy gums means that your teeth are also healthy. Furthermore, although it darkens your teeth, coffee has minimal eroding effects on the teeth, provided that you don’t put too much sugar. But you should be aware of sugar consumption anyway, so this is a problem that’s actually completely independent from coffee consumption.
You can also preclude this darkening effect by washing teeth some 30 minutes after drinking a cup of your favorite beverage.
10Coffee as a Digestive
You’ve probably heard this one before. Coffee affects your digestive system in numerous ways, some of which are clearly good- for instance, coffee relieves constipation and lowers sugar absorption.
Caffeine influences intestinal muscles in a way that they contract more frequently and intensively. This means that the food you’ve eaten moves along a lot more fast, resulting in a faster digestive cycle.
If you have problems with blood sugar levels, you might be very happy to hear that your morning cup of energizing drink actually lowers glucose absorption in your digestive system.
11Coffee = Energy!
We all know and love this side of coffee. We could rightfully say that the world currently runs on coffee! So many people drink it in the morning, at the beginning of the day, at their lunch brakes, that we couldn’t even imagine how the world would look like without coffee.
Of course, coffee means energy, but only in moderation. It’s not smart to spend a waking night in the first place, let alone caffeinating yourself in the process of being awake the whole night.
12More Coffee – Less Depression
This mental disorder is actually as dangerous as some of the diseases we’ve already mentioned in this text. We’ve seen that almost 400 million people worldwide suffer from Type 2 diabetes- the situation is not much better with depression- it is estimated that about 300 million people all around the world suffer from at least some type of depression (as there are many types of it).
And depression is really, as dangerous as diabetes- you might wonder why, and the answer is: because a lot of depressive people go on to commit suicide. Even if it weren’t for this terrible consequence of melancholia, depression would still be exceptionally bad, as it lowers productivity, motivation, and the joy of living.
A study conducted by the HSPH (Harvard School of Public Health) concluded that people who drink coffee are less likely to experience depression during their lifetimes.
13Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a neurodegenerative disease that slowly degenerates central and peripheral nervous systems by degrading the myelinic coating of neurons- and thus slowing down the information flow.
According to scientists from the University of Southern California, coffee reduces the risk of developing this horrible disease.
It is important to state that the cause of MS remains a mystery, although it is presumed that a certain combination of environmental and genetic factors causes it.
There are many more benefits of drinking coffee, and we’ve tried to enumerate and briefly describe the most important ones. We cannot emphasize enough that moderation is the key.
This, of course, stands for all nutritional habits- whether you like eating chocolate or eating spicy food- you should be careful not to get to carried away with your passions.
It is the same with coffee- if you drink it excessively, side effects of too much coffee might overweigh the good things- blood pressure, heart diseases, and other cardiovascular problems are probably perpetuated by excessive caffeine consumption.
So take care, and enjoy your (moderate) cup of coffee! We sure will!