There is good news for all you coffee drinkers out there. Coffee isn't merely that jolt you depend on to get your day started, it provides numerous health benefits as well. Much like alcohol and chocolate, coffee has a historically bad reputation. Fortunately, an increasing number of recent studies have begun to show its potential health benefits.
Antioxidants and Nutrients
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Joy Dubost, claims that based on the amount of coffee consumed by Americans, it is one of the greatest sources of antioxidants their diet. In addition to antioxidants, coffee contains the essential nutrients chromium, potassium, niacin, vitamin E and magnesium. Coffee consumption alone can supply up to 8 percent of your chromium needs. Chromium plays a role in controlling your blood sugar and possibly lowering your LDL, or bad cholesterol. Much like tea, coffee contains plant chemical compounds, particularly flavonoids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease.
Improved Cognitive Function
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' spokeswoman and registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake says she considers increased cognitive function to be one of coffee's healthiest perks. A study published in the "American Journal of Epidemiology" in 2002 found that current coffee consumption, as well lifetime caffeine use, may be correlated to better performance on cognitive tests among women. For men, coffee consumption is linked to slower cognitive decline. Overall, coffee may reduce both cognitive and motor deficiency associated with aging.
Reduced Diabetes Risk
Coffee contains ingredients that both lower your blood sugar and increase your resting metabolic rate, reducing your risk for diabetes. Additionally, nutrients in coffee help your body use insulin, a hormone necessary to use and store sugar you get from food. Substantial coffee drinkers, of either regular or decaffeinated coffee, could be half as likely to develop diabetes than those who drink little to no coffee. The association between coffee intake and diabetes proposes that each cup of coffee you drink per day, could result in a 7 percent reduction in your risk for developing diabetes.
The National Cancer Institute has reported that men who drink coffee regularly are less likely to develop prostate cancer. A 60 percent reduction in the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer was found in men who drank 6 or more cups of coffee per day. Even 1 to 3 cups of coffee reduced the risk. Four or more cups of coffee per day have also been shown to reduce the incidence of colon cancer. Furthermore, researchers discovered that people who drink coffee are 50 percent less likely to develop liver cancer than their non-drinking counterparts. Additional studies have linked coffee consumption to lower rates of breast and rectal cancer.
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Coffee’s Health Benefits
- USDA: Coffee -- A Functional Food with Health Benefits
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Benefits of Java
- American Journal of Epidemiology: Coffee Consumption and Cognitive Function Among Older Adults
- PubMed: Coffee, but Not Caffeine, has Positive Effects on Cognition and Psychomotor Behavior in Aging
- American Diabetes Association: Insulin Basics
- National Institues of Health: Coffee May Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer
- Linus Pauling Institute: Chromium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Flavonoids