Have Another Cup! 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Coffee
The World Health Organization recently removed coffee from its list of possible carcinogens. WHO cited that there is an overwhelming amount of research that coffee can promote health and actually inhibit cancer.
Coffee is touted as medicinal and denounced as health destroying over the centuries, has become one of the well known drinks in the world today. The Boston Tea Party turned coffee into a patriotic drink in colonial America. In 1952 an ad campaign promoted the idea of a coffee break, and it quickly become a daily ritual in workplaces, homes and churches in the United States.
Many of my patients come to their first appointment with a clear “non-negotiable:” “I’m here to lose weight, gain energy, eat better, but I won’t give up bacon.” Bacon is big, followed by ice cream and coffee.
I never understand the coffee reference. It is, in fact, an antioxidant powerhouse. It’s most likely the greatest source of antioxidants consumed globally — probably because as a daily habit, more people drink coffee than eat broccoli, but also because compounds in coffee called chlorogenic acids are pretty potent! Need more convincing? Read on.
What’s in Coffee?
Coffee is a good source of the B vitamin riboflavin, and is also a concentrated source of antioxidant phytochemicals.
- Chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant compound that is the major phenol in coffee
- Caffeine, a naturally occurring stimulant that affects the central nervous system
- Quinic acid, a phytochemical that contributes to the acidic taste of coffee
- N-methylpyridinium (NMB), created by roasting, may make the antioxidants more potent
- Chlorogenic acid may be slightly lower in decaf coffee according to limited research, but it still contains plenty of phytochemicals
1. Coffee can help prevent and reverse liver disease.
Your liver absolutely loves your coffee habit. It may reduce the risk of liver cancer by 41%, and death from liver cirrhosis, but more remarkably, coffee may help in the prevention and reversal of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that impacts one-third of Americans and involves the deposit of fat in the liver due to poor lifestyle choices. If it’s not caught early, it can lead to more devastating health consequences. Even decaf – can decrease risk of colorectal cancer.
2. Coffee can help you live longer.
The studies are strong and most of them show the more you drink, the longer you live. It doesn’t always matter if the coffee was full strength or decaf. For example, one study showed men who drank six or more cups a day had a 10 percent lower risk of death and women who drank the same amount had a 15 percent reduction. Authors noted that many other studies showed inverse associations between coffee consumption and diabetes, stroke and death due to inflammatory diseases.
3. Coffee plays a role in the prevention of many cancers.
It helps prevent cancer, not cause it. This was the 2016 conclusion of the World Health Organization after rigorous reviews of the data. The group indicated that it could “find no conclusive evidence of carcinogenic effects of drinking coffee.” In fact, studies show that it may play a role in the prevention of cancers of the breast and colon and may also help to reduce the risk of recurrence in survivors of both. Additionally, coffee consumption has been linked with reduction of cancers of the oral cavity, endometrial cancer and skin. Men who have 6 cups a day reduce their prostate cancer risk by 60%.
Dr. Oz’s Tips For Maximizing The Health Benefits Of Coffee
World Health Organization Report Says Coffee May Lower Risk of Cancer
4. Coffee may help in the prevention of dementia.
A study just published in the journal Nature found compounds in caffeine help to produce an enzyme associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Other studies have shown similar results. A 2016 study of over 6,000 women aged 65 and older showed a 36 percent reduction of incident dementia, or new cases of the disease, among those who had two to three cups of coffee per day.
5. Coffee may improve your sex life.
Yes, it’s true. One study found men who drank two to three cups daily were 42 percent less likely to report erectile dysfunction. This observation was consistent in men who were overweight, obese or hypertensive. However, researchers did not see a decrease in men with diabetes. It’s believed caffeine created a pharmacological impact that resulted in increased penile blood flow.
Is coffee for everyone?
Not everyone should enjoy endless mugs of coffee and this has a lot to do with our genes. For example, individuals who possess certain variants of the CYP1A2 gene should not go crazy with coffee as it can increase the risk of heart attack.
Many wonder if the benefits are associated with the caffeine or the bean. Studies point to positive health benefits with both, so if your choice of joe is decaf, you’re likely still getting major benefit.
Finally, the ingredients we tend to add to our cup may ruin some of the health benefits. Non-dairy creamers can carry disease-causing trans fats and sugars, and may even reduce the total antioxidant capacity of your coffee. That means those potent chlorogenic acids diminish, and perhaps many of the benefits as well. If you are up to the challenge, try going completely black or with a no-added-sugar non-dairy alternative. And please, no whipped cream!
Are you drinking too much water?
Our bodies are made up of roughly 60 percent of water. It’s crucial to our daily health. Drinking plenty of water helps your body regulate body temperature, flush waste products out of the body, prevent constipation,healthy skin and has a whole host of other vital functions.
However, over-hydration, also known as water intoxication or water poisoning, is when there is too much water in your body, enough to cause an abnormal balance of electrolytes in your system.
How can you tell if you’re drinking too much water?
- You drink water even when you’re not thirsty
- You continuously drink water until your urine is clear
- You feel nauseous and may experience vomiting
- You notice swelling or discoloration in your hands, lips, and feet
Constantly fueling your body with water can cause hyponatremia, or low sodium levels in your blood, which can cause the body’s cells to swell. This throws the balance off between water and sodium in your blood.
Your urine is a key indicator if you’re getting the proper amount of fluids in your system. If you’re drinking a healthy amount of water, the color of your urine should be straw-colored to transparent yellow.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the right amount for men is roughly about 13 cups of total beverages a day; for women, about 9 cups of total beverages a day. All fluids count for the total.
Are you drinking too much coffee?
If you rely on caffeine to wake you up and keep you going, you are not alone. Millions of people use caffeine to help wake up, avoid fatigue, and improve concentration.
According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s equal to almost four cup of regular brew a day, or 10 cans of soda or two “energy shot” drinks. Time to cut back if you’re drinking more than four cups of caffeinated coffee a day (or the equivalent) and experiencing side effects such as:
- Migraine headache
- Frequent urination or inability to control urination
- Fast heartbeat
Although caffeine use may be safe for adults, it’s not a good idea for children. Adolescents should limit caffeine consumption.
Avoid mixing caffeine with other substances, such as alcohol.
To help curb an excess caffeine habit:
- Keep tabs. Start paying attention to how much caffeine you’re getting from foods and beverages, including energy drinks. Read labels carefully.
- Cut back gradually. For example, drink one fewer can of soda or drink a smaller cup of coffee each day.
- Go decaf. Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste the same as their caffeinated counterparts.
Are you sleeping too much?
We often hear about the risks associated with too little sleep, but on the other side of the coin, sleeping too much also has health impacts. According to the National Sleep Foundation, they recommend somewhere in the range of seven to nine hours is normal and healthy for most adults between 18 and 64 years of age. Several trends and studies have linked oversleeping with higher rates of mortality and disease as well as things like depression.
Research links longer sleep habits with:
- Cognitive impairment
- Increased inflammation
- Higher risk of obesity
- Higher risk of diabetes
- Higher risk of heart disease
It appears that any significant deviation from normal sleep patterns can upset the body’s rhythms and increase daytime fatigue.
Are you exercising too much?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the current exercise guidelines for adults recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity,or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity. If you’re doing high intensity interval exercises, it’s not recommended to do them more than three times a week.
6 signs you need to cut back or let your body rest:
- Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized.
- Mood changes.
- Depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and irritability are common when your body is over-stressed physically.
- Weakened immune system: it takes forever to get over a cold
- Insomnia. You’re unable to sleep or you can’t seem to get enough sleep
- Delayed recovery time. Persistent muscle soreness that lasts for hours or days after your workout is a sure sign you need more rest
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, R.D., is the manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and the author of “Skinny Liver.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinKirkpat. ps Today.com