Coffee is probably one of the most popular beverages in the world. It’s a symbol of social interactions, leisure time, and mornings. Besides this cultural significance, coffee can have many health benefits and make your life more fulfilling. So, let’s find out more about this wonderful drink and learn about all the ways it can make you healthier.
The Story Of Coffee
Coffee has been part of human life for so long that no one knows how exactly it was discovered. There’s an Ethiopian legend saying that goats were responsible for its discovery. A shepherd named Kaldi noticed one day that his goats had more energy after eating berries from a nearby tree. Soon enough he shared this find with the local monastery and curious monks used these berries to concoct a drink from them. The new-made beverage kept them awake all night and quickly enough the word about coffee spread to the Arabian peninsula where its cultivation and trade began.
Europe started drinking coffee sometime in the 17th century. Although it was controversial in the beginning, soon it became favored in big cities where people drank beer and wine for breakfast. Although it arrived in the New World at the same time, tea was the drink of choice until the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Plantations started to grow all over the world because missionaries and colonists carried the seeds with them. Today, it's unimaginable to have a life without coffee and it even found a way in cosmetic products and food.
How To Make Your Coffee Drinking Healthier
There is a belief that if you take certain things in moderation, they can be good for you. The same applies to coffee. To start with healthier coffee drinking, choose varieties from organic plantations that don’t use pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Also, avoid adding sugar and replace it with healthier sweeteners, like stevia or just add cream.
Since coffee contains caffeine which can keep you awake, don’t drink it before sleep or later in the afternoon. If you have cravings for a cup nonetheless, go with decaf since it has no caffeine but has all the flavors. Just listen to your body and observe its reaction to coffee to know how many cups are your daily limit.
It Can Help With Weight Loss
You probably noticed that fat-burning supplements contain caffeine. This is nothing unconventional or misleading since caffeine can boost metabolism by 3–11%. Excess weight is one of the most serious issues today, especially in the modern world. Based on the World Health Organization data, almost two billion adults were overweight and over half a million were obese in 2016.
These numbers have tripled in the last 40 years because the way of life has drastically changed. Today, people spend a lot of time in a sedentary position, don't have time for physical activity, and eat unhealthily. While you have to improve your lifestyle all together, coffee can help you with your weight loss plan and increase fat elimination.
It May Keep Your Liver Healthy
The liver has one of the most important functions in your body — detoxification. Everything you ingest and absorb through your digestive tract goes into the blood that then enters the liver for filtering before reaching the rest of your body. One of the most dangerous conditions of the liver is cirrhosis which can even lead to devastating consequences like its failure.
However, this is where coffee can help. A study has shown that drinking four or more cups of coffee per day can lower the risk of cirrhosis up to 80%. Of course, you still need to eat and behave in a healthy way to avoid diseases that can lead to cirrhosis.
It Can Lower The Risk Of Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease caused by insulin resistance or the inability of your body to produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which is responsible for helping cells to use glucose for energy. If you don't have enough insulin or your body can't use it properly, you can experience a rise in blood sugar and develop diabetes.
Coffee can reduce the risk of diabetes for as much as 50%, sometimes even more. One coffee per day can cause a decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%, based on the study from Australia. It reviewed 18 studies on coffee consumption which included over 450 million participants. Paired with proper diet and physical exercise, coffee may increase your quality of life and prevent you from developing diabetes.
It May Lower The Risk Of Neurodegenerative Disease
Neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, are deteriorating conditions that greatly affect a person's mental and physical health. There is no cure, but you can do some things to lower the risks and prevent these diseases from occurring.
Diet and exercise are crucial, but coffee may also play a beneficial part in your efforts to ward off these degenerative conditions. People who drink coffee with caffeine regularly have more than 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
It Can Improve Your Mental Health
Depression is a mood disorder that can affect how you think, feel, and behave. It's usually characterized by feelings of sadness and disinterest in everyday things, like showering, sleeping, and working. More than 250 million people around the world suffer from depression regardless of age and gender, though the female population is the most affected.
The good news is that coffee can lower the risk of developing depression by 20% in women if you drink four or more cups every day. It may also decrease the suicide risk considerably by 53% in all those suffering from depression. It’s important to note that coffee shouldn’t replace the talk therapy and medications you may be taking or plan to take.
It May Actually Lower The Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
You probably heard that coffee can cause high blood pressure. Maybe that's the reason why you avoid drinking coffee or drink it only in the morning. It will indeed raise your blood pressure, but the overall effect is small, only 3–4 mm/Hg, and it may disappear during regular coffee intake.
A lot of studies don’t support theories that coffee can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. If anything, they show that people who drink coffee can have lower risks. It can even reduce the risks of stroke by 20%, as one study on the Japanese population showed in 2013. If you have a chronic heart problem, inherited high blood pressure, or incidence of stroke in the family, drink coffee in moderation but don't stop completely.
It Is A Great Source Of Antioxidants
Coffee is full of antioxidants. These substances fight off free radicals which damage cells inside your body. Interestingly, you get more antioxidants from coffee than from your diet, even fruits, and vegetables. This makes it one of the most beneficial drinks you can have, along with others, like kombucha and green tea.
Antioxidants are vital to keep you healthy and protect you from serious diseases, like cancer. They can also delay aging, but none of these beneficial effects is possible if you don't change your lifestyle. Quit smoking, sleep well and adopt healthier behaviors to help coffee eliminate free radicals from your body.
It Brings Up Your Energy Levels
The most famous benefit of coffee is that it helps you stay awake. Many people drink for this reason, especially when they have a big day ahead of them or have to stay up late. Finding a professional coffee machine at the workplace is not uncommon anymore since employers recognize the benefits of this beverage on productivity.
One cup of coffee in the morning with breakfast can increase your focus and sharpen your brain so you can concentrate on finishing your tasks within deadlines. Having coffee is also a nice way to meet new colleagues and feel like part of the team which can boost your enthusiasm to work. Since you will be able to connect to others socially, you can improve your self-esteem and feel accepted by others. This is crucial in a work environment as well as for relationships in your private life since everyday interactions with people can positively affect your mental health.
It’s Full Of Important Nutrients
The body depends on vitamins and minerals to function properly. These nutrients make sure that all your organs are in good condition and have everything they need to be healthy. Coffee contains many of the nutrients that you need daily, even though their content is low.
For example, one cup of coffee can have 3% of the daily recommended intake (RDI) of magnesium and potassium. The same amount of coffee can provide 11% of the RDI of Vitamin B2 and 2$ of the RDI of B3. This may not seem like much, but considering that people don’t pay much attention to what they eat or take dietary supplements, it’s a welcoming addition.
It Can Prepare You For Physical Exertion
Besides making you energized and productive, coffee can also boost your physical performance. Because it increases the epinephrine levels in your blood, you can feel more prepared for physical exertion. Epinephrine or adrenaline is a flight-or-flight hormone produced by the adrenal glands and some neurons. Increased levels of this hormone can speed-up your heart rate, bring more blood to the muscles, and keep you more alert.
Because caffeine can raise adrenaline in your body, you can experience improvement in your physical performance by 12%. So, it’s okay and even recommended to have a cup of coffee before your workout or any other physical activity to boost your endurance.
It May Protect You Against Cancer
In 2018, over 18 million patients were suffering from cancer globally based on estimates by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). There are many causes for the onset of cancer and numerous successful treatments if the disease is caught early.
Coffee may be helpful against two types of cancer: colorectal and liver cancer. The latter is number three on the list of cancer-caused deaths. According to a study from Sweden, consumption of two cups of coffee per day can decrease the risk of liver cancer by 43%. When it comes to colorectal cancer, a study on almost half a million people concluded that having 4–5 cups of coffee daily can lower the risks of onset by 15%.
It May Prolong Your Life
Until humankind finds a fountain of youth, there are things you can do to live longer. One of those is coffee drinking since it can prolong your life by keeping at bay many diseases, conditions, and harmful processes in the body. Paired with responsible behavior, like healthy living and stress control, coffee may be the elixir of life.
Studies showed that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of death. Researchers observed men and women of adult age for 18 and 24 years, respectively. Men experienced a 20% lower risk of death, while women resulted in a slightly higher find of 26%. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes particularly expressed this health benefit. Diabetics observed for 20 years who regularly drank coffee showed a 30% reduced risk of death, according to study from Finland.
As you see, coffee drinking can have many health benefits and even prevent some serious conditions from happening. If drunk the right way, coffee can give you energy, prevent stroke, lower the risk of cancer, and help with weight loss. It is also a good way to protect yourself against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and live longer.
Today, even those who don’t like the taste of coffee can find a version of this beverage to their liking. How many cups you can have during the day is up to you and the way you tolerate caffeine. So, always listen to your body to not over caffeinate yourself and ruin all the benefits with one sip too many.