Alexandra Preston | Naturalsociety | 23rd Nov 2014
Coffee is a staple beverage for people all over the world. However, it has gained a bad reputation in some circles, with concerns over problems including adrenal fatigue and myths about stunted growth. But the truth is that coffee carries many health benefits. The difference between studies that report coffee to be beneficial and those that deem it harmful is the quality of the coffee. A general rule to follow is that coffee beans are higher in quality than instant coffee. Fortunately, coffee made from clean beans can offer numerous benefits.
1. Protection Against Cancer
A study in the journal Gastroenterology found that consumption of two cups of coffee each day was associated with a 43% reduction in the risk of liver cancer. Additionally, a meta-analysis showed that coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer by 50%, with the risk reductions being higher for men at 62%.
Besides liver cancer, research has found that four or more cups of coffee per day can lower the risk of prostate cancer by 59%. Further, five cups per day can decrease breast cancer by 29% overall. Specifically, the risk of oestrogen receptor negative cancers dropped by 59%, and postmenopausal cancer by 37%.
2. Reduced All-Cause Mortality
Yes, coffee can even reduce your chances of dying. A meta-analysis involving a total of 997,464 people found that four cups of coffee per day reduced the all-cause mortality rate by 16%, while three cups each day lowered the cardiovascular disease mortality rate by 21%.
3. Less Inflammation…and Maybe Lower Alzheimer’s Risk
Among other coffee health benefits, research by the University of Illinois has found that caffeine can block brain based inflammation implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. It has the same effect as blocking the inflammatory chemical IL-1, by inhibiting the enzyme known as caspase-1, which triggers the production of IL-1-beta. Caffeine’s ability to block receptors that help activate caspase-1 is associated with cognitive improvement and protection against Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Less Headaches
We know that withdraw from caffeine can actually cause terrible headaches, but coffee may actually have the opposite affect when ingested in moderation. A study in the Journal of Headache & Pain has found that those drinking two or three cups of coffee each day experienced the lowest incidence of chronic headaches. This is because caffeine helps prevent vascular spasms and helps to block pain receptors on nerve endings, acting much like low-dose aspirin.
Let us know in the comments if you think this is true or false.
5. Liver Health
While coffee is more often thought of as something to detoxify from, a study of 27, 793 people found that at least 3 cups of coffee per day is associated with a reduction in abnormal liver enzymes. This effect was stronger with decaffeinated coffee on the enzymes ALT, with a 38% risk reduction instead of 25%, and AST, with a 26% reduction as opposed to 18%. Additionally, drinking at least 2 cups of coffee per day reduces death from cirrhosis by 66%, whereas other beverages such as fruit juice and tea do not affect cirrhosis mortality.
6. Weight Loss
Dave Aspey, author of The Bulletproof Diet, states that the polyphenols found in coffee are a prebiotic for the Bacteroidetes genus of gut flora, which are associated with weight control. The population of this type of bacteria cannot be increased with probiotics, making it necessary to feed the existing colonies. Furthermore, one of the antioxidants in coffee, chlorogenic acid, has the ability to help prevent weight gain and maintain normal blood sugar levels, thereby being protective against type II diabetes. However, adding copious amounts of sugar to your coffee can offset these benefits and is therefore not recommended.
For weight control and all of coffee’s other health benefits, it is best to drink coffee black or with a little milk and sugar.