Coffee is perhaps one of the most popular drinks around the world. Not only does coffee taste great, but it is usually the go-to beverage for millions of people first thing in the morning and sometimes even helps people get through the day. While everyone has a different preference for what type of coffee or what brewing method they like best, the fact remains that coffee is rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help keep you healthy.
Surprising Benefits of Coffee, Supported by Science
Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a significantly lower risk of many diseases and disorders, even some serious ones. But what does science have to say about this? Is coffee really beneficial to our health or is it just a myth propagated by the caffeine industry? Let’s take a look at the surprising benefits of coffee, as supported by science.
Coffee Makes You Smarter and Boosts your Energy
Coffee is said to make you smarter and, of course, as most people are already aware, it increases your energy levels, making you feel less tired.
The reason behind this is the stimulant contained in coffee known as caffeine. Caffeine is the number one consumed psychoactive substance worldwide. As you drink your cup of coffee, this caffeine gets absorbed into the bloodstream, from where it travels to the brain. Once it reaches the brain, caffeine functions by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter known as adenosine.
When this neurotransmitter gets blocked, it boosts the other neurotransmitters present in the brain such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which causes an increase in the firing of neurons, thus making you feel more active and thus, less tired.
But what does science have to say about this? Is this scientifically proven? Yes, the fact that coffee makes you smarter and makes you more active is proven by many clinical studies.
Studies were conducted by the Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology at the Cardiff University, and by the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Clinical Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Controlled studies done at these universities on humans have shown that coffee significant improve many parts of the brain, including functions such as memory, vigilance, energy levels, mood, response time, and a general boost in mental function.
Coffee Helps in Weight Loss
It may surprise you to know that caffeine is one of the key ingredients in most commercially available fat-burning supplements. This is because caffeine is one of the few substances that are available naturally to boost fat burning.
Studies conducted by the Department of Nutrition at King’s College, University of London, and at the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, have shown that caffeine increases the body’s metabolic rate by anywhere between 2 to 15 percent. Several other studies have also shown that intake of caffeine actually increases the body’s fat burning capability by more than 10% in people who are overweight, and by 30% in lean individuals.
However, there is a possibility that these weight loss effects of coffee may actually go down drastically in people who have been drinking coffee for a long time.
Coffee Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
Coffee is said to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle diseases that affect people around the world. This condition is typically marked by high levels of blood glucose or blood sugar which is caused by insulin resistance. This means that the body’s ability to produce insulin gets diminished due to type 2 diabetes.
Studies done by the University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, has shown that people who are regular coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Individuals who drink the maximum amount of coffee have nearly a 30-50% reduced risk of getting type 2 diabetes. One study has even shown that this risk reduction can actually be as high as 65%.
It is estimated that with each cup of coffee you have every day, you are reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 7%.
Coffee Offers You Protection Against Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Millions of people around the world are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, which is also one of the biggest cause of dementia. There is no cure for this condition, and it is known to typically impact people over the age of 65 years. However, studies have now shown that coffee can help protect you from getting Alzheimer’s disease, and subsequently dementia.
While you should, of course, be exercising, following a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, it should be noted that drinking coffee also serves as an effective preventive measure to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Studies conducted by the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology or the Porto University Medical School in Portugal and the Laboratory of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon, have shown that individuals who are regular coffee drinkers have a 70% reduced risk of having Alzheimer’s disease.
Essential Nutrients Contained in Coffee
The coffee bean is rich in several types of nutrients. The benefits of these nutrients find their way into the finished coffee once it gets brewed. According to the Nutritional Target Map for Coffee, one medium cup of coffee contains the following nutrients:
- Vitamin B2 or riboflavin – 10% of your Reference Daily Intake or RDI
- Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid – 5% of the RDI
- Potassium and manganese – 2-3% of the RDI
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) or magnesium – 1-2% of the RDI
While these percentages do not seem to be big, the fact is that as most people tend to consume several cups of coffee during the day, these levels add up to create higher percentages of these nutrients.
One of the most popular drinks in the world, coffee surely provides numerous benefits for your health. While most of us have a regular cup of coffee to kick start our mornings, coffee is known to not just increase our energy levels, but it also helps in weight loss and also significantly lowers the risk of many diseases such as Alzheimer’s type 2 diabetes, and even Parkinson’s disease. Coffee is also known to increase your longevity.
Therefore, you can now go ahead and enjoy your daily cup of coffee without any further hesitation.
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George, S.E., Ramalakshmi, K. and Mohan Rao, L.J., 2008. A perception on health benefits of coffee. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 48(5), pp.464-486.
Butt, M.S. and Sultan, M.T., 2011. Coffee and its consumption: benefits and risks. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 51(4), pp.363-373.
Taylor, S.R. and Demmig-Adams, B., 2007. To sip or not to sip: the potential health risks and benefits of coffee drinking. Nutrition & Food Science, 37(6), pp.406-418.