7 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, it also seems to be quite healthy. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. Here are the top 7 health benefits of coffee.
1. Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter
Coffee can help people feel less tired and increase energy levels. That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine — the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function — including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function.
Summary: Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, which causes a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.
2. Can Help You Burn Fat
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement — and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3–11%. Other studies indicate that caffeine can specifically increase fat burning by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people. However, it’s possible that these effects diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.
Summary: Several studies show that caffeine can increase fat burning and boost your metabolic rate.
3. Contains Essential Nutrients
Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee. A single cup of coffee contains:
· Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
· Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI.
· Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI.
· Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.
Though this may not seem like a big deal, most people enjoy several cups per day — allowing these amounts to quickly add up.
Summary: Coffee contains several important nutrients, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin.
4. Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life. It’s very common, as about 4.1% of people in the US currently meet the criteria for clinical depression. In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed. Another study in 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die by suicide.
Summary: Coffee appears to lower your risk of developing depression and may dramatically reduce suicide risk.
5. Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease and May Lower Stroke Risk
It’s often claimed that caffeine can increase your blood pressure. This is true, but with a rise of only 3–4 mm/Hg, the effect is small and usually dissipates if you drink coffee regularly. However, it may persist in some people, so keep that in mind if you have elevated blood pressure. That being said, studies don’t support the idea that coffee raises your risk of heart disease. On the contrary, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk. Some studies also show that coffee drinkers have a 20% lower risk of stroke.
Summary: Coffee may cause mild increases in blood pressure, which usually diminish over time. Coffee drinkers do not have an increased risk of heart disease and have a slightly lower risk of stroke.
6. May Help You Live Longer
Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer. Several observational studies indicate that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death. In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% reduced risk of death in men and a 26% decreased risk of death in women, over 18–24 years. This effect appears particularly strong in people with type 2 diabetes. In one 20-year study, individuals with diabetes who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death.
Summary: Several studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of premature death.
7. The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet. That's because coffee is quite high in antioxidants. Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined. In fact, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
Summary: Coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, and many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and veggies combined.
The Bottom Line
Coffee is a highly popular beverage around the globe that boasts a number of impressive health benefits. Not only can your daily cup of joe help you feel more energized, burn fat and improve physical performance, it may in fact, boost longevity.
If you enjoy its taste and tolerate its caffeine content, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup or more throughout the day.
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