Remember when it was common to read about how bad the effects of coffee were? Now, just like it did with dark chocolate and wine, the tables have turned in a positive direction for the health benefits of coffee. Just like anything you eat or drink, moderation is the key. Even too much of a healthy food can cause problems, so keep that in mind when you are drinking coffee.
Did you know that coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world? Until now, coffee was blamed for a variety of health problems from high blood pressure and cholesterol to cancer of the pancreas and bone loss. Newer, broader, and better research studies have changed how caffeine and coffee is seen by science. The previous belief that coffee is bad for your health has been refuted by these studies suggesting that coffee, in moderation has many health benefits.
How is coffee good for you?
Coffee beans actually come from red berries, making coffee a plant-based food. All plant foods contain some kind of naturally occurring chemicals that are beneficial to the human body. As a matter of fact, coffee beans contain over 1,000 of these beneficial natural chemicals, and that’s only the ones that have been identified. Many of these chemicals become active during the roasting process.
While some of the chemicals could potentially be less healthy, many have potentially good and healthful benefits. For instance, polyphenols, which are antioxidants that cause the acidic and bitter taste of coffee are healthy chemicals. Coffee is considered the number one source of antioxidants in the United States, mostly because so much is consumed there.
What about caffeine?
Most people get concerned when they hear the word ‘caffeine”, the most common ingredient in coffee. What you might not know is that caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that protects coffee plants from predators.
Brewed coffee using a coffee maker contains between 60 to 120 milligrams of caffeine per six ounces of the rich and delicious hot stuff. Caffeine is considered a mild psychoactive chemical that can stimulate the central nervous system in animals and humans.
Studies show that it improves mental acuity, reaction time, elevates mood, staves off fatigue and drowsiness, and makes you feel more alert. BJM recently published an Australian study of long-distance Outback truckers related to how crashes have been reduced from drinking coffee due to its caffeine content.
Something else you probably don’t know about coffee is that it is known as an ergogenic aid that boosts certain types of athletic performance. You will also see caffeine in some over-the-counter pain relievers because it has an analgesic effect.
Potential Coffee Benefits – There’s More
New controlled and extensive coffee studies are coming out monthly or bi-monthly. While most of the research is performed using regular, caffeinated coffee, some studies are also including decaffeinated coffee. Here are some recent findings.
Blood Pressure: High blood pressure has been a concern when it comes to drinking caffeinated coffee. In 2011 there were some studies that reported coffee is okay for people with controlled high blood pressure. Short-term studies show that two cups of coffee can raise blood pressure by about 7 points on average for a few minutes up to three hours. However, long-term studies that lasted two weeks the daily consumption of coffee didn’t increase blood pressure. It seems the human body may build up a tolerance for caffeine and not raise blood pressure.
Diabetes: In long-term studies, it has been found that the consumption of caffeine/coffee may help slow down the release of glucose. What does that mean? Mostly this relates to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The polyphenols in coffee help with insulin resistance. Studies done with people who already have type 2 diabetes have no findings related to any benefits to drinking coffee related to their condition.
Other studies have shown that it may reduce the risk of certain cancers like colon, endometrial, and prostate cancer. Coffee may also help reduce cognitive decline, protect against liver disease, enhance life expectancy, help with depression, protect against Parkinson’s disease, and prevent stroke and heart disease.
It’s okay to have a cup or two of coffee every day as long as it doesn’t have any adverse effects on you. It’s not recommended that you go out and buy coffee just for these benefits since there is no way to know if it will adversely affect you. However, if you already drink coffee, make sure you do so in moderation.