Okay, let’s settle this once and for all.
Is coffee really that bad for you?
In this post, we will show you 10 health benefits that you can derive from drinking coffee.
Benefits of coffee 1: Reduce risk of heart conditions
6,595 survey participants with no history of heart disease were followed for 8.8 years during a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results showed that coffee drinkers who were 65 or older experienced a lower risk of heart disease.(1)
Another study also found a similar inverse relationship between coffee consumption and occurence of heart-related diseases.(2)
It is thought that the rich antioxidants (more on that later) in coffee help to reduce the risk of diseases associated with inflammatory or oxidative stress.
The association between coffee consumption and risk of death from diseases associated with inflammatory or oxidative stress has not been studied.
Benefits of Coffee 2: Coffee make you live longer
Coffee doesn’t just reduce your risk of dying from heart-related conditions, it also reduces mortality rate for all other causes as well.
A study who involved 41736 men and 86214 women found that: the more coffee that one drinks (up to > 6 cups a day), the lower the risk of death from all-causes. Please note that this was an observational study based on participants self-reporting their coffee intake and they might be other factors that contributed to this observation. Nevertheless it was still an interesting finding.(3)
Several other studies also found similar findings. For example, this study here found that “significant inverse associations were observed between coffee consumption and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and suicide.
Benefits of coffee 3: Coffee lowers your risk of getting diabetes
You may think that coffee drinkers would have a higher chance of getting diabetes, right? All the sugar and creamer they put into that coffee.
But research has shown otherwise.
Similar to the findings in above studies, research has shown an inverse, linear relationship between the number of cups of coffee consumed per day and risk of diabetes (4). To be exact, for every additional cup of coffee, there was a 7% reduction in risk of getting Diabetes.
Another interesting finding from the study, was that even de-caffeinated coffee drinker enjoyed the same benefits as “real” coffee drinker. This suggested that it might be something else other than caffeine that helped lower the risk of diabetes.
Please note: If you are going to drink more coffee to lower your risk of diabetes, please be mindful of the sugar and creamer you put into that coffee.
Benefits of coffee 4: Coffee helps to prevent Parkinsons and Alzheimers
Coffee is a powerful antioxidant. In fact, according to a 2005 study, nothing comes close to providing as many antioxidants as coffee.
Parkinsons and Alzheimers are both conditions associated with oxidative stress. Coffee as a strong antioxidant, helps to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of getting Parkinsons or Alzheimers.
This benefit of coffee is very well documented in several different studies. For example, this study here showed that caffeine intake was associated with a SIGNIFICANTLY lower risk of Alzheimers. Another study showed that coffee drinking (and surprisingly cigarette smoking) might help to reduce the risk of Parkinsons.
Benefits of coffee 5: Coffee makes you smarter
Thousands of people are looking for ways to become smarter, but did you know that drinking coffee is one of those ways?
Caffeine blocks the chemical signals that cause sleepiness in the brain, and calms the brain during stressful times. Drinking coffee can help you stay focussed for a longer period of time.
Fun facts – check out this list of famous geniuses who were also huge coffee addicts.
Caffeine in coffee can also help with enhancing long-term memory (5).
This study conducted by John Hopkins University showed that caffeine could enhance brain performance in terms of consolidation of memory after 24 hours. Contrary to popular belief that having a coffee before a study period, scientists have found that having coffee five minutes after studying helps to strengthen memories.
If this is true, next time try drinking coffee after a stressful meeting. It might help to retain memories.
Benefits of Coffee 6: Coffee helps to treat erectile dysfunction (ED)
I bet you didnt see this coming!
But it’s true, caffeine in coffee exhibits a property similar to Viagra. A study conducted on diabetic rats found promising effect of caffeine in treating erectile dysfunction (6). The exact mechanism of action is still unknown, but it is thought that caffeine allows more blood flow to your penis and thus help with erectile function.
Another study from University of Texas Health Science Center also found that guys over 20 who consumed 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day were less likely to report ED issues. The connection was strongest in overweight guys.
So guys, more reason to drink coffee, it MIGHT help you get ready when the time comes.
Benefits of coffee 7: Coffee helps improve mental health
Many of us drink coffee during stressful period. For many of us, the act of brewing a coffee or sipping a hot cup of coffee helps to calm our minds.
But did you know that even the smell of coffee can help relieve stress?
A study done in Korea showed that when rats inhaled the aroma of roasted coffee beans, a number of genes were activated, including some that produce proteins with healthful antioxidant activity (7). These proteins have a significant effect in stress relief.
Other than being a powerful stress buster and stimulant, coffee has also been shown to help with depression.
Several studies have shown that coffee may make you happier, and reduce the risk of depression and suicide(8,9,10).
Next time when you are feeling a bit stressed out or depressed, brew some coffee and relax. Not only does coffee add years to your life, it may also add life to your years 🙂
Benefits of Coffee 8: Coffee helps to protect your liver
Liver is arguably one of the most important organs in your body. It helps to get rid of toxins that get their way into our bodies.
It’s a big responsibility isn’t it? To protect the whole body from harmful toxins. Liver is therefore constantly exposed to dangerous substance to help protect our bodies. What can help to protect the liver though?
The answer is ANTIOXIDANTS.
And we already know that coffee is the most antioxidant-rich food.
The association between coffee intake and reduced frequency of liver diseases are well documented. Several studies have already demonstrated that coffee helps to reduce incidence or severity of liver diseases (12,13,14). Again, these studies suggested that substance(s) other than caffeine was responsible for the health benefits of coffee. Tea (also contains caffeine) drinkers were not shown to have reduce risk compared to coffee drinkers.
There you go, take care of your liver so that it can take care the rest of your body!
Benefits of Coffee 9: Coffee helps to reduce the risk of cancer
Cancer, the big C, a condition which we still don’t fully understand – what if we could reduce the risk of getting it?
Cancer is a condition where cells suddenly undergo uncontrolled mutation and start multiplying vigorously. We are still unsure how the cells can suddenly mutate. All we know now is there are factors that increase the chances of these mutations happening.
Oxidative stress is one of these factors.
And Antioxidants will help to relieve oxidative stress.
Coffee intake as a way of reducing the chance of getting cancer is thought to be quite promising. A lot of studies were conducted to further examine the cancer-reducing benefits of coffee drinking (15). Most studies showed that drinking coffee helped to reduce cancer of liver, kidney, and to a lesser extent, premenopausal breast and colorectal cancers.
Another study examined the effect of coffee intake in prevention of recurrent colon cancer. The results showed that colon cancer patients who consumed four or more cups of coffee per day had the lowest recurrence rate of colon cancer.
Benefits of Coffee 10: Coffee helps to improve oral health
This one was rather surprising for me too.
Drinking coffee often gives us “coffee breath” and sometimes stains our teeth, but studies have suggested that it is actually beneficial to our oral health.
This research from Boston University suggested that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances in coffee might help to prevent periodontal diseases.
“Perio” means around and “dontal” means teeth. Periondatal disease refers to infections of the structure around the teeth. It is normally caused by bacteria in dental plaque – sticky substance that forms on your teeth hours after you have brushed them. In order to eliminate these bacteria, our bodies’ immune system release inflammatory substances which can then lead to destruction of the gums.
Coffee contains anti-inflammatory substances that help to neutralise these harmful inflammatory responses and prevent gum diseases.
One more thing, eventhough coffee can stain your teeth, it is still less acidic than many other beverages such as fruit juice, energy drinks, soft drinks etc. According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, all of those drinks–except coffee–were shown to weaken teeth’s protective enamel.
So, let’s settle this once and for all.
Coffee can be beneficial to our health in many many ways. Just remember to be mindful with your caffeine intake and only drink them moderately.
The rule of thumb: anything, when consumed in excess will bring you more harm than good.
Also remember to check that sugar and creamer going into that coffee. Coffee might be good for you, but definitely not the sugar that goes with it.
Finally, here’s a fun game that I discovered during the research on this topic.
If you are interested in finding out how much caffeine can actually kill you, go to this link!
Are you a coffee drinker? Have you ever been told that drinking coffee is bad for you? Tell us more about your love for coffee in the comment section below.
- Greenberg, James A., et al. “Caffeinated beverage intake and the risk of heart disease mortality in the elderly: a prospective analysis.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.2 (2007): 392-398.
- Andersen, Lene Frost, et al. “Consumption of coffee is associated with reduced risk of death attributed to inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases in the Iowa Women’s Health Study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition83.5 (2006): 1039-1046.
- Lopez-Garcia, Esther, et al. “The relationship of coffee consumption with mortality.” Annals of internal medicine 148.12 (2008): 904-914.
- Huxley, Rachel, et al. “Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” Archives of internal medicine 169.22 (2009): 2053-2063.
- Borota, Daniel, et al. “Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans.” Nature neuroscience 17.2 (2014): 201-203.
- Yang, Rong, et al. “Effect of Caffeine on Erectile Function via Up‐Regulating Cavernous Cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate in Diabetic Rats.” Journal of andrology 29.5 (2008): 586-591.
- Seo, Han-Seok, et al. “Effects of coffee bean aroma on the rat brain stressed by sleep deprivation: a selected transcript-and 2D gel-based proteome analysis.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 56.12 (2008): 4665-4673.
- YAMATO, Takako, et al. “Relationship between coffee drinking and reduction of mental stress in young women.” Food Science and Technology Research 11.4 (2005): 395-399.
- Kawachi, Ichiro, et al. “A prospective study of coffee drinking and suicide in women.” Archives of internal medicine 156.5 (1996): 521-525.
- Lucas, Michel, et al. “Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women.” Archives of internal medicine 171.17 (2011): 1571-1578.
- Klatsky, Arthur L., et al. “Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes.” Archives of internal medicine 166.11 (2006): 1190-1195.
- Freedman, Neal D., et al. “Coffee intake is associated with lower rates of liver disease progression in chronic hepatitis C.” Hepatology 50.5 (2009): 1360-1369.
- Molloy, Jeffrey W., et al. “Association of coffee and caffeine consumption with fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and degree of hepatic fibrosis.” Hepatology 55.2 (2012): 429-436.
- Modi, Apurva A., et al. “Increased caffeine consumption is associated with reduced hepatic fibrosis.” Hepatology 51.1 (2010): 201-209.
- Nkondjock, André. “Coffee consumption and the risk of cancer: an overview.” Cancer letters 277.2 (2009): 121-125.