| By Greg Luli |
When coffee started to become a major part our culture here in the US—during what is known as the “first wave”—it shortly after began to earn a reputation for being seemingly unhealthy, especially for what was perceived by doctors to be the majority of the population drinking way too much of it. This early research on coffee (and caffeine) suggested that it was a contributor to poor health and something that should be consumed either in moderation or not at all.
Even if coffee turned out to be unhealthy, it would be pretty difficult for me to give it up. It brings me such a feeling of comfort and nostalgia, coupled with a surge of warmth, energy and vitality when drinking my first cup each morning. I don’t think I could live without it and I certainly wouldn’t want to.
Fortunately, newer and more extensive research has been done over the past few decades that concludes coffee has the exact opposite effect on our health and provides numerous health benefits when consuming it on a daily basis. That is, of course, in reference to black coffee and not those behemoth-sized ultra high-calorie mostly milk and sugar concoctions dolloped with an extra large serving of whipped cream.
The fact is, today coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet, outranking fruits and vegetables combined. The antioxidants found in coffee, including hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols, to name a few, act as a repair mechanism for free radical molecules, which damage important cell structures in the body such as DNA and proteins that can lead to a variety of very serious diseases.
Researchers have discovered that these powerful antioxidants that coffee drinkers consume daily have a major impact on overall health and longevity, and lead to some very surprising advantages above and beyond just giving you your morning jolt.
Not that most of us need more reasons to drink coffee, but here are five unexpected health benefits from drinking coffee that might surprise you:
The caffeine in coffee helps speed up your metabolism, which will help you to burn more overall calories as well as boost how much fat the body burns. Black coffee is also one of the lowest-calorie drink choices in existence. Again, providing you don’t dump a bunch of sugar in it.
Lowers Risk of Type II Diabetes
Researchers from Harvard found after 28 separate studies that people who drank just one cup of coffee per day were eight percent less likely to develop type II diabetes than those who don’t drink coffee at all. Additionally, they found that the more coffee people consume the odds of developing diabetes decreased even further. The studies showed that people who drank as much as six cups of coffee per day reduced their risk up to 33 percent.
Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia by 60 percent
Alzheimer’s, which is now the most pervasive neurodegenerative disease across the globe is also the leading cause of dementia. Recent studies have shown that those who drink coffee daily actually have a 60 percent less chance of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Lowers risk of Cirrhosis by 80 percent
One study mentions that coffee has been shown to reduce the effects of chemical carcinogenesis in liver tissue, and also has an inverse relationship with liver cirrhosis. Several other studies have shown that four or more cups of coffee can reduce the risk of cirrhosis of the liver by up to 80 percent.
Lowers Risk of Premature Death by up to 30 percent
People who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee, according to Harvard researchers. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type II diabetes, and suicide. Studies show varying results that reduce the risk of dying prematurely, especially from Cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent.
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An industrial microbiologist—both by education and for 30 years by trade—Greg is intrigued and challenged by the endless intricate nuances, methods and scientific knowledge needed to roast and brew specialty coffee. If he’s not outdoors hiking with his dogs, he can most certainly be found helping to perfect the roast levels of the newest coffee bean varieties to arrive.