If you’re visiting our little corner of the internet, chances are you’re already a pretty firm believer in the virtues of the coffee bean. We likely don’t need to extol its values to get you to drink it. But sometimes it’s nice to know that that amazing cup of goodness that powers our day is also doing other beneficial things for us as well. It’s the sprinkles on top of the frappuccino, you know?
With over 400 billion cups being consumed on an annual basis, coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Ask any coffee lover and they’ll tell you that a cup of coffee is more than just water infused with caffeine - it’s the intense aroma, earthy flavors, romantic subculture, and energetic jolt to your day that literally makes it feel like happiness in a cup.
So it’s natural that people want to know just how bad or good that daily cup of java actually is for you.
The health effects of regular coffee consumption have long been debated. If we’re being honest, we tend to point to its general ability to keep us alive and moving on Monday morning as justification for our frequent consumption.
But it turns out a cup of coffee could be healthier for you than critics or even supporters have previously thought. Recent medical studies and scientific evidence have linked coffee drinking with protection against and prevention of certain diseases.
Does it sound too good to be true? Read on, my friend!
MAY HELP REDUCE THE RISK FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is known as a modern-day plague here in the U.S. It currently affects 30.3 million Americans, and that’s not including the additional third of the population who have been diagnosed with prediabetes.
But a study published in 2009 discovered that for each cup of coffee consumed on a daily basis, the risk of developing diabetes was reduced by 7% while previous studies showed those who consumed coffee regularly had a 50% reduced rate of developing diabetes compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Wondering how that’s possible? There are a few different reasons why scientists believe coffee might play a part in keeping Type 2 diabetes at bay.
Coffee has the unique capacity to help our bodies use insulin and protect our insulin-producing cells, which enables effective blood sugar regulation. It also helps prevent tissue damage and has the ability to battle inflammation, both of which are risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes.
Caffeic acid, an important component found in coffee, is thought to be responsible for the reduced accumulation of toxic amyloid fibrils (it's okay, we're not sure how to pronounce it either) found in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
While caffeine consumption on its own doesn’t prevent type 2 diabetes, we’re of the belief that we can use all the help we can get when it comes to warding off illness and disease, so it’s nice to know coffee has our backs.
MAY HELP PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease are the two most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world. They’re progressive diseases involving the malfunction and mortality of certain nerve cells in the brain and there is no known cure for either disease, making prevention all the more important.
Enter coffee. Recent studies show that a higher coffee and caffeine intake resulted in a lower incidence of both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, with up to a 60 and 65% lower risk for each disease respectively. So including coffee in your morning routine could be an alternative means to hold on to your mental strength, especially as you get older.
MAY HELP PREVENT LIVER DISEASE
Coffee contains an active ingredient that is responsible for protecting the liver against a liver disease known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a condition that causes the tissues in your liver to get damaged and replaced by scar tissues resulting from infections, obesity, and excessive alcohol intake.
Drinking coffee on a regular basis has proved to be naturally detoxifying, reducing the blood levels of liver enzymes, and reflecting a significant reduction in liver damage and inflammation. In one study, drinking 4 cups of coffee a day saw up to an 80% lower risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver.
MAY HELP CURB CERTAIN CANCERS
As if coffee wasn’t awesome enough, research from the Harvard School of Public Health has suggested that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day resulted in a 25% reduced risk of endometrial cancer in women in comparison to those who didn’t drink coffee. It had a similar effect on prostate cancer in men.
Drinking coffee has also been tied to a reduced occurrence of liver, colon, breast and rectal cancers.
Coffee is known to contain polyphenols, an antioxidant phytochemical, which contain anticarcinogenic properties that help in reducing the inflammation that could be responsible for the growth of some tumors.
IT'S A HUGE SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS
In fact, some say coffee is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink (provided you’re drinking coffee and not that mocha macchiato caramel-tini extra shot grande venti soy frappuccino with double whipped cream trying to masquerade as a coffee).
Coffee is rich in hydrocinnamic acids, which help neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, and in polyphenols, which help reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. In many studies, coffee accounts for roughly two-thirds of people’s daily intake of these antioxidants.
With every cup, you’re also getting a hefty dose of Vitamins B2, B3, and B5, as well as manganese and potassium. Fill 'er up, please!
As with everything in life, from beer to loaded nachos to binge-listening that new Taylor Swift album (don't deny it, you know it's catchy), there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”. And at the risk of crushing your spirit, no matter how great we know coffee to be, there is such a thing as too much of it. As a stimulant, too much coffee can make you jittery, dizzy, or nauseous. It can also impact your sleep and cause insomnia if enjoyed too close to bedtime. We love our after dinner cappuccinos too, but maybe make it decaf?
We all respond to caffeine differently, so listen to your body, be aware of the impact coffee has on it, and know when you need to give the espresso machine a bit of a break.
We think it’s all the time personally. But science has its own theories. In order to maximize the benefits of coffee, it’s believed you should drink it during the time when the body produces less cortisol, usually around 3 to 4 hours after waking up in the morning. So, if you wake up between 4.a.m. and 6.a.m, the best time to have your coffee would be between 7.a.m and 9.a.m.
So where does this leave us? Doing a small happy dance - fueled by coffee, of course (specifically our lovely Brunch Blend) - as drinking coffee on a regular basis actually appears to have a positive influence on our bodies and health. Just with all things in life, no two individuals are alike, so learn to go with what works best for you.