By: Emily Lockhart on Wednesday, August 19th
As if the wonders of the morning ritual that is ingesting a hot cup of caffeine wasn’t enough reason for you to love coffee, turns out there is a convincing amount of evidence that regularly indulging in a cup of joe may actually be good for your health over the long run. This assumes, of course, that you’re not polluting your coffee with oodles of heart-clogging cream and sweet but deadly sugar. Cups of black coffee, on the other hand, look like a good bet when it comes to drinking something for your health. We’ll take a look at the details in the below list…
- Decreased Mortality
To put it as broadly as possible, drinking coffee on a regular basis may actually reduce your chances of dying from every imaginable cause. That’s right. And there is a heap of evidence to back up that eyebrow-raising claim. More than 35 studies have been done covering more than 2 million people that indicate coffee directly influences what one meta-study published in Public Health Nutrition calls “all-cause mortality.”
According to the study, light to moderate amounts of coffee is “associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes, particularly in women.” As for what is it about coffee that links its consumption to reducing the risk of death? That part is still unclear, but the statistical association is clearly there. As for the amount of coffee per day, the study indicates that the benefits of coffee consumption increased slightly with greater intake. So those in the study that drank 3 to 5 cups a day saw more benefits than those that drank 1 cup a day.
- Cardiovascular Health
Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for adult men and women in the Unites States, we should all be on the lookout for ways to combat it. Looks like a good place to start is with your morning cup of coffee. A meta-study that covered 36 studies and over 1 million participants was conducted to address the theory that coffee consumption was detrimental to cardiovascular health, a commonly held belief based on how caffeine seems to accelerate the heart rate.
The results, published in a 2014 issue of Epidemiology and Prevention, found that drinking 3 to 5 cups a day not only wasn’t bad for cardiovascular health but seemed to be good for it. They found that “moderate coffee consumption was inversely significantly associated with [cardiovascular disease],” which means that drinking 3 to 5 cups a day puts you in the group of people who face the lowest amount of risk from cardiovascular disease.
- Colon Cancer Recovery
As the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, colon cancer killed over 50,000 people in the U.S. in 2014 according to a Colon Cancer Alliance estimate. A way to lower the number of those that die from this common form of cancer, alongside early detection, is drinking coffee. A new study published last week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that drinking coffee while recovering from colon cancer seemed to improve the chances of a full recovery.
The patients that were part of the study all had Stage III colon cancer, which means that the cancer had spread to nearby lymph nodes, but not to the rest of the body. All the patients had successfully made it through surgery and chemotherapy. Once in recovery, those who drank 4 or more cups a day were 42 percent less likely to have the cancer come back and 33 percent less likely to die from the cancer than non-coffee drinkers.
Perhaps the fastest growing health problem of our time, diabetes afflicts about 30 million people in the U.S., nearly a tenth of the country’s population. Even worse is that with more than 1 million more people joining the ranks of diabetics every year, there seems to be little hope on the horizon for stopping the spread of this chronic and life-shortening condition. If only we had a magic elixir that could somehow safeguard against the development of diabetes…
Believe it or not, coffee might actually be exactly that. Habitual coffee drinking is associated with significantly lowering the chances of developing diabetes, specifically type 2. A meta study published in 2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and a 2014 follow-up study published in Diabetes Care both state that there is an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and developing diabetes. This includes both regular and decaf blends of coffee.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
The two words that strike fear in the hearts of anyone getting long in the tooth are “Alzheimer’s disease.” The rampant anxiety over this brain disease that starts with bits of memory loss and ends with a total loss of the mind is not unfounded. More than 5 million people currently have Alzheimer’s and that number will double by 2050, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. No cure is in the works and treatments generally yield mixed results.
Drinking coffee, however, may actually be a potential treatment of Alzheimer’s, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study found that caffeine treatments in mice led to a lowering of the levels of Abeta, an abnormal protein believed to be responsible for Alzheimer’s. Not only did this treat Alzheimer’s, it also seemed to lower the chances of developing it at all. Additional studies have continued this line of research into how coffee might influence Alzheimer’s in humans and, while the jury is still out, positive evidence is accumulating.