That’s right – drinking coffee may actually have some health benefits! Studies show that the risks of certain health conditions are decreased in coffee drinkers – though researchers point out that doesn’t necessarily mean that drinking coffee actually prevents those conditions. Here are the conditions that might be held at bay by drinking coffee:
• Diabetes: Over 15 studies have confirmed a correlation between increased coffee consumption and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Coffee contains antioxidants, plus a range of minerals including magnesium and chromium, that can prevent tissue damage and help the body manage insulin production and use.
• Cancer: The evidence of decrease in cancer risk related to coffee is less conclusive than for some other concerns, but there does appear to be an association between liver cancer protection and coffee – though the mechanisms aren’t clearly understood.
• Heart Disease: People who drink 1-3 cups of coffee per day were found to be up to 20% less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart arrhythmias than non-drinkers, according to a study of more than 100,000 Kaiser Permanente patients. Diabetes also raises heart disease risk, so the ability of coffee to decrease diabetes risk also decreases heart disease risk.
• Parkinson’s Disease: Studies have consistently shown that an increase in coffee intake correlates with a decrease in Parkinson’s risk. This seems to be because of the caffeine in coffee, though the exact mechanism isn’t clear.
• Alzheimer’s Disease: Over the course of a 20-year longitudinal study, people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee per day were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
• Stroke: A long-term nurse’s health study showed that women who drank two or more cups of coffee per day lowered their risk of stroke by 20%.
The caffeine in coffee has been linked to a risk of heightened blood pressure, so it’s up to you to choose whether your daily cup of joe is worth the risks – or go for decaf! Overall, an occasional cup of coffee won’t hurt… but keep your caffeine intake to the morning or early afternoon hours to make sure you don’t interrupt your natural sleep cycles.
How much coffee do you drink? Do you think the health benefits outweigh the risks?