One of the most versatile and popular drinks, coffee can be enjoyed hot or cold, morning or night. Not only that, but coffee actually has a ton of health benefits.
Here’s what kind of magic coffee can bring to you every time you enjoy that cup of joe.
Coffee beans are actually roasted seeds from fruit (coffee cherries🍒) that grow on coffee trees.
Sipping on a hot (or cold) coffee beverage gives you a dose of the plant’s polyphenols, which are antioxidants. According to a research review, coffee polyphenols have a handful of health promoting properties that can help protect against:
- high blood pressure
If you aren’t bulking up your coffee with sugar and cream, coffee is also a naturally a low calorie beverage, containing around 2 calories per 8-ounce cup.
Get the big benefits
Black coffee provides beneficial antioxidants and is low in calories. To get the most out of your cup of joe, drink your coffee black, or use small amounts of cream and sugar.
If you’re not already a coffee drinker, you may become one after seeing all the benefits it can bring.
1. Energy boost
Coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine. When you drink a cup of caffeinated coffee, your central nervous system perks up, which controls the majority of your body and mind functions. One study showed that caffeine intake can increase alertness, reaction time, and vigilance.
2. Improves brain function
Looking for a little brainpower? One study compared two different kinds of coffee (arabica and robusta) on different attention and memory-related assignments.
The results showed that coffee robusta benefited attention and memory. Coffee arabica did a bit more, significantly improving sleepiness, attention, memory, and reaction times. Researchers believe that the chlorogenic acids (polyphenols) in the arabica coffee contributed to increased benefits.
3. Helps burn fat
If you’re trying to lose weight, add coffee to your go-to beverage choices. A research review discusses how coffee increases:
- Metabolic rate: how fast your metabolism is
- Energy expenditure: the number of calories you need to carry out daily physical functions
- Lipid oxidation: fat breakdown
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis: the calories burned by movements you make when you’re just going about your daily business
All of these components are beneficial for maintaining or losing weight.
Chlorogenic acid power!
Another study found that coffee rich in chlorogenic acids (like arabica coffee) decreased visceral fat (bad fat between your muscles and vital organs), body weight, and waist circumference significantly after 12 weeks compared to the control group.
4. Helps physical performance
Pre-workout? Nah, you just need a cup of coffee. A meta-analysis found that caffeine intake enhanced aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, power, jumping performance, and exercise speed.
The same review mentioned that caffeine was more effective for aerobic exercises (lighter, long-term like jogging) compared to anaerobic exercises (short bursts of activity like HIIT).
5. Gives you essential nutrients
That fresh pot of coffee contains a few key nutrients thanks to the coffee beans nutrition profile. One 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains:
- Magnesium and phosphorus: 7.2 milligrams
- Potassium: 118 milligrams
- Calcium: 4.8 milligrams
Although these numbers don’t seem high, if you’re drinking more than 8 ounces of coffee per day, these nutrients add up quick!
6. May help lower type 2 diabetes risk
Caffeinated or not, drinking coffee may help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis rounded up 30 studies and found that type 2 diabetes risk was decreased by 6 percent for each cup-per-day increase in coffee consumption.
The researchers believe that the reasoning behind this potential benefit is coffee’s ability to increase energy expenditure (which reduces the risk of obesity), its anti-inflammatory effects, and its antioxidants.
7. May help protect against Alzheimer’s or dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affects memory, thinking, and behavior. These conditions impact more than 5 million Americans with no cure.
Coffee may be able to help (at least as a preventative measure).
One research review found that drinking coffee has been linked with preventing cognitive decline, including a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. There’s no guarantee, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try if you’re able to incorporate coffee into your routine.
Another research review found that studies showed a 30 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals who drank coffee compared to non-coffee drinkers.
How much might matter as you get older
This research review also showed that drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee in your middle age could lower your Alzheimer’s risk by 64 percent compared to drinking less coffee.
8. May lower risk of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease is another condition that affects your brain, impacting balance, and creating difficulty with walking, talking, and coordination.
A meta-analysis found that a max of 3 cups of coffee per day helped reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 28 percent.
… And may help symptoms!
Not only is your risk potentially reduced, but it may help reduce tremor symptoms. A study found that both men and women who drank coffee had lower tremor scores than non-coffee drinkers.
9. May help protect your liver
When your liver is healthy, it helps fight infections, digest food, and store energy. When it gets damaged, its job performance declines, putting your life at risk.
Keep your liver happy and healthy by drinking coffee. A 2013 research review showed that daily caffeine intake above 2 cups of coffee was associated with lower rates of hepatic fibrosis (the buildup of scar tissue on your liver).
2+ cup powerhouse
The same review also found that individuals who drank more than 2 cups of coffee daily had less than half the rate of chronic liver disease than people who drank less than 1 cup.
10. May help fight depression
If you’re feeling the blues or have diagnosed depression, coffee may help boost your mood. A meta-analysis showed that the risk of depression decreased by 8 percent for each cup participants drank in a day.
The decrease in depression was even faster when caffeine intake was between 68 and 509 milligrams per day.
11. May lower cancer risks
According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1.8 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and over 600,000 people will die from it.
Thanks to a study that spanned over 30 years, researchers found that non-smokers who drank 2 cups of coffee per day had a decreased risk of colorectal, liver, and female breast cancers.
Drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee, and your risk for head and neck cancer start to drop as well.
12. May lower your stroke risk
It’s important to know that higher coffee intake is associated with a higher frequency of smoking. It’s also associated with the decreased chance of a stroke.
But according to one study, strokes, heart failure, diabetes, and hypertension were all less frequent in individuals who had 3 or more cups of coffee each day.
13. May help you live longer
Your morning cup of coffee may be prolonging your life, as studies have shown that coffee consumption is associated with decreased mortality.
This claim is backed up by a 2012 study, which found that drinking 6 or more cups of coffee decreased the risk of death by 10 percent in men and 15 percent in women.
14. Gives you antioxidants
Coffee is one of the most antioxidant-rich beverages you can drink. A 2013 research review compared antioxidant levels of coffee, tea, and red wine. The antioxidant levels for each are:
- Coffee: 200 to 550 milligrams per cup
- Tea: 150 to 400 milligrams per cup
- Red wine: 150 to 400 milligrams per cup
Chlorogenic acid (the polyphenol we’ve talked about a few times) is one of the main antioxidants in coffee, which can range from 10 to 325 milligrams per each cup of coffee.
Another antioxidant called ferulic acid is also found in coffee. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.
15. May help heart health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S. is heart disease.
Thanks to the beneficial compounds of coffee, drinking 2 to 3 cups each day can be beneficial for a variety of cardiovascular disease outcomes.
According to a 2013 research review, these outcomes include coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), and stroke.
There can be too much of a good thing, and the same goes for drinking large amounts of coffee. Body weight, medications you take, and your sensitivity to caffeine can create variations of what “too much” coffee looks like for you.
If you need a number, the FDA states that a healthy adult can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine without negative side effects. This equals about 4 cups of coffee.
If you have a bun in the oven or are breastfeeding, touch base with your doc before throwing back a ton of coffee. But typically, it’s a good idea to cut the recommended amount in half at 200 milligrams (about 2 cups of coffee).
Even with those pros, there are a few cons to drinking too much coffee.
A study found that drinking 4 or more coffee cups per day was associated with a higher hip fracture risk.
With coffee comes caffeine, and too much caffeine may be detrimental during pregnancy. A study found that women consuming over 400 milligrams per day had a 1.11 times greater risk of miscarriage than women drinking under 50 milligrams each day.
The same study also mentioned that women drinking 4 or more coffee servings each day had a 20 percent increased risk of miscarriage compared to women with no pre-pregnancy coffee intake.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Research is contradictory. But according to a research review, it’s possible that individuals who are more sensitive to acidic foods and beverages (like coffee) may experience GERD after drinking coffee.
Coffee jitters can also mess with your anxiety. According to a study, caffeinated coffee had a negative impact on sleep, anxiety, and stress.
Another study found that high consumption of caffeine during adolescent years led to permanent changes in the brain. Researchers think these changes might increase anxiety in adulthood.
A study found that there are high levels of mycotoxins in commercial coffee. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds naturally produced by certain types of molds, and coffee is susceptible to contamination.
Your coffee habit might be helping you with a slew of impressive health benefits. It can help you feel more energetic and provide essential nutrients. Plus, it can help prevent chronic diseases.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it! Too much caffeine isn’t good for anyone. So, enjoy yourself a cup or 2 (even up to 4), it may prolong your life!