(This blog post was graciously contributed by EspressoPerfecto.com. Check out more articles on our favorite drink there.)
I am a proud, card-carrying coffee lover. I drink it all the time, often for the caffeine kick but also because I have just grown to love and appreciate the flavor.
Not everyone is with me in the coffee-worshipping department. Most people go back and forth on whether coffee is healthy and if it should be part of their daily diet. The debate is fierce on this topic and it is difficult to know what the facts are. I’m pretty passionate about coffee and have researched it extensively, so I decided to make a comprehensive list of all the benefits of drinking it.
I have thoroughly researched all of the health benefits and implications of drinking coffee. I dove into tons of scientific studies to sort out fact from fiction. Every benefit is backed up by a scientific study.
In this article, I’m NOT talking about those fifty syrup pump venti frappuchinos from Starbucks. I’m talking black, unaltered, pure coffee or espresso. What you do after the coffee is brewed and before it touches your lips is your own prerogative.
Given all of the amazing benefits I discovered, I honestly think coffee should be classified as a SUPERFOOD. Coffee is healthy, beneficial, and delicious and here’s why:
1. Coffee wakes you up
This is the number one reason why we drink coffee in the morning. Coffee contains caffeine, which is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain (¹). Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter which leads to a stimulant effect.
2. Coffee improves your focus
Caffeine is a stimulant that can also make you feel more alert and focused, so it provides you the boost that you need when feeling unfocused. A study published in the research journal, Psychopharmacology, aimed to establish that even at a low dose, coffee can keep drivers more alert and awake during prolonged highway driving. One cup of coffee with 80mg of caffeine can be enough to help drivers stay awake behind the wheel.
The study was conducted with simulated highway driving and was based on driving performance by those who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks. The results showed better performance and found that sleepiness was reduced among those who drank caffeinated coffee (²).
So if you’re embarking on a road trip or doing some night driving, drink up before heading out!
Need an extra boost? Try our Eat Your Coffee Bar, the energy bar caffeinated with a full cup of real coffee!
3. Coffee helps relieve headaches
Caffeine can also block certain receptors in your body that can cause you to have a headache or a migraine. Coffee is a key active ingredient in many headache medications (e.g., AnacinTM, CompoundTM, Darvon, ExcedrinTM, FioricetTM, MigranalTM, and MidolTM) (³).
It’s believed to boost the effectiveness of pain relievers against headaches by 40 percent. It also helps the body absorb headache medications more quickly. Drinking coffee regularly ensures you have enough caffeine in your system to avoid having a headache or migraine (4).
However, coffee should be consumed in moderation. Excessive consumption could lead to dependency, resulting to decreased effectiveness in relieving headaches and migraines.
4. Coffee makes you smarter
Coffee is currently the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Psychoactive substances have an effect on one’s mind and behavior. Some have a negative effect, while some have a positive effect. Coffee affects the brain positively.
According to a study, the caffeine in coffee can block the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, adenosine, and thereby increase neuronal firing in the brain, release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine and norepinephrine), and improve cognitive functions (5).
5. Coffee is full of essential nutrients
Coffee isn’t just a large source of caffeine. It’s packed with several other vitamins and minerals you need daily to remain healthy. A single cup of coffee contains these essential nutrients (6):
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA
- Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA
- Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA
Thus, drinking coffee will give you a boost in some essential nutrients.
6. Coffee is a large source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural occurring substances that can help you avoid or delay damage to your cells. They do so by preventing free radicals from developing in your body. Drinking coffee on a regular basis provides a large boost in antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Indeed, coffee is rich in antioxidants(7). In fact, an average adult gains 1,299 mg of antioxidants a day by way of drinking coffee.
A study also shows that a relationship exists between free radicals and antioxidants when it comes to aging. Free radicals induce oxidative stress which could result to accummulating damage during our life cycle. Antioxidants provides protection against these free radicals which will prevent premature aging (8).
7. Coffee improves good cholesterol
The antioxidants in coffee can also improve total cholesterol. Coffee raises the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your body. This “good” cholesterol can help you avoid suffering from cardiovascular disease. It also can remove the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from your body.
A study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School (UMMS) and the School of Public Health. They found that antioxidants contain an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, or GPx3, which has critical benefits to those who have low HDL cholesterol. They found out that “people with high levels of the GPx3 enzyme and low levels of good cholesterol were six times less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people with low levels of both”(9). As we know, coffee is a huge source of antioxidants.
8. Coffee reduces inflammation
Inflammation wrecks havoc on the body and can cause you to feel chronically ill and can lead to serious heart disease, luckily coffee is great at reducing inflammation.
A clinical study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gathered 47 volunteers in order to examine the claims on coffee reducing inflammation on the body and increasing HDL levels. The results show that drinking 8 cups of coffee daily could improve HDL cholesterol levels of the people who drank by 7 percent and reduce blood levels associated with chronic inflammation by as much as 16% compared to those who had no coffee at all(10).
The antioxidants in coffee can also lower inflammation which can be a factor that causes heart disease. Free radicals are one of the causes of inflammation. Since antioxidants prevent free radicals from developing in your body, they also decrease your risk of developing an inflammation related to heart disease.
9. Coffee is one of the lowest calorie drinks
If you’re trying to lose weight, or you’re doing your best to maintain your current weight, coffee is a good choice. A single cup of about 8oz. brewed coffee only has 2 calories (11) and it has no fat. Unless you decide to go all Starbucks frappuccino on it.
This is only applies to brewed black coffee. When you start adding sugar, cream and milk to coffee, that’s when it starts becoming unhealthy and has a huge jump in calorie count. According to Harvard, a tablespoon of cream, sugar and whole milk contains 52 calories, 48 calories and 9 calories respectively. While 9 calories may seem small, we usually pour a lot of milk without actually measuring it, so you may be getting several servings. Every time you add these extras, you’re pretty much adding over 100 extra calories to your daily cup(11).
Ditch the cream and sugar and go for the lower calorie options if your going to be adding it to your coffee.
10. Coffee raises your metabolic rate and burns more fat
The caffeine in coffee can stimulate your body to burn more fat than usual for a brief period of time. It does so by boosting your metabolic rate by between 3 and 11 percent. Your metabolic rate is basically the rate at which you expend energy. The fat stored in your body is a potent energy reserve. You can burn more fat when your metabolic rate is high and drinking coffee regularly helps consistently raise your metabolic rate.
An experiment was conducted that showed people who were given caffeine 30 minutes before the experiment had higher sweat gland density and more fatty acids compared to those who had non-caffeine drink. In summary, caffeine increases activated sweat gland density (ASGD) and free fatty acids (FFA) by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and increasing lipolysis (12).
Coffee will help you burn fat faster, but pairing a cup of coffee with exercise will make this even more effective.
11. Coffee keeps you hydrated
Several studies show that coffee can be as hydrating as water.
After studying the fluid levels in the bodies of 50 men who consumed 3-6 cups of coffee a day, a group of researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom found out that this kind of “moderate” coffee consumption “provides similar hydrating qualities to water” (13).
12. Coffee improves your physical performance
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, causing it to send signals to the fat cells to break down body fat, which released into the blood can be used as fuel. It also increases Epinephrine (adrenaline) levels in the blood.
A study shows that because of these effects, the result is an 11 to 12.3% improvement on physical performance. People who drink coffee have better endurance performance on exercise tests (14).
13. Coffee preserves your muscles
Studies show that coffee can set off the part of your brain that releases the ‘growth factor’: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (15).
BDNF promotes and improves neuromotor function. Neuromotor function can be described as your muscles’ ignition switch, the nervous system’s ability to fire your muscles. Neuromotor degradation is among the leading causes of age-related muscle atrophy. Consuming coffee daily maintains your BDNF at the normal level and thereby strengthens and safeguards your muscles.
14. Coffee helps you workout harder
According to recent research, athletes who consumed caffeine prior to working out took longer to become exhausted, completed more reps, and were more psychologically ready to perform.
A group of researchers found that a ‘caffeine/carb combo’ can increase glycogen to more than 50 percent after an intense workout. Glycogen is a form of carbohydrates that is stored in the muscles and can boost strength and stamina(16).
When consumed, the caffeine in coffee can increase the glycogen in your muscles. Drinking coffee regularly ensures you’ll always have enough glycogen stores in your muscles. Possessing a constant supply of glycogen will improve your physical performance.
15. Coffee reduces muscle soreness after exercise
Caffeine can speed recovery and reduce post-workout muscle soreness by up to 48 percent.
A group of researchers from the University of Illinois found that caffeine affects the brain system and the spinal cord system in a way that reduces pain (17). Another study showed that sustained caffeinated coffee consumption right before and after an upper-body resistance training can improve performance and decrease muscle soreness in the days after the strenuous workout, thus letting individuals to increase the number of their training sessions(18).
The less pain you feel after a workout, the less likely it is that you’ll be sore. Since coffee also helps preserves your muscles, it can help you recover quickly. The quicker you recover, the more you can exercise and improve.
16. Coffee helps you meet your daily dietary requirement of soluble fiber
Coffee is a good source of dietary fiber. A cup of coffee contains 1.8 g of dietary fiber. A study was also conducted finding that brewed coffee has a higher amount of soluble dietary fiber (0.47−0.75 g/100 mL of coffee) than many other common beverages (19).
The recommended dietary intake of fiber each day is 20-38 g. If you drink three cups of coffee day, you’ll be able to meet more than a fourth of the recommended dietary intake of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is great for your health. It helps keep bowel movement normal, cholesterol levels low, blood sugar at a normal level, and an ideal weight.
17. Coffee helps keep your bowel healthy and protect against constipation
Caffeine is a natural substance that can help keep your bowel movements normal and healthy. Not only can it increase the rate at which you digest and eliminate waste, it can also help your gastrointestinal muscles contract.
The easier it is for your body to digest and eliminate waste, the less at risk you are of developing a digestive disease.
Coffee is a powerful stimulant that encourages both digestive and colonic muscle contraction which promote peristalsis. Peristalsis is fancy word for the coordinated contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles that causes bowel movements.
Drinking coffee puts you at a decrease risk of suffering from constipation. One study noted that the magnitude of this peristaltic effect of drinking caffeinated coffee is similar to eating a meal, 60 percent stronger than the effect caused by drinking water, and 23 percent stronger than the effect due to drinking decaffeinated coffee (20).
18. Coffee can lower the risk of colorectal cancer
Coffee can lower the risk of getting colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer.
The antioxidants present in coffee are found to have anti-carcinogenic properties thought to help reduce the inflammation responsible for some tumors. A study tested among 489,706 individuals of men and women found that those who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a 15 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer(21).
Another study concluded that coffee consumption has an inverse relationship associated with bowel cancer risk. The benefit is an observed 17% reduction of risk from those who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day and 21% decreased risk for four to five cups of decaffeinated coffee a day (22).
Note that this is a large amount of coffee and it is unclear if lower amounts have a similarly positive effect.
19. Coffee benefits gastrointestinal flora
A 2009 study shows that coffee produced an increase in the metabolic activity and/or numbers of bifidobacterium.
12 out of 16 subjects under restricted diet and added 6 cups of coffee consumed daily found an increase of this gut-friendy species (23). Bifidobacterium are basically ‘beneficial’ bacteria found in the gut.
Coffee can also help the beneficial bacteria in your gut remain healthy. It contains a significant amount of soluble fiber and phenolic compounds, which are used by the bacteria to function.
20. Coffee could help your recover quicker after colon surgery
According to group of researchers from the University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany, not only can drinking some coffee restore normal bowel function among patients who have undergone colon surgery more quickly instead of water; patients who drank coffee regularly were able to resume consuming solid food sooner than patients who didn’t drink coffee at all (24).
“Postoperative bowel obstruction is a common problem after abdominal surgery…” said Dr. Sascha Muller, the study’s lead author, in a journal news release. Since coffee is a laxative, its can help restore normal bowel function despite the obstruction. Normal food consumption will follow once normal bowel function is restored.
21. Coffee improves blood circulation
A study found that caffeine stimulates the heart in a way that makes it pump more blood than usual (25).
Employing non-invasive laser Doppler flowmetry, the researchers discovered that after drinking some regular coffee, the participants experienced a 30 percent increase in blood circulation to their fingers for 75 minutes. Blood carries oxygen, which muscles need to function.
The more oxygen your muscles receive, the better these body parts of yours can function. The better your muscles function, the better you can perform physically.
22. Coffee enhances DNA repair
Coffee contains chlorogenic acid (CLA), which gives it potent DNA repair properties.
Chlorogenic acid (CLA) is a natural chemical compound that coffee is rich in. CLA significantly increases the expression of a DNA repair enzyme (26). The better your body can repair damage to your DNA, the less you’re at risk of contracting a disease.
23. Coffee protects against retinal damage
CLA can also help prevent retinal degeneration due to disease or advanced age, according to a study. CLA is a potent antioxidant that can help prevent the retinas from suffering oxidative stress and damage by free radicals (27).
As one of the most metabolically active tissues, the retinas need a significant and continuous supply of oxygen to function. This makes it very prone to oxidative stress. Raw coffee contains 7 to 9 percent CLA, which enables this drink to help fight oxidative stress.
24. Coffee may protect against cataracts
Coffee may protect against cataracts.
A study that experimented on a group of rats found that rats given caffeine had greatly reduced cataract formation compared to the placebo group(28). Humans would have to consume over 6 cups of coffee (more than 600 mg) daily to equal the cataract-stopping properties the rats experienced(29).
Various research and studies including from The Antioxidants in Prevention of Cataracts Study, Longitudinal Study of Cataract and others have also shown that antioxidants are great source to prevent cataracts. Taking multivitamins that has antioxidants supplements may decrease the risk and progression of nuclear opacification and cataracts by one-third; even more so when this nutrient is part of your daily diet(30, 31, 32).
And where more can you find the most natural and huge source of antioxidants but from coffee. So, drink up!
25. Caffeine may protect against eyelid spasm
A team of researchers from the University of Bari has discovered that the caffeine in coffee can prevent eyelid spasm development (33). Officially called late-onset blepharospasm, eyelid spasm is basically a disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions.
The team found out that people who drank coffee were less at risk of developing the disorder than people who don’t. They also found out that the more coffee they drank, the lower they were at risk of it.
The caffeine in coffee gives these health benefits by acting on the receptors in the basal ganglia, the region of the brain that plays a key role in movement control.
26. Coffee helps relieve the symptoms of asthma
The caffeine in coffee has beneficial effects on the pulmonary function of nonsmokers. It can help relieve the symptoms of asthma.
A study noted that caffeine has the same effect in the body as theophylline (34). Theophylline is a bronchodilator drug.
This means it can open up the lungs’ airways and thereby relieve the symptoms of asthma, such as breathlessness, wheezing, and coughing. Since coffee is rich in caffeine, drinking it regularly helps your pulmonary system functioning normally.
27. Coffee lowers risk of gallstones and gall bladder diseases
According to the doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, drinking at least four cups of regular coffee a day can lower your risk of developing gallstones.
The doctors have observed that their male patients who drank several cups of coffee a day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing gallstones than their male patients who didn’t drink coffee.
Gallstones are basically the liquid stored in the gallbladder that has hardened. These formations can block the bile duct, which is the narrow tube connecting the gallbladder to intestine, and cause inflammation, persistent pain, fever, and jaundice.
Various studies were done and produced positive results. An Italian study showed an inverse relationship between drinking coffee and risk of getting gall bladder disease (35).
Research by the Health Professional Follow-up Study (HPFS) also found that men who drank 2-3 cups of coffee daily had a 40% lower risk of symptomatic gallstones, and those who drank 4 cups or more had a 45% lower risk than those who drank no coffee at all (36). For women, there was a 9% lower risk of gall bladder disease if they drank 1 cup of coffee daily, 22% lower risk for 2-3 cups, and 28% lower risk for those who drank 4 or more cups than those who drank no coffee, according to Nurses Health Study (37).
28. Coffee lowers your risk of kidney stones
Both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee can lower the risk of kidney stones in women by 9 and 10 percent, respectively. Coffee does so by way of the diuretic effect it has in the body when consumed. It can increase the excretion of urine.
The more you excrete urine, the less likely it is you’ll develop kidney stones. Officially called renal lithiasis, kidney stones are small hard deposits of mineral and acid salts that form in the kidneys when urine becomes concentrated, allowing the minerals to crystallize and then stick to one another.
Since coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, it helps combat stone formation in the body. A research study showed the associations between various beverages and risk of having kidney stone. They found out that an 8 ounce serving of coffee has positive results. A caffeinated cup of coffee can reduce kidney stone risk by 26% and 16% for decaffeinated coffee (38).
29. Coffee reduces the risk of oral cancer
Studies show that coffee consumption can reduce one’s risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer.
According to a study by the American Cancer Society, people who drank more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day were about half as likely to die from oral/pharyngeal cancer(39) as people who drank coffee only occasionally or not at all.
The researchers attribute this health benefit of coffee to the antioxidants and polyphenols it contains. Researchers said these compounds can help protect against the development or progression of cancer.
30. Coffee lowers risk of liver cancer
Studies show that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing liver cancer than non-coffee drinkers.
A study presented earlier this year at the American Association of Cancer Researchers’ annual meeting held in San Diego found that people who drank several cups of coffee a day have up to 42 percent less risk of developing liver cancer than people who drank coffee occasionally or not at all (40).
The researchers didn’t discover how, but they attribute this significant health benefit of coffee to the many active compounds in it that can aid in the prevention of cancer development.
31. Coffee protects your liver from cirrhosis
People who drink 4 or more cups of coffee per day have up to 80 percent lower risk of developing cirrhosis, a condition caused by several diseases that affect the liver (41).
Cirrhosis is also called liver disease and is common among alcoholics, characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis (scar tissue).
The compounds in coffee that help with cirrhosis are yet to be identified, but many researchers believe it’s the drink’s antioxidants that give it cancer-preventing properties.
32. Coffee lowers your risk of prostate cancer
According to a study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, men who drank several cups of coffee a day had up to 60 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers(42).
Another research by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists led by Janet L. Stanford, Ph. D., found that men who drank four or more cups of coffee daily experienced reduced risk of prostate cancer recurrence and/or progression by 59% percent as compared to those who drank only one or fewer cups per week(43).
33. Coffee lowers risk of endometrial cancer
According to a group of researchers, endometrial cancer (a type of cancer that affects the lining of the uterus) was reduced by 25 percent among ladies who drank an average of 4 or more cups of coffee daily as compared to those who only drink one cup per day(44).
The researchers haven’t yet discovered how, but they attribute it to one of coffees effects on insulin and estrogen. When consumed, coffee lowers the levels of these hormones in the body. Researchers have noted in their study that having chronically high levels of both hormones have been linked to endometrial cancer development.
34. Coffee protects against estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer
A study shows that women who drink at least five cups of coffee a day are 57 percent less likely to develop estrogen rece
ptor-negative breast cancer than women who don’t (45).
Estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer is one kind of breast cancer, which is characterized by patients’ lack of estrogen receptors. Estrogen receptors are the proteins in cells that help regulate the activity of certain genes when activated by estrogen.
Coffee contains some plant-based chemicals that can act as estrogen. Coffee also contains a phytochemical that helps decrease one’s risk of estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer.
35. Coffee protects you from cardiovascular disease
Drinking one or two cups of coffee per day could significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease-related death.
In one study led by Dr. Murray Mittleman, published in the journal titled “Circulation: Heart Failure”, tested the association of coffee consumption and heart failure among 140,220 participants.
Results show that they have inversely J-shaped relationship where the strongest inverse association was observed for 4 servings per day. Moderate coffee consumption is advised for the best result to lower risk of heart failure. Drinking 4 servings per day is recommended, but drinking more than that may potentially put you to higher risk(46).
36. Coffee lowers the risk of stroke in woman
In a 2011 study, among 34,670 women who participated found that those who drank more than one cup of coffee per day had about a 25 percent lower risk of stroke than women who drank less than a cup or none at all (47).
A 2009 study showed that women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day had 20 percent less risk of having stroke than women who drank less than 4 cups (48).
This data suggests that drinking little or no coffee at all can contribute to increased risk of stroke in women so long-term and moderate amount of coffee consumption can modestly reduce that risk.
37. Coffee is great for your skin
Coffee drinkers had a lower risk of developing basal cell carcinoma (BCC) than non-coffee drinkers.
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer. It accounts for about 90 percent of skin cancer cases. About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and 4 out of 5 of those diagnosed with skin cancer have a basal cell carcinoma case.
Cells can become cancerous when damaged by sunlight. Caffeine can eliminate these precancerous cells while they are in the process of dividing at the time of exposure.
A study shows that women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day were at 20 percent less risk of developing BCC than women who drank fewer than 3 cups and 9% reduction of this risk among men (49).
38. Coffee lowers stress (possibly just by smelling it)
When you’re feeling stressed at work, you could make yourself feel better by taking a big whiff of a cup of coffee before drinking it. By examining the brain of some sleep-deprived rats, a group of researchers at the Seoul National University discovered that those who were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in their brain proteins tied to the stress they were experiencing and alleviated it (50). The aroma study focused primarily on stress related to sleep deprivation.
Nevertheless, numerous studies published show that coffee has stress reducing effects. A research titled “Hypertension” published in 2005 showed that the blood pressure of coffee-drinkers is not as affected when faced with stressful situations.
There may not be much effect for non-habitual drinkers of coffee but habitual drinkers there is a reduced stress-induced response(51).
39. Coffee fights depression
Coffee lowers the risk of developing depression and dramatically reduces the risk of suicide.
A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health determined that drinking between two and four cups of coffee can reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent(52); and about 20 percent reduction from risk of being depressed compared to those who drank less or decaffeinated were observed by the National Institute of Health(53).
The proposed reason is because coffee acts as a mild antidepressant by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.
40. Coffee lowers your risk of Type II diabetes
Studies show that people who drink coffee have a 23-50 percent lower risk of getting Type II diabetes, with one study in particular showing a reduction of 67 percent.
This is due to the caffeine, caffeic acid (CA), and chlorogenic acid (CGA) in coffee. Several studies have found that these major active compounds in the drink can prevent the buildup of the toxic protein, human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), in the body. When hIAPP deposits form and accumulate therein, they can cause the death of cells in the pancreas, which increases one’s risk of developing diabetes.
A group of researchers led by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have also concluded that “people who increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over a four-year period had a 11% lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who made no changes to their coffee consumption,” while those who decreased their consumption by more than a cup per day could increase their risk by 17% (54).
It is confirmed that coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes have an inverse relationship; the more coffee you drink, the lower the risk. However, it is recommended to only consume black coffee because when you start adding sugar, and milk to your cup, this will add calories and glucose to your drink; thus, eliminating any benefits.
41. Coffee protects against dementia
The caffeine found in coffee can also help delay or reduce the risk of developing dementia.
In one study, researchers followed 124 “older adults” ages 65 to 88 with mild cognitive impairment. They found a significantly reduced risk of dementia for people who had higher blood caffeine levels. It is evident that those at their midlife who drinks 3-5 cups of coffee per day are associated with a decreased risk of dementia by about 65%. (55).
The researchers found a “critical level” of caffeine needed as 1200 nanograms per milliliters – about the caffeine equivalent of drinking several cups of coffee.
To be clear, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease aren’t the same. Dementia isn’t a disease. It’s a group of symptoms (e.g., difficulty with remembering recent conversations, names, or events; confusion, and changes in behavior) of varied conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
42. Coffee protects against Alzheimer’s disease
Studies show that the elderly can protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease by drinking at least three cups of coffee a day.
A 2012 publication by Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center research stated that high blood caffeine levels in older adults linked to avoidance of Alzheimer’s disease. Results showed that drinking about 3 cups per day could prevent you from getting Alzheimer’s, or if not, could delay it(56).
Additionally, a 2002 case study suggests that caffeine interacts with an unidentified component of coffee to increase the levels of a growth factor in their blood in a way that can stall the disease’s development. With over 54 participants in the study, they found out that caffeine exposure has significant inverse relationship with Alzheimer’s disease as those who have regular intake of caffeine of about 135.7 to 198.7 mg has lower risk of getting it(57).
43. Coffee lowers your risk of Parkinson’s disease and relieves symptoms
Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, with a reduction in risk ranging from 32-60 percent.
Caffeine not only reduces the risk of Parkinson’s. In one of studies, patients who drank caffeine saw symptoms improve (58). They observed a mild motor benefit in patients that consumed 100mg-200mg of caffeine twice daily.
This led to the discovery that caffeine can block the adenosine A2A brain receptor. Parkinson’s disease patients have more of these receptors than patients without Parkinson’s disease. The less active adenosine A2A brain receptors a Parkinson’s disease patient has, the better his mobility will be.
44. Coffee may help with your memory
Just like how coffee can prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it can affect your brain in a way that improves your memory.
A study shows that people who drank coffee had better memory recall than those who didn’t. An experiment was conducted in relation to the amount of coffee needed to boost memory recall and distinguish patterns of pictures.
The study concluded that at least a 200 mg dose of caffeine is needed to observe the enhancing effect of caffeine to consolidated memory (59).
45. Coffee may prevent ringing in the ears
A study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine followed a group of 65,085 nurses since 1991. The women who consumed the most caffeine had the least incidences of tinnitus reported (60).
Tinnitus is the scientific word for ringing in the ears. The researchers didn’t conclude how, but they attribute it to the way coffee affects the nervous system.
46. Coffee is good for your teeth
The antibacterials in coffee were found to inhibit plaque formation and prevent dental decay; one of which is caffeine.
In research published in the April-June 2011 issue of the Journal of Global Infectious Disease, caffeine and theophylline were tested against the antibiotics ampicillin sodium and cefotaxime sodium in dealing with several different bacteria, including species of salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcus.
The researchers found out that at a concentration of 10 mg per ml, caffeine was more effective at inhibiting most of the bacteria than ampicillin (61).
47. Coffee can stimulate hair growth
Research published in the International Journal of Dermatology concludes that caffeine is “a stimulator of human hair growth” (62). It also showed that caffeine was able to counteract the negative growth effects of testosterone.
But guys, before you brew up an entire bucket of coffee, unfortunately, a few extra cups of coffee are not certain to boost massive amounts of hair growth.
48. Coffee protects against erectile dysfunction
The caffeine in coffee can increase blood flow to several organs, including the penis. The penis needs blood to become and stay erect.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is basically the inability to have and maintain an erection. Since drinking coffee daily ensures you have a continuous supply of caffeine in your body, doing so could help you avoid developing erectile dysfunction.
In fact, men who consume 250-375 mg of caffeine per day have a much lower risk of developing ED. Reduced risk of developing ED was even observed among men who consume as little as 85 mg of caffeine daily.
The University of Texas Medical School in Houston studied 3,724 men aged 20 and older. They found that a “total caffeine intake equivalent to about 2-3 cups of coffee is associated with significantly lower likelihood of erectile dysfunction” (63).
49. Caffeine perks up sperm
The caffeine in coffee helps keep semen healthy.
In a study of 750 men, a group of Brazilian researchers discovered that coffee consumption promotes sperm motility (64).
Sperm motility can be described as the sperms’ strength and endurance as they swim toward the egg during fertilization. The better sperm can swim, the healthier they are.
Another body of researchers with 4,474 male participants showed that those who drank caffeinated coffee have significantly better quality and higher semen volume and less risk of sperm DNA fragmentation than men who don’t drink coffee(65).
50. Coffee protects against gout
Researchers with the Nurses’ Health Study analyzed the health habits of nearly 90,000 female nurses over a period of 26 years and found a positive correlation between long-term coffee consumption and a decreased risk for gout.
The benefit was associated with drinking both regular and decaf coffee on a daily basis. Women who drank more than four cups of regular coffee had a 57 percent decreased risk of gout. Women who drank between one and three cups had a 22% reduction of gout risk.
Women who drank one cup of decaf per day had a 23% reduction of risk. This suggests that long-term coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of gout among women(66).
51. Lastly, Coffee may add years to your life!
Researchers form the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that adults who drink three of more cups of coffee a day have a 10 percent lower risk of death.
A study was also conducted by the Harvard Health Letter, with over 400,000 participants of men and women. The study found that drinking two or more cups daily could equate a 10% reduction in deaths for men and 15% reduction for women compared to people who didn’t drink coffee at all (68).
Given how coffee helps protect you from all of the listed diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart condition and many others, it is no suprise that coffee can help you live longer.
Wow, you made it through all 51
Congratulations on making it through all coffee’s crazy health benefits! This took me two weeks to research, write, check and cite all the sources. I would love to hear what you think below in the comments. Do you know any other benefits that are not listed here? Do you think coffee is healthy and beneficial or do you still think we should stay away from it?
35 Misciagna G. et al. (1996), Epidemiology of cholelithiasis in Southern Italy. Part II: risk factors. Eur J Gastroentero Hepatol, 8:585-593.
36 Leitzmann M.F.et al. (1999), A prospective study of coffee consumption and risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men. JAMA, 281:2106-2112.
37 Leitzmann M.F. et al. (2002), Coffee intake is associated with lower risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in women. Gastroenterol, 123:1823-1830.