7 Reasons Coffee Can Improve Your Health
That first morning coffee is more than just a treat – it’s become a deeply rooted ritual and many of us can’t imagine how we’d start the day without it.
From soy lattes to long blacks, the average Australian household’s spending on coffee fell from sixty cents a week in the mid-1970s to $5.77 a week between 2009 and 2010. As the price of coffee rose during this period, there’s no doubt that Aussies’ love affair with coffee is more than just an adventure.
We’ve listed seven reasons below that will help you keep your coffee dream alive – and they’ll be easy to remember, because coffee tastes good the way it does.
COFFEE IS FULL OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Coffee is the greatest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, surpassing fresh fruits and vegetables. You would need to eat large amounts of berries to get the number of antioxidants consumed in a few cups of coffee.
Antioxidants are nice little molecules. They donate electrons to free radicals. Free radicals are constantly attacking our body with unpaired electrons which can disrupt cellular structures like proteins and DNA. Distributing electrons to free radicals is like giving them a “chill pill” and can lead to improved overall health.
COFFEE HELPS YOUR MEMORY
Coffee is a well-known stimulant. You know that buzz you get when you take your first sip… or even just the smell of coffee? Well, that’s the active ingredient caffeine. Besides the obvious uplifting effects of caffeine, some studies show that it helps improve memory capacity in the brain.
A group of participants took part in a study in which they had to remember images displayed on a screen. Some were given with a strong caffeine tablet and the others received a placebo. The research showed that those given the caffeine tablet were better able to recall images than those given the placebo.
COFFEE CAN HELP DEPRESSION
Have you ever had a coffee and felt your mood improve? A study of over 50,000 older women over ten years found that those who drank little or no coffee had a 15% higher risk of depression than those who drank coffee every other day or more. Why is that?
Well, coffee helps the brain release dopamine, which sends signals to other nerve cells. But not just any boring old cues… dopamine is linked to reward and is responsible for the feelings of feeling in love, happy and motivated.
COFFEE CAN HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
While coffee isn’t a magic elixir that will keep you young, it does have long-term health effects, which can help you live longer. Because coffee has been shown to reduce cardiovascular and neurological disease as well as the risk of suicide, studies have shown that for these reasons it reduces the risk of death among coffee drinkers.
COFFEE MAY LOWER THE RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
Energy is created in our body through insulin. When the body doesn’t have enough insulin, you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes – the most common form of diabetes.
Some researchers believe that type 2 diabetes is caused by a buildup of a protein called HIAPP, which in turn can lead to cell death in the pancreas. Three compounds found in a regular cup of coffee helped stop this toxic buildup, protecting the pancreas and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
COFFEE MAY REDUCE THE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there is speculation about what causes the disease. Buildup of beta-amyloid is suspected to cause Alzheimer’s disease – a brain protein – and is most commonly seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Your friend’s coffee can lower beta-amyloid levels, and studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely than their non-coffee drinking counterparts to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
YOUR LIVER LOVES COFFEE
We probably saved the best for last – drinking more coffee can help reduce the damage caused by excessive food and alcohol consumption.
With over 430,000 study participants and data from previous studies, researchers found that those who drank two or more cups of coffee a day were 44% less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver, among people questioned. It all comes down to the high level of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. But beware… adding sugars, syrups or whiskey to coffee is not recommended as they could potentially cause liver stress.