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The Health Benefits of Coffee

Six different cups of coffee on a table as seen from above

Are you one of the millions of people who starts each day with a dose of caffeine to get your motor running? Many of us can’t even contemplate the day ahead without a morning coffee to get us going, but we are constantly being told about the dangers of our favourite beverage.

The impact of coffee on our health has long been a contentious issue, with some saying that it makes the brain active, and claiming that it causes insomnia and hypertension.  However, the good news for us coffee-holics is that it has been proven that there are many health benefits of coffee:


Coffee Contains Antioxidants

Believe it or not, coffee contains more antioxidants than cocoa or even ‘super-healthy’ green tea. According to scientists, unprocessed coffee has up to 1,000 antioxidants, and this figure increases during the roasting process.

Antioxidants are useful in preventing inflammation, the primary cause of arthritis, sclerosis, various cancers, and other chronic illnesses. Coffee can also reduce the chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases.


Coffee Controls Depression

People who drink coffee tend to experience depression less often than those who don’t. Several studies indicate that heavy coffee drinkers have the lowest risk of suffering depression.  Caffeine, an important ingredient of coffee, is known to activate neurotransmitters that control moods, such as serotonin and dopamine.


Coffee Enhances Performance

There is a widespread belief that caffeine causes dehydration. This notion is further compounded by fitness experts who usually advise their clients to avoid coffee before and after workouts. However, research has discovered that drinking as many as 5 cups of coffee doesn’t dehydrate exercisers in a way that interrupts their workout routine. In fact, it battles fatigue, reduces the perception of pain and strengthens muscle contraction, enabling you to train for longer.


Coffee Boosts Short-term Memory

Drinking a single cup of coffee can significantly improve your short-term memory. In Austria, a group of researchers discovered that caffeinated individuals had improved their memory skills and reaction times as compared to others who didn’t take the coffee.  Caffeine is known to affect the parts of the brain that control memory and concentration, which gives you a temporary memory boost.


Coffee prevents Cognitive Decline

Regular consumption of coffee can significantly reduce the cognitive decline that comes with old-age conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Caffeine prevents Alzheimer's by stopping the development of beta-amyloid plaque. It also lowers the risk of developing dementia by reducing the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.


Coffee reduces the risk of getting Cancer

As mentioned earlier, coffee contains antioxidants that possess anti-carcinogenic properties. For instance, men who consume coffee regularly have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. Also, women who drink at least four cups of coffee daily are at a lower risk of developing endometrial cancer. Further studies have indicated that coffee reduces the risk of developing breast, colon, liver, and rectal cancers.


Coffee is good for your liver

Besides reducing the risk of liver cancer, coffee significantly lowers the risk of developing cirrhosis, especially if you take alcohol. Coffee achieves this by lowering the levels of liver enzymes in the blood. High levels of liver enzymes are an indicator of liver inflammation and possible damage.


Coffee reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

A single cup of coffee taken daily reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 7%. Coffee fights diabetes in several ways, including regulation of blood sugar by helping the body use insulin, preventing tissue damage ad battling inflammation.


So despite what you might have heard, the benefits of coffee are evident; but just how much should you drink? Moderate drinkers take two to three coups, while heavy drinkers knock back more than four cups every day. The amount of caffeine varies depending on the mode of preparation, but for the best results you should avoid the fancy takeaway coffees and drink it black.