Nearly 60 percent of Americans drink coffee, and for many the habit is a daily one. When you google the benefits of drinking coffee you will see a slew of different takes. It is mostly opinions, and some twisted science. You are sort of left wondering if it is good for you or unhealthy to have your favorite cup of morning joe. The 'common wisdom' of coffee has been negative for years. But this view is changing as the health benefits of coffee continue to be revealed. This is good news for those of you who sip on a cup of joe in the morning, as it turns out this may be a quite healthy way to start your day.
You may have been told that coffee will raise your blood pressure, lead to heart disease, or give you an ulcer or make you diabetic. To start the debunking of some of these myths, in 2012, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that found coffee consumption did not increase the risk of chronic disease, but was linked to lower the risk of Type II diabetes.
Like anything, coffee should not be used in excess amounts and we will get into how much is too much later but study after study has clearly failed to show us that moderate coffee consumption increases your risk for cardiovascular disease or any other serious illness.
The coffee plant and its seeds (coffee beans) contain a natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants, bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals that all work together to offer some impressive health promoting benefits, and even help neutralize the harsher effects of the caffeine that coffee naturally contains.
The studies that were related to coffee and heart health showed that the phenolic compounds in coffee possess antioxidant capacity and for those who drank a moderate amount of coffee (3 to 5 cups) were less likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries than those who drank no coffee.
Another study found it may trigger a 30 percent increase in blood flow in your small blood vessels, which might take some strain off your heart and reduce your chances of heart rhythm problems.
Coffee has even been shown to help with exercise and training programs as well. Extensive research has displayed that coffee increases your metabolism by up to 20 percent.
One of the positive effects of caffeine lie within the science of the brain. Caffeine promotes production of the neurotransmitters, which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, thereby improving your brain health. This means that coffee can benefit those with Dementia or Parkinson.
Have you ever known anyone to drink coffee to stimulate bowel movements? Researchers believe that the bowel-stimulating quality of coffee comes from caffeine and/or other substances contained within the coffee brew. Although there have been no large-scale studies on this subject, what we do know is that drinking coffee can stimulate movement of the colonic muscles, thus promoting peristalsis (the coordinated contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles that causes bowel movements). One study noted that the magnitude of this peristaltic effect of caffeinated coffee is similar to one induced by eating a meal. It’s also 60 percent stronger than the effect induced by drinking water. On this same note, society has often said that coffee is dehydrating or a diuretic but the research says that coffee only seems to have diuretic effects in larger amounts (more than 500 to 600 mg a day). This means that the typical coffee drinker shouldn't experience significant dehydration from a one or two cup a day habit.
Since coffee is a stimulant it will only worsen symptoms of insomnia and anxiety, and should definitely be avoided if you’re already suffering from either. People with panic or anxiety disorders may find that they are especially sensitive to caffeine and may find that even a small amount of the stimulant exacerbates their symptoms.
Similarly, the caffeine will linger in your body for hours after you drink it, so it might keep you up at night even if you drink it long before bedtime.
Although it's inarguable now that coffee does have therapeutic benefits, if you are dousing your cup of Joe in creamer, sugar, and other sweeteners and flavorings, you are missing out on the therapeutic benefits and potentially harming your health.
If you want to drink coffee for its health benefits, drink your coffee black, without sugar, non-dairy creamer or cream, or flavorings. But if you do use any of those make sure to have them in moderation. Finally, while it appears coffee in moderation is beneficial, be careful not to overdo it. When referring to a “cup” of coffee, most research considers it to be five to eight ounces with about 100 mg of caffeine. In contrast, a small cup at many coffee houses starts at 12 ounces while a large cup may hold 20 to 24 ounces. Simply be aware of how much you’re actually consuming.