Why does it seem like everything that tastes good is bad for you? Think about just almost anything you find yourself craving; pizza, deep fried food, even bread for goodness sake! So what about coffee? Most of us can’t start our day without a trip to one of our favourite Adelaide cafes, but is our daily dose doing us harm or doing us good?
Well, the good news is that the overwhelming majority of research points to regular consumption of coffee as being good (great even) for our health.
Let’s get you acquainted with some of the literature so that the next time Debbie from accounts gives you that judging look as you swill your 3rd cup for the day, you’ll be able to dish her up the facts!
Coffee drinkers live longer!
A study published last year in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who drink two to three cups of coffee per day have a 12 percent lower risk of early death than people who don’t drink coffee at all. In order to come to their findings, researchers followed a huge number of people (almost 5 million participants) aged 38 to 73 from 2006 through 2016. Their findings suggested that the health benefits from coffee are not necessarily just from the caffeine found in coffee. This is because the decaf drinkers in the study also had very positive results.
Promotes mental sharpness
Obviously we all feel that little bit sharper and more alert after our dose of the good stuff. However the mental benefits aren’t just immediate. Yet another amazing coffee prospect is that according to research it can assist with mental decline as we age and can even stave off Alzheimer’s disease. In short, caffeine blocks inflammation in the brain, specifically ‘adenosine receptors’, which can start a chain reaction that begins the mind’s cognitive decline.
One study (read it here) found that participants who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day had about a 65% decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later on in life.
Acts as an anti-inflammatory
Our body creates inflammation as a way to get rid of bad stuff following infection or trauma in our tissue. Sometimes the body creates too much inflammation and it becomes out of control: this is bad! Excessive inflammation can lead to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, enlargement and loss of function of the kidney, swelling and loss of function of blood vessels, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and swelling and loss of function of muscles.
The food that we put into our body plays a big part in keeping inflammation under control. There’s a lot of research around anti-inflammatory diets; one of the big hitters in the anti-inflammatory world is coffee!
According to the Harvard Medical School, coffee contains polyphenols and
other anti-inflammatory compounds which may protect against inflammation.
Speeds up metabolism
Do you know someone who eats and eats and eats but never puts on weight? Chances are they have a fast metabolism.
Metabolism refers to the rate our bodies burn energy. If your body burns a lot of energy, well then you’re going to need a lot of fuel (food). While we all have a normal (or basal) metabolic rate, certain things can can speed up metabolic rate.
High intensity exercise, drinking water, eating spicy food and getting a good night’s sleep have all been scientifically shown to increase metabolic rate. Studies have also shown that the caffeine in coffee increases metabolism by 3-11%. All the more reason to get the coffee and the cookie next time you’re at your local Adelaide café 😉
Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that drinking coffee actively decreases your risk of type 2 diabetes. They studied a massive cohort of over 100,000 people and found that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than 1 cup per day had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes over the 4 year study period. They also found that those who decreased their coffee intake by 1 cup per day increased their risk by 17%. The reason for this benefit is once again largely attributed to the polyphenols which we talked about previously; though there also appear to be other substances in coffee at play that actively lower blood sugar.
High in Antioxidants
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants and you probably know that they are super good for us due to their disease-fighting qualities. You’ve also probably heard that tea is really high in antioxidants. Well guess what… coffee is higher! It also appears that coffees grown at higher altitudes and roasted darker retain the most antioxidants.
The health benefits to drinking coffee are many and varied: it’s even shown to make you live longer! The next time your partner has a go at you for the excessive number of transactions from your favourite Adelaide café, you can legitimately argue ‘hey, it’s for my health’!