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Coffee is a diverse beverage enjoyed by people the world over. As one of the most popular drinks on the planet, experts estimate that approximately 400 billion cups of coffee per year are consumed! While many people use coffee as a stimulant to get them going in the morning or help them through the afternoon slump at work… there are health benefits to coffee and it can actually be good for you.
That isn’t to say that drinking two pots by yourself every morning is good (you need water!), but 2 cups a day of the antioxidant-rich brew made from quality coffee beans can go a long way toward helping your body stay healthy and strong.
So what about information that’s been floating around for decades that coffee is “bad for you?” This myth was actually laid to rest several years ago.
In a 2008 study led by the Harvard School of Public Health, it was determined that men and women who drank as much as six cups a day did not increase their risk of disease or early death. Rob van Dam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, was one of the study researchers and explained, “For the general population, the evidence suggests that coffee drinking doesn’t have any serious detrimental health effects.”
Those involved in the 20-year study realized that prior “coffee is bad for you” data was not taking into account the unrelated bad habits of participants such as smoking, physical inactivity, or overall poor diet. That means you can enjoy the benefits of real coffee without guilt.
Bioactive Compounds Found in Coffee
- Diterpenes cafestol
- Polyphenols – chlorogenic acid and quinic acid
- B vitamins – riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin
The active compounds in coffee not only neutralize free radicals in your body, they also work to repair the damage they cause. Since cancer cells result as mutations to healthy cells, the possible applications of coffee against cancer is fascinating! As a matter of fact, studies have shown that coffee can decrease the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer. Not only does coffee help prevent liver cancer, but it has also been shown to drastically lower the risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver as well.
Coffee has also been shown to improve heart health (due to fewer calcium deposits), decrease the risk for MS and Parkinson’s disease, and improve brain health, since caffeine promotes production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. It has even been shown to play a role in fighting type 2 diabetes!
How to Get the Best Coffee for Your Health
The benefits of coffee depend on where the beans are grown and harvested as well as how it is prepared. It is a naturally low-caloric food, before cream or sugar is added, containing only about two calories per cup!
One important consideration is that many so-called coffee shops these days are selling coffee “concoctions” filled with health-harming sugars, fats, and artificial flavors. These are not beneficial for your health, and are not the same as drinking actual coffee. Also, most coffee beans are sprayed heavily with pesticides. So you should select only coffee beans that are certified organic.
Coffee Contains Antioxidants
According to researchers at the University of Scranton, coffee is the number one dietary source of antioxidants in the United States by a large margin.
Not only are there loads of antioxidants in coffee, your body absorbs them effectively! If you want to limit your caffeine, you might be surprised to learn that caffeinated and decaffeinated versions of coffee have almost the same benefits. That means you can get the good stuff without the jitters. This is particularly important for those who have difficulty getting quality sleep or suffer from anxiety. Fully caffeinated foods can heighten such feelings, so choose decaf!
The Health Benefits of Coffee Go Beyond Waking You Up
- Results in higher energy levels
- Boosts mood, lowering overall risk of depression and suicide
- Improved brain cognition regarding mood, reflexes, and memory
- Protective against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative disease
- Improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by enabling control of movement
- Lowers risk of liver damage and scarring that leads to cirrhosis – even damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption
- Prevents colorectal, liver, and endometrial cancers
- Helps prevent atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), which lowers risk of heart attack and stroke
- May lower risk of tinnitus (buzzing in the ears) in women, risk of skin cancer, as well as erectile dysfunction in men
Naturally, if you have stomach issues, the acidic nature of coffee may worsen your symptoms. Women who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant and those with unregulated blood pressure should limit their daily intake. Instead, consider one of the other cancer-fighting beverages on our list such as tea.
For those of you worried about the health of your daily java – drink up and enjoy every rich and delicious drop!
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Coffee is one of the most popular drinks on the planet. While often used as a stimulate to wake people up (or keep them awake), there are actually health benefits to coffee.
A 2008 study led by the Harvard School of Public Health determined that men and women who drank as much as six cups a day did not increase their risk of disease or early death. Prior data that “coffee is bad for you” did not take into account the unrelated bad habits of participants such as smoking, physical inactivity, or overall poor diet.
Coffee has been shown to improve heart health (due to fewer calcium deposits), decrease the risk for MS and Parkinson’s disease, and improve brain health. It has even been shown to play a role in fighting type 2 diabetes.
The benefits of coffee depend on where the beans are grown and harvested as well as how it is prepared. Most coffee beans are sprayed heavily with pesticides. So you should select only coffee beans that are certified organic.
The benefits for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is almost the same. But make sure you are drinking real coffee, not the coffee “concoctions” filled with health-harming sugars, fats, and artificial flavors. Stick to around 2 cups per day.
Dan Quixoté says
I virtually stopped visibly aging when I started being a heavy coffee drinker in my early 30’s. People don’t believe my age. I’m sure that it’s all the antioxidants.
If you use the typical home coffeemakers that boils the water into a vapor that then condenses in the drip tube, then you’re also being spared from the fluoride and all the excreted statins and psychotropics that are in your municipal water supply, because those cheapie coffeemakers *are* distillers that just happen to have a holder for coffee grounds. Big health help there, too. At our house there’s a Big Berley water filter with the PF-2 filter set doing the same job for the rest of the family’s water for drinking and cooking. My perception is that were probably missing out on aging, neurological insult, and health problems by chemically purifying our water. The other beverage of choice at home is organic milk, hoping to switch to raw milk at some point.
I do have to disagree on the tinnitus – most of us find coffee makes it cumulatively and permanently worse.
Luke Weaver says
Cheap coffee makers are definitely not distillers…not even close! Most cheap coffee makers are made of cheap grade phthaylate containing plastics.
Distillers of that size take hours, not minutes.
I’ve been drinking coffee since I was a toddler. My grandmother used to give it to me all the time despite protests from other family members. I couldn’t live without it.
BTW, honey and coffee? Are you kidding me….have you tried to taste that mixture? Yuk!
Toby Ray Richmond says
It has been over 8 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. It was in my tonsils from the HPV virus. They cut it out and said without treatment I might live 2 years. I did no treatment. So evidently I am on borrowed time! I drink coffee every morning and I now feel the need to detox my body again. I am thinking about coffee enemas but do not know what kind to use or dark or light. Any info will be appreciated.
yes, I tried it! since i do not sweeten my coffee it was not so enjoyable! The only exception I make on a hot summer afternoon is to put vanilla ice cream into my coffee – trying to find the least sweet and plain ice cream. Otherwise keep the sweet stuff away from my coffee!!! And as teen we just had coffee with lots of milk growing up, or grain coffee 🙂 but a day without coffee is just not right…..
Hazel Christine V. Herber says
Hi SharonH I guess to each his own. I drink my coffee with honey. It is the best sweetener there is, compared to coffee or artificial sweeteners. I love it.
Erin Tallman says
I have a friend who LOVES mixing honey with coffee.. I finally just tried and (with almond milk) found it to be rather tasty… surprised me!
Silvia Logan says
I read an article last year that women who had estrogen positive breast cancer, even if it was stage 4 and were taking tamoxifan and drank 2 cups of coffee a day, were unlikely to have a recurrence of cancer. I do not know whether the article was true or not. My mother had estrogen positive breast cancer, took tamoxifan for five years and drank 2 cups of coffee a day, still had recurrence of cancer. Maybe the coffee that she brought was not organic and they spray pesticides and herbicides of regular coffee beans.
Carol Crouch says
Not to mention caffeine helps to lessen the intensity of my symptoms caused by chronic spinal CSF leaks. Those with that condition do drink fair amounts of coffee for that reason. Glad to be able to read about its benefits!
TERRY DUKE says
well i drink coffee everyday now /but 21 years ago i developed a condition called atrial fibrillation . the condition was blamed on caffeine . for 15 years .i had many cardioversions.finally a pacemaker implant .in 2010 .as i say it was blamed on coffee .but i do drink a couple of cups in the morning. doesn’t hurt me now .[but i can only guess that the damage was done 21 years ago.i am into my 73 year.so that works for.
Diane West says
But decaffeinated coffee is made using formaldehyde — that can’t be good!
I get organic swiss water bath.
Dak Kol says
or any other number of chemicals – “water decaffeinated” only means they were final rinsed in “pure water” .. always purchase whole, OILY, natural beans. Whole products have all the nutrients Nature put into the food to allow your body to fully utilize it.
It is interesting to note: as my personal studies have been about copper, that copper is anti microbial and fights inflammation. There are reported to be 30,000 research on how to fight inflammation, copper has been used to fight inflammation for thousands of years ( Greek, Egyptian, Natives etc.) The drinking of coffee is One source of copper.
I like to roast my own coffee. I use a “Whirley Pop” popcorn maker on my gas grill and buy organic fair trade green beans. Freshness ensured and it makes a great cup! It’s easier and more cost effective than you think.
Dak Kol says
Organic bean ground fresh when used – very oily and have all the rich products of nature. Many beans, even organics, are denatured that means the external oils and nutrients were process removed to be used in other products. OILIER the better.
Doug Latimer says
Yuri Elkaim, who pointed me to you folks, begs to differ on this, as evinced by his video, “The Coffee Conspiracy”.
How would you speak to this contrasting view?
Great article, but I don’t like lumping all fats into the bad-coffee-additive category. Definitely, the coffee creamers on the market are bad news–with non-dairy hydrogenated oils. But real cream, especially whole-fat dairy cream, (preferably raw) is good for you! Leave out the sugars and other non-real add-ins!
neal metcalf says
I want to obtain your book, ’31 days to enhance health’ but the order lines make it impossible to order, for you must have ‘two’ phone numbers, and must have a FAX number. Not many people still have a fax machine (Popular twenty years ago). Frustrating!
Are you joking? Coffee is extremely detrimental to health. Sure, there are health benefits – it’s a bean, after all. But the stimulating and deleterious effects of the caffeine and other toxins more than overcome any possible health benefits. If you don’t believe me, and I know most of you java junkies won’t, stop drinking coffee for a few days. If you get headaches and the shakes, that is the effects of coffee detoxification. Just tough it out, it will pass after a few days. I’m still scratching my head over why this article was posted.
Dan Quixoté says
The science says it’s not actually a stimulant. Caffeine blocks ADP receptors in the brain. ADP is what’s left after the body “burns” ATP. It’s basically blocking your “tiredness” sensors.
The body pushes it’s system-wide hormonal “gas pedal” based on how not-tired/wired it thinks it is.
The detrimental effects come from depletion of various reagents necessary for preservation of health by unintentionally pressing on too far because one should have stopped to recharge.
Similar to how coffee itself doesn’t stunt kids’ growth; it’s the appetite suppression, like kids on Ritalin. My kids loved coffee, but they had to eat their meal first. And had to get plenty of sleep, because that’s when we grow. Consequently, my kids grew up to be huge, and coffee drinkers.
great info! thank you! I always heard coffee has the opposite effect on kids though (it will make them tired).
Dan Quixoté says
@gb – I can’t speak authoritatively on the subject, but over half our kids like coffee, even as minors; citing taste/feel, a “shared experience”, being more alert for an important task, improved ability at work (formal employment) or school, and improved sports performance (e.g. slam a cup or two before a game). I haven’t personally seen coffee make a kid tired. Although there was a time in my life where this borderline narcoleptic could fall asleep faster with a small bedtime cup of coffee than with, say, warm milk or chamomile tea. Whatever works… Let everyone’s actions be led by the evidence at hand.
Read the book “Caffeine Blues” by Stephen Cherniske then tell me how you feel about how healthy caffeine is.
I heard that drinking coffee with milk reduces the benefits of coffee and should rather be taken without milk? Is that true? I prefer it with lots of milk, so I hope there is no truth in it… can anybody advise?
the only thing i found is this:
I had heard that years ago as well – have learned to love coffee black for a long time now! but am waiting who has the newest info on that!
Dan Quixoté says
@Bex – Good point!
Dan Quixoté says
@TERRY DUKE – So sorry to hear of the AFIB. I don’t know the causes of it myself, caffeine, heredity, or something silly like having one remaining mercury filling. I have mild episodic AFIB, but not going to doctors, it’s “off the books”. When I feel it coming on, I apply back-pressure by doing a strong pectoral-abdominal muscle clench, and that generally halts the episode. Longer term, I found the solution for me to be daily cardio loading, which seems to keep the issue from happening as long as I don’t skip days too much. For me, that can be huffing up the 35 flights comprising 363 stairs to my office in 5 minutes or less, or my light enjoyable weightlifting at home while doing my daily prayers between sets, or chasing my “hot young wife” around on her “easy days” for some single digit number of miles 😉 (still my first and only wife; after decades together she took up running and became a marathoner)
Coffee may not be do good if one has kidney issues!
Enjoy your coffee with less sugar and less acid too.
For a 10 cup pot of coffee (60 oz), use alkalized ionized water if available
4 tsp Vanilla or Chocolate extract
56 drops liquid Stevia (3 droppers full)
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp natural salt (unprocessed)
Milk or creamer optional to taste
Refrigerate any left over coffee and use later.
Agreed. Saturated fats are what are ancestors have been eating for milenia.Our bodies are adapted to handling them.Cholesterol is practically an essential nutrient!! Thanks to corporate America(P&G) and the AHA, we’ve all been duped into thinking that saturated fat and cholesterol are the devil, and that vegetable oils are good for us. I SAY HOGWASH!!!!!
Dan Quixoté says
@TL Appreciate the referral. Checked it out, I see it to be a strongly worded work against caffeine, though not without merit. There were many studies on caffeine prior to the publication date of 1998, and many since. The pendulum of consensus opinion on caffeine seems to sway back and forth, like what we see about fats, red meat, etc. And only more recently have folks started seriously deconflating the sources of negative effects of one thing or another. Example: “Cow milk is good to drink” or “Cow milk is bad” has bifurcated into Raw Milk is amazing, pasteurized organic milk isn’t all that good or bad, and pasteurized non-organic cow milk shouldn’t be consumed by baby cows, let alone humans. Dr. Mercola, for example, used to be very anti-coffee, but changed his tune a few years ago due to research finding positive effects.
I’m on the fence for the broad-brush objective judgment on caffeine itself. Synthetic caffeine or that which has been extracted using hydrocarbons in decaffeination processes is probably not a good idea. That which is naturally occurring in a lightly roasted oily bean feels safer to me. There are both positive and negative findings relative to human biology, so let everyone make up their own mind, I say. For me it’s been a net positive. I’m pretty certain it worsened my tinnitus, but not as much as loud music when young and loud machinery when older. I’d cut out coffee if I suspected it in making the tinnitus or any other health aspect unacceptable.
That’s cool that coffee boosts mood and lowers the risk of depression. I guess that’s what happens when you bolster and maintain high energy. I suffer from SAD in the winter, so maybe I should try using coffee to maintain a better mood.
Ali Shawaiz says
Before reading this article. I drank coffee only to stay awake. Thanks for mentioning so many reasons to drink coffee on daily basis 🙂
Thanks for sharing this information on health benefits of drinking coffee.
Thanks for sharing it is really helpful. I thought of sharing this with every one:
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world and for good reason. Not only does it taste great, but it also has a number of health benefits. Coffee is a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage. It also contains caffeine, which can improve brain function and increase alertness.
In addition to all of these benefits, coffee can also help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. So if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy beverage, coffee is a great choice.