Let me tell you something. Coffee comes from God. There’s no two ways about it. That’s probably why, when I roll out of bed, I head straight for the coffee maker instead of hitting my knees. And lo my morning prayer/meditation routine doesn’t really get started until I’ve had at least half a cup. You see, it’s that sixth sense guiding me to help pry my third eye open so that I may commune more completely with… Or maybe I’m just an addict. Regardless, if you’re a coffee fiend like me, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. And yes, I’m happy to say, your health can even benefit from the beverage of that divine bean.
So, in addition to its incredible taste, clearing the fog of sleep, and making everything good come your way, what exactly can coffee do to assist in a healthy lifestyle? I’m glad you asked. For starters it can lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and colon cancer. It can lift your mood, treat headaches and even lower your risk of cavities.
Sound too good to be true? Well researchers with very big brains at Harvard don’t think so. After analyzing data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years, they determined that one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits AND having six cups or more each day slashed men’s risk by 54% and women’s by 30%. And that’s just one of hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may be something of a health food — especially in higher amounts.
Over six studies have shown that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones. There’s also evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and control attacks when medication isn’t available.
Is it a miracle? I think so. But there are scientific reasons for all this good as well. Oddly enough many of coffee’s benefits are a direct result of its high caffeine content. There is very strong evidence that the risk reduction for Parkinson’s disease is directly related to caffeine and in fact, based on this evidence, some Parkinson’s drugs are now being developed that contain a derivative of caffeine. Caffeine is also what helps in treating asthma and headaches and it can also be a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance. It stimulates the brain and nervous system making you more alert and boosting concentration. A study in Brazil even found that children who drink coffee with milk each day are less likely to have depression than other children.
Be cautious however and pay attention to what your own body says. In some, coffee can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat. Coffee may also raise cholesterol levels and contribute to artery clogging. But most recent large studies show no significant adverse effects on most healthy people. (Pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee.)
Another reason for all these incredible health benefits comes from the fact that coffee is loaded with antioxidants, some of which become especially potent during the roasting process. A certain group of antioxidant compounds called quinines, when administered to lab rats increased their insulin sensitivity which partially explains why studies have shown that those drinking decaf coffee but not tea beverages also showed a reduced diabetes risk (though it was about half as much as those drinking caffeinated coffee). Another Italian study showed that another compound called trigonelline, which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste, has both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties which is what helps to prevent dental cavities from forming.
Halleluja! I think I’ll have another cup.