How to Reap the Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee can provide many health benefits but only if you prepare and drink it right.
Some people consider coffee a vice. And for many years, scientific studies seemed to confirm this. However, experts have since realized that early observational studies were flawed because so many of the participants were both avid coffee drinkers and smokers. It was simply impossible to separate the deadly effects of smoking from the impact of coffee.
More recently, new research has shown that drinking coffee in moderation can actually be really good for you. Here is just a sample of the health benefits you can get from coffee:
- Better Mood: Caffeine modulates the release of mood enhancers in the brain. One Harvard study found that drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day reduces the risk of depression in women by 15 percent.
- Reduced Cancer Risk: Coffee may help reduce the risk of several different types of cancer, including liver cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and basal cell carcinoma (the most common skin cancer in the world).
- Diabetes Protection: Initial research suggests that for every cup of coffee you drink per day, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases by 7 percent.
- Heart Health: In a meta-analysis of 36 studies including 1.2 million participants, researchers found that moderate coffee drinkers tend to have a low risk of heart disease. Excessive coffee drinking did not seem to cause heart problems as previously believed.
- Longevity: Two recent meta-analyses have shown that drinking coffee reduces your overall mortality risk slightly.
Key Nutrients in Coffee
Several key nutrients found in coffee are likely responsible for all its good work:
Plant Phenols: Coffee contains a variety of plant phenols, which are antioxidants like flavonoids and lignans. These antioxidants are very important for protecting against cellular damage and fighting inflammation. Inflammation plays a role in many chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer so naturally anything that fights inflammation is very good for your health.
Tocopherols: The type of tocopherols found in coffee contain vitamin E, which has a similar antioxidant effect as the plant phenols. However tocopherols offer specific protection for your eyes and skin. They are also believed to play a role in protecting against colorectal cancer.
Chlorogenic Acid: Coffee is the main source of chlorogenic acid in the average American’s diet. This little-known nutrient is very powerful and can prevent the growth of tumors, prevent bile stagnation from damaging the kidneys and liver, and contribute to heart health by lowering triglycerides and blood cholesterol.
How to Drink Coffee for Your Health
Unfortunately, most Americans’ coffee-drinking habits will not deliver maximum health benefits. If you are interested in drinking coffee for your health, make sure to:
Drink the Right Amount: Most studies have found that 3 cups of coffee is necessary to see health benefits. Remember that for the purposes of scientific research a “cup” of coffee is 8 ounces. The typical “big” coffee from a coffee shop is 16 ounces. Also bear in mind that while up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is considered safe for the average person, individual reactions may vary. So if you are sensitive to caffeine, you may not be able to safely consume enough coffee to reap all the health benefits.
Brew with a Filter: If you do not brew your coffee with a filter, you won’t capture the cafestol. This oily compound can increase bad cholesterol and undo the heart healthy benefits of coffee.
Drink it Black: Adding lots of sugar or sugary creamers to your coffee can feed “bad” gut bacteria and compromise its ability to fight inflammation.
Want to Learn More About Nutrition?
Contact Renew Woman™. We’ll be happy to connect you with a certified nutritionist who can help you update your diet to support healthy aging.