It’s no surprise that coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It has been around for centuries. Many of us start our day with a cup…or 2, so let’s explore the benefits of why this little bean can be a positive start to the day.
Nutrients found in coffee:
- Antioxidants such as polyphenols, which fight free radicals in the body
- Bioactive compounds found in coffee are effective in promoting good health
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- Manganese and potassium
- Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3)
How much should I have a day? And what can I do to make it even healthier?
- Research and dietary guidelines have shown that aiming for no more than 3-5 (8 oz cups per day) up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is the safest way to obtain health benefits.
- Have filtered coffee; research has shown unfiltered coffee did not yield the same health benefits.
- You can bump up the antioxidant benefits by adding: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, maca, or cacao to your coffee. These spices have been researched and shown to have many health benefits and can add layers of flavor to help you mix up your coffee routine. (tip: add these spices to other foods such as oatmeal and yogurt).
- Coffee black or with little creamer and little to no sugar is a better option to reap the health benefits of coffee consumption.
- Most of the studies are based on caffeinated coffee (research on type 2 diabetes and longevity did show both caffeinated and decaf coffee provided benefits)
According to many studies, coffee has a pretty extensive resume:
- For example, drinking one cup of coffee (whether decaf or with caffeine) per day was associated with a 3% reduced risk of death, and drinking 3 cups of coffee was associated with a 13% reduced risk of death.
- A study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) looked at over 500,000 people and found that drinking coffee, whether decaf or caffeine, was associated with a reduced risk for death from various causes.
- Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that the caffeine in coffee may offer protection (1-2 cups per day) against cognitive impairment and protect against Parkinson’s disease.
- Coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, according to an extensive study review. Each cup of coffee consumed daily was associated with a 6-7% reduction in type 2 diabetes.
- A meta-analysis (a review of several studies on coffee) showed that drinking both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer. Similarly, one study in 489,706 people found that those who consumed 4–5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer.
- Among people without diagnosed heart disease, researchers found that drinking up to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower risk of stroke and death from cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.
- Research conducted by Harvard Medical School found that the properties of coffee may reduce your risk of depression by nearly one-third. In addition, the phytochemicals in both regular and decaf coffee can help with good gut bacteria, which has a direct correlation to brain health.
- Consuming coffee before a workout (within 30-60 minutes before exercise) may help with fat-burning, has been shown to improve endurance, strength, and improved circulation (may also help reduce post-workout pain), according to Sports Medicine. Remember also to drink water surrounding your workouts to avoid dehydration.
Note: remember, coffee should not be your primary or only source for antioxidants and fluid. It is essential to focus on staying hydrated with water and having a balanced dietary intake daily, to get the full benefits from other whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Also, watch what you are adding to your coffee! Too much high fat and sugar creamers and large coffee consumption daily can lead to other health issues and negate the benefits you are trying to receive from your “cup of joe”!