The Health Benefits of Coffee

Have you ever heard the saying that coffee is bad for you and you should avoid it? For years people have thought that coffee is unhealthy because it is naturally high caffeine, but there are actually a lot of benefits to drinking coffee. Coffee beans have antioxidants and other natural components that are beneficial to health and may reduce or prevent some chronic and neurological diseases– along with diet, exercise and medication.

Antioxidants

Coffee is known for being rich in antioxidants. Polyphenols are an antioxidant in coffee that help the body defend itself against UV rays and pathogens. They are normally found in fruits, veggies, cocoa and wine as well.

Polyphenols are beneficial because they are known to decrease one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases (1). A study performed in Brazil found that coffee was one of the main contributors to polyphenol intake due to high consumption in the country overall (1). 83% of Americans drink coffee everyday, so the same could be true for our population as well, meaning, you may have reduced your risk for these diseases and had no idea you were doing so (6).

Chlorogenic Acids

Coffee also contains high amounts of chlorogenic acids or CGAs. CGAs are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to the prevention of some chronic diseases (2). Heat from roasting coffee beans does reduce the amount of CGAs within the beans, however, research still needs to be done to see if this truly eliminates all the CGAs. Thus far, research shows that some CGAs remain after roasting, and these can still be beneficial to health (2).

Disease Prevention and Management

Current research has shown that coffee may reduce one’s risk of developing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and may also help manage blood sugar in Type 2 Diabetes.

Chronic Diseases

Coffee may be beneficial in combating type 2 diabetes through slowing down digestion, preventing some absorption of glucose in the small intestine and increasing insulin sensitivity in the body (3).

Current research also supports coffee’s role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (5). Studies show that the prevalence of atherosclerosis is reduced in coffee drinkers and it may reduce the overall risk of developing any type of coronary vascular diseases (7). Studies also show that there are no correlations with coffee drinking and increased risk of developing heart disease and/or stroke (8, 9). 

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Epidemiological studies currently show that coffee intake may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Coffee naturally contains an antioxidant called quercetin, which is shown to reduce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and be the most potent substance against the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like PD and AD (10).

Cancer

Coffee may also help reduce cancer risk through some of its molecular components. Research shows that the high content of antioxidants, caffeine and diterpenes in coffee are possibly cancer protective. Diterpenes are molecules that may reduce cancer risk through their ability to detoxify carcinogens within the body (4).

In Conclusion…

Who knew that coffee could play such an important role in health! In the past, the media has given coffee a negative connotation, however, current research proves how coffee, when consumed in proper moderation (no more than 1200 mg caffeine/day), can be truly beneficial to health. So keep enjoying that daily cup of Joe my friends!

 

References

  1. Miranda, A. M., J. Steluti, R. M. Fisberg, and D. M. Marchioni. “Dietary Intake and Food Contributors of Polyphenols in Adults and Elderly Adults of Sao Paulo: A Population-based Study.” British Journal of Nutrition Br J Nutr 115.06 (2016): 1061-070. PubMed. Web. 26 May 2016.
  2. Liang, Ningjian, and David Kitts. “Role of Chlorogenic Acids in Controlling Oxidative and Inflammatory Stress Conditions.” Nutrients 8.1 (2015): 16.PubMed. Web. 26 May 2016.
  3. Kim, Yoona, Jennifer Keogh, and Peter Clifton. “Polyphenols and Glycemic Control.” Nutrients 8.1 (2016): 17. PubMed. Web. 26 May 2016.
  4. Gaascht, François, Mario Dicato, and Marc Diederich. “Coffee Provides a Natural Multitarget Pharmacopeia against the Hallmarks of Cancer.”Genes & Nutrition Genes Nutr 10.6 (2015): n. pag. PubMed. Web. 26 May 2016.
  5. Wierzejska, R. “Coffee Consumption vs. Cancer Risk – a Review of Scientific Data.” Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig 66.4 (2015): 293-98. PubMed. Web. 26 May 2016.
  6. Republic, Karen Fernau The Arizona. “Coffee Grinds Fuel for the Nation.”USA Today. Gannett, 09 Apr. 2013. Web. 27 May 2016.
  7. Choi Y, Chang Y, Ryu S, Cho J, Rampal S, Zhang Y, Ahn J, Lima JA, Shin H, Guallar E (2015) Coffee consumption and coronary artery calcium in young and middle-aged asymptomatic adults. Heart 101(9):686–691. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2014-306663
  8. Wu JN, Ho SC, Zhou C, Ling WH, Chen WQ, Wang CL, Chen YM (2009) Coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart diseases: a meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies. Int J Cardiol 137:216–225. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.06.051CrossRefGoogle Scholar.115.
  9. Lopez-Garcia E, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Rexrode KM, Logroscino G, Hu FB, van Dam RM (2009) Coffee consumption and risk of stroke in women. Circulation 119:1116–1123. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.826164
  10. Lee, Moonhee, Edith G. Mcgeer, and Patrick L. Mcgeer. “Quercetin, Not Caffeine, Is a Major Neuroprotective Component in Coffee.” Neurobiology of Aging 46 (2016): 113-23.Pubmed. Web. 2 May 2017.
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