The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

Coffee has always had a bit of an unhealthy reputation and when you ask most people which is healthier, coffee or tea, they will quickly say tea. This reputation is undeserved, as drinking coffee actually has quite a few health benefits (here’s an article on WebMD on coffee’s health benefits). The key, as with so many things, is to drink coffee in moderation. So let’s look at some of the benefits a cup or two of joe per day can bring.

coffee in a cup

A cup of hot java

One study has shown that java can help prevent skin cancer by absorbing harmful rays and promoting cell repair. Similarly, it has been shown to help prevent endometrial cancer, by lowering insulin and estrogen levels.

A UCLA study showed that women who drank 4 cups of coffee per day were 56% less likely to develop type II diabetes. The caffeine in coffee has been shown to reduce the incidence of Parkinson’s disease in men. A Dutch study showed that drinking 2 to 4 cups per day can lower the risk of heart disease by 20%. Finally, java contains a substance that inhibits the production of stomach acid, which can help combat indigestion.

Apart from these major disease fighting properties, there also a few lesser benefits of coffee. One is the reduction of cellulite. The research is mostly preliminary but apparently applying coffee topically increases micro-circulation which may help smooth cellulite.

Another study showed that drinking 3 cups of coffee can reduce the risk of depression in women by around 15%; that figure climbed to 20% with 4 cups of coffee. Java can also help reduce stress: a cup can make women more effective partners. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect on men. Finally, drinking coffee during the middle portion of your life can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or other dementias in old age.

As you can see, drinking Java has a number of health benefits and I’m guessing many of them might come as quite a surprise to most people. On top of these benefits, a recent study has also shown that combining coffee with tea actually increases the individual benefits of both. Basically, this is the principle of putting two things together and ending up with a result that is greater than the sum of its parts. I suppose you could say coffee and tea make the perfect marriage: individually they are each good for us; combined, they’re better for us than simply adding up the individual benefits would suggest.

So the next time somebody tries to tell you to cut back on your coffee, you can now educate them. Let them know just how wrong they are about coffee being unhealthy and let them know what it is that makes coffee healthy and what it does for us. Of course, I’m assuming you drink 1 to 4 cups of coffee per day. If you are one of those people that drinks it by the gallon, then it’s not quite so good for you. Furthermore, if you’re one of those people who puts a few drops of coffee into a large cup of cream and soaks the whole thing up in a tub of sugar, then your java habit is also not especially healthy.

For more on the health benefits of coffee see:

  1. Huffington Post: 9 Amazing Benefits of Coffee
  2. New York Times: This Is Your Brain on Coffee
  3. Harvard Health: Coffee’s Health Benefits

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