If you’ve ever felt that your daily cups of coffee were guilty pleasures, you should feel guilty no more. To the contrary, coffee ― the caffeinated version especially ― can provide the mind and the body with a host of benefits. Below is a partial, alphabetized list of the positive health effects that this wonder beverage can bestow.
The next time you see a pot of coffee, remember that it contains hundreds of antioxidants. Indeed, each year, coffee supplies Americans with more antioxidants by far than any other type of food or drink. Antioxidants are chemicals that obstruct free radicals, and free radicals are groups of atoms that can harm healthy cells and cause inflammation. In turn, inflammation can lead to chronic conditions such as arthritis.
There’s now persuasive scientific evidence to suggest that, over the long haul, drinking coffee can lower a person’s risk of acquiring dementia, Alzheimer’s disease in particular. Perhaps that’s because caffeine keeps beta-amyloid plaques from building up in the brain. What’s more, on a day-to-day basis, this drink seems to sharpen the normal activities of the brain and to improve short-term memory.
Regular coffee intake can make a man less likely to develop prostate cancer and a woman less likely to get endometrial cancer, which originates in the uterus’ lining. In addition, coffee appears to be capable of lowering people’s chances of getting oral cancers and melanoma.
More and more, medical researchers are finding coffee to be a potent tool in the fight against type 2 diabetes. That might be the case because the caffeic acid that the beverage contains can help the body get rid of amyloid fibrils, which are unhealthy protein accumulations. These buildups are typically found in patients who have type 2 diabetes. The chemical components of coffee might also safeguard the cells that make insulin.
After you drink coffee, you have more fatty acids in your blood to burn. That way, your body can save its reserves of carbohydrates for later on, and you’ll thus have energy for a longer period of time. Therefore, coffee is valuable for people who are involved in sports that require endurance.
Moreover, caffeine will intensify the contractions of your muscles, give you a greater tolerance for pain, and keep you from feeling tired, all of which will allow you to exercise more vigorously. Of course, your entire body should benefit from those prolonged, upgraded workout sessions.
Many more health advantages are associated with coffee. To list just a few, it can help to prevent gout, cirrhosis of the liver, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and some forms of heart disease. Since coffee stimulates the body to make dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters, it seems to be able to ward off bad moods, clinical depression, and suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, it can make the symptoms that are associated with Parkinson’s disease less severe. Sipping coffee also eases a person’s feelings of stress. In many people, the mere smell of this drink is enough to reorganize certain proteins in the brain and lessen the effects of stress caused by a lack of sleep.
Beginning in 1995 and ending in 2008, the AARP and the National Cancer Institute ― the latter is a division of the National Institutes of Health ― collaborated on an unprecedented study of the long-term effects of coffee consumption. The results, which the groups released in 2012, gave the world a stark message: Habitual coffee drinkers live longer than those who avoid coffee. That’s certainly something to ponder over your next cup of joe.
View the second article in the series:
The ABCs of Coffee-Powered Health Improvement (Part II)