I’ve always been one to have my friends’ backs. And today, I’m defending a dear friend of mine who has gotten a bad rep. A friend who is always there for me, to add some pep into my step….. Okay, it’s coffee. But I’m sure many of you hold this lifesaving drink in as high of regard as I do. I would classify myself as fairly dependent on the stuff, but I’ve always had a lingering feeling of guilt for getting that extra cup. Somewhere along the way, I had been brainwashed to think it was unhealthy for my heart….or something. I recently came across some pro-coffee health articles and started digging further. It turns out that most of coffee’s health drawbacks are myths!
Recently, researchers far and wide have been discovering several serious health benefits associated with coffee. If you want the nitty-gritty, I’ll post a link to the articles at the end, but here’s the breakdown for you…
- Three separate studies looking at the long term consumption of coffee and the risk of (1) cardiovascular disease, (2) stroke, and (3) heart failure showed moderate coffee consumers (2-5 cups a day) were at lowest risk for these conditions, compared with those who drank none.
- Consumption had to reach 10 cups of coffee to see negative associations
- Coffee previously blamed for causing heart disease – new research suggests in may actually help prevent it
- Study of more than 25,000 middle-aged people (aka A LOT) – those who drank 3-5 cups per day had 41% less calcium buildup in arteries than non-coffee drinkers
- Anti-cancer effects come from coffee’s high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds
- Italian scientists gathered 16 years’ worth of data (A LOT) to find direct link between coffee consumption and fewer incidences of liver cancer – 3rd most common cause of cancer death
- May improve insulin signaling, which helps prevent diabetes, which can increase the risk of developing liver cancer
- Drastically reduces the risk of malignant melanoma
- National Cancer Institute study of 450,000 men and women, controlled for other factors that could impact skin cancer risk, showed decreased risk
- Regular coffee only, not decaf
- Only people consuming 4+ cups of coffee saw significant risk reduction
Other Awesome Benefits
- Shown to slow the cognitive decline of aging including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
- Drinking coffee before your workout: increased energy and effectiveness
- Drinking after your workout: coffee combined with carbs helps glycogen transfer more quickly from blood to muscles, essentially restoring muscles after a workout
Another myth to debunk is that tea is better than coffee…some researchers now believe that coffee is better for you than tea because it contains more caffeine and antioxidants, which are the main factors that result in benefits. Like most things health-related, there’s a right amount, but surprisingly, less is not always better. The recommended dosage is 3-5 cups a day, which doctors say allows you to reap the benefits without negatively impacting blood pressure. If that seems like a lot to you, remember we are talking 8 oz. cups here. I, for one, know that’s not my standard size. We’re also talking black coffee, not vanilla lattes and mocha frappucinos…now that would be too good to be true.
Bottom line: bust out the WhiteStrips and drink up!