If you’ve been thinking that your coffee habit is unhealthy, think again. Studies have consistently shown that drinking coffee regularly has a laundry list of health benefits, but in this post, we’ll focus on the 7 most important health benefits of drinking coffee regularly.
Hold tight to your coffee cups and find out how your morning dose of java is working to make you not just more personable and productive, but also healthier.
7 Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee Regularly
What happens physiologically when you drink a cup of coffee?
Coffee contains a stimulant compound called caffeine, which is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Most of the benefits coffee provides are related to the caffeine it contains, although some are related to the nutrients found in coffee.
Once you take a sip of coffee, the caffeine contained in it is absorbed into your bloodstream. Your blood carries the caffeine to your brain, where it goes to work. Caffeine acts a blocker for a neurotransmitter called adenosine.
When adenosine is blocked from being received by your synapses, your brain releases other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine – known mood-boosters that improve cognition and brain function. That includes memory, vigilance, reaction times, energy levels and general cognitive function. That’s why a cup of coffee perks you up so quickly.
1. Improves cognition
As mentioned above, the caffeine in coffee is known to improve cognition and brain function. Cognitive processes like memory, making connections, vigilance, reacting to stimuli, and learning new information are all improved with low to moderate amounts of caffeine. The opposite effect happens if too much caffeine is taken in, so stick to 4 cups or less per day.
2. Boosts mood and energy levels.
Coffee is known to boost your mood and give you more energy, and complex processes that happen in the brain are responsible for those effects. The absorption of caffeine causes a cascade of reactions that includes the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, three neurotransmitters known to act as mood boosters. Along with improved mood, the caffeine in coffee also has the effect of giving the drinker a short-term energy boost.
While caffeine inhibits the uptake of adenosine (epinephrine, or adrenaline) in the brain, it causes the body’s existing adenosine to continue circulating in the blood, which gives you the “fight or flight” energetic response.
3. Burns more fat
Caffeine is one of few known substances that have been scientifically linked to metabolizing fat in the body at a higher rate. Multiple studies have found that a moderate intake of caffeine is accompanied by boosts in the metabolic rate anywhere from 3-11%.
Other studies have found that caffeine aids the body’s processes of burning fat – in one study, the intake of caffeine resulted in a 10% increase in fat metabolism in obese individuals and 29% in non-obese individuals.
4. Provides needed nutrients
Coffee also provides the body with 6 essential vitamins and nutrients – substances that, if present in too-low levels, can cause disease and health complications.
One cup of coffee contains Vitamins B2, B3, and B5 (riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin), as well as manganese and magnesium.
One cup of coffee provides your body with:
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of your RDA
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of your RDA
- Manganese and Potassium: 3% of your RDA
- Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of your RDA
If you drink just two cups of coffee per day, you’re taking in 22% of your daily recommended B2, 12% of your B5, 6% of your manganese and potassium, and 4% of your magnesium and B3. Not bad!
5. Decreases risk of Type II Diabetes
Drinking coffee regularly also decreases your risk of developing Type II Diabetes. More than 300 million people globally have Type II Diabetes currently, and it’s the most common chronic disease in Americans. Characteristics of the disease are elevated blood sugar levels, pain in extremities, extreme thirst, and a noticeable “sickly sweet” smell to the breath (ketones).
Coffee drinkers enjoy a reduced risk of developing diabetes, but scientists aren’t sure why. A few studies have looked at the connection and found that coffee drinkers on average pose a 23-50% lower risk of developing diabetes. Looking at a literature review of 18 large studies found that each cup of coffee drunk daily equates to a 7% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. That’s reason enough to put the brew on!
6. Cuts your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
Alzheimer’s and dementia risk levels are cut by caffeine. While eating healthy foods and maintaining an exercise regimen are simple ways to reduce your Alzheimer’s and dementia risk levels, drinking coffee can be just as effective. Coffee drinkers have been found to develop either disease at a rate that is lower than about 65% of the rest of the population (non-coffee drinkers).
7. Lowers your risk of liver damage
Finally, drinking coffee regularly lowers your risk of liver damage and disease. The liver acts as a custodian for the body, ridding it of toxins and keeping your metabolic processes on track. Diseases that affect the liver include hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver disease, and more.
Coffee can protect your liver from cirrhosis that results from any of the diseases listed above. Coffee drinkers who had at least 4 cups of coffee daily also had an 80% lower risk of cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
These statistics were found here.