Happy Monday! Today is the day most of you will be returning to work after the Christmas/New Year break. Chances are you’re clutching your cup of caffeine right now, and feeling somewhat guilty for relying on your short black to get you through the day. Well I bring you good tidings (for a change) by letting you know about ten ways that moderate consumption of coffee may be good for your health. (Heavy coffee consumption, that is more than 4 coffees a day, is linked to a greater risk of death). So sit back, take another sip and read on!
1. Drinking coffee may prevent stroke
A meta-analysis of 11 studies and almost half a billion subjects has concluded that drinking 1-3 cups of coffee a day lowers the risk of stroke. Heavy coffee consumption had no impact on stroke risk. This is reassuring, because it has been suggested that coffee consumption increases cholesterol levels, but this does not seem to impact on risk of stroke.
2. Drinking coffee may help prevent dementia
A small study suggests that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day may prevent progression to dementia, if you already have a mild cognitive impairment. Researchers think this may be because of certain properties of coffee that prevent the production of deposits in the brain that can cuase dementia. However, researchers aren’t sure yet if drinking coffee is the protective factor, or if there is something about coffee drinking that is protective eg. lower blood pressure levels, lower risk of depression etc.
3. Drinking coffee may help prevent diabetes
Two systematic reviews suggest that drinking 2-4 cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of developing diabetes. However, this research was sponsored by the coffee industry. And if you’re having the muffin of the day with every coffee, you can kiss your reduced risk of diabetes goodbye.
4. Drinking coffee might make you happier
A large study concluded that drinking coffee is linked to a lower risk of depression while drinking soft drink, especially diet soft drink, increases depression risk. Oh sweet cup of happiness!
5. Drinking coffee may prevent heart failure
A meta-analysis suggests that drinking 2-4 cups of coffee a day prevents heart failure in healthy people.
6. Drinking coffee may help prevent prostate cancer
Two studies suggest that drinking coffee can help prevent prostate cancer, especially lethal prostate cancer, and reduce the recurrence and progression of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer) in men, so this finding is significant.
7. Drinking coffee may help prevent endometrial cancer
And one for the ladies, drinking 4 cups of coffee a day has been linked to a lower risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer.
8. Drinking coffee may be good for your liver
Research suggests that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of chronic liver disease and liver cancer, however researchers do not know why this is, although there is speculation that the antioxidants in coffee may be the key.
9. Drinking coffee may prevent Parkinson’s disease
Research shows that coffee drinking is linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
10. And drinking coffee does not result in more fractures for menopausal women.
Good news for menopausal women again – even though drinking coffee may lead to a small decrease in bone density, this does not seem to translate to a higher risk of fractures, according to a large study.
So there you have it – ten reasons you should feel a little less guilty about drinking that heavenly brew. Bear in mind that the majority of research quoted has only established the links between coffee drinking and health benefits, and has not yet explored the reasons for these links. And that coffee drinking can be detrimental to your health – it can cause insomnia, anxiety, tremors and withdrawal symptoms. Pregnant women should minimise caffeine intake as much as possible, as there are links to fetal growth restriction and other serious consequences. For the rest of us unpregnant folks, enjoy your cuppa (or two of three…) and have a great week!