Coffee has had it’s ups and downs in the scientific community throughout the years, mainly all downs before the millennium.
For most of the 1900’s the benefits of coffee were not well understood. The poor study designs lead to negative assumptions about health risks of coffee.
Although there is a long history with a lot of controversy over coffee, this article is about the most recent research on coffee and it’s health benefits; not the history.
Drinking Coffee Everyday
Drinking coffee in moderation has an incredible number of health benefits and we are learning about more of these every day.
These are not only due to benefits of the caffeine content but also their extremely high antioxidant and polyphenol (good stuff in plants) content.
Antioxidants are substances that travel around the body and neutralize damaging free radicals. These are made from any type of stress encountered or even normal metabolic processes.
The ability of antioxidants to neutralize this free radical damage likely plays a large role in the reason coffee is beneficial.
Coffee has been shown to reduce your likelihood of getting many conditions like cirrhosis, diabetes, alzheimers disease, parkinson disease, and many more.
Although there are many incredible benefits of drinking coffee everyday, it is not for everyone.
Some people tolerate it differently than others and chronic over-consumption of coffee may lead to dependence and even anxiety-like symptoms.
The current recommendations state that the average person should not exceed 400 mg of caffeine per day (about 4-6 cups of coffee). Again, use good judgement and common sense and don’t over-do it.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
Decreased Risk of Developing Diseases of The Brain & Nervous System
Coffee consumption exhibits neuroprotective effects. It has been associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis.
Decreased Colorectal Cancer Risk
A 2016 review showed that caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with a 26% decreased risk of colorectal cancer in a dose-response relationship.
This means that more cups of coffee consumed = lower chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Decreased Risk of Type II Diabetes
A systematic review and meta-analysis in 2014 showed that caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of type II diabetes in a dose-response relationship.
This means that the benefits of coffee for decreasing diabetes risk goes beyond just the caffeine and is related to the other healthy compounds found in coffee.
Decreased Risk of Liver Disease
Coffee intake has been shown to be protective of the liver and decrease the risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and may even prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Coffee is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to a 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis, 3-5 cups of coffee per day is associated with the lowest cardiovascular disease risk.
But more than 5 cups per day does not increase or decrease risk.
Improve Pain Relief
A 2014 Cochrane Review showed that the addition of more than 100mg of caffeine (1+ cup of coffee) to common analgesics has been proven effective at improving pain relief.
Arguably the most important benefit. Coffee is associated with decreased overall risk of death from all causes.
Improved Brain Power
Coffee and caffeine consumption is related to decreased cognitive decline and brain aging. It also can help you get improved working memory, and improved coordination.
Improved Fat Burning
Make Your Coffee Drinking Experience More Enjoyable
After mentioning all of the excellent benefits of coffee it is important to understand that these studies and benefits are all related to black coffee without cream, sugar, or any other additive.
Although it has not been reliably studied, these additives are likely going to negate some of the health benefits attributed to coffee and should be minimized or avoided.
Also, I would like to share some of the things that make my coffee drinking experience more enjoyable:
Spread It Out
I drink 3-4 cups per day over a 6-7 hour period. This is what I found works best for my productivity throughout the day and it may be different for you.
Drink your biggest cup before a workout
If you’re going to drink coffee you might as well drink it at the times where you get the most bang for your buck.
In addition to the energy boost, the caffeine in coffee has been shown to increase endurance, strength, and fat burning. This is why I normally drink 2 of my 3-4 cups about 30 minutes before my workout.
Avoid adding sugar & dairy
I avoid adding sugar and dairy to my coffee for a few reasons, most can be found in this article. If black coffee isn’t your cup of tea, some excellent and healthy additions to a cup of coffee are unsweetened almond milk, cacao powder, cinnamon, and stevia extract.
Enjoy coffee responsibly but don’t over-do it. Coffee can have tremendous benefits but it can also be associated with risks and side effects if not consumed properly.
Limit intake to under 6 cups per day as an absolute maximum. Lower that if you are sensitive to caffeine.
Conditions that may require limited coffee/caffeine intake or absolute contraindications include pregnancy and breast-feeding, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, bleeding disorders, heart conditions, diarrhea, epilepsy, glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, IBS, and osteoporosis.
Although these tips are great for me, you likely have your own coffee drinking routine that works for you.
Your only issue may be your anti-coffee friends telling you how it’s bad for you and you need some information to back up why they’re wrong.
Maybe you were considering drinking coffee again and wanted some more facts about the risks and benefits.
Or maybe you just need some reassurance for your own mind about why you need to continue your heavy coffee drinking habit.