In a new observational study involving close to 20,000 individuals, people who consumed at least four cups of coffee daily had a 64% lower risk of early death compared to those never or rarely consumed coffee.
The reduction in risk was more significant once people reached the age of 45, suggesting that it may be even more beneficial to consume coffee as we get older.
These findings echo the recent results of another large observational study, which found that coffee drinkers appear to live longer, regardless of whether they consume regular or decaf coffee.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF COFFEE
- Coffee boosts your physical performance. Have a cup of black coffee about an hour before workout and your performance can improve by 11-12%. Caffeine increases adrenaline levels in your blood. Adrenaline is your body’s “fight or flight” hormone which helps you to prepare for physical exertion.
- Coffee may help you lose weight. Coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the human body use insulin, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing your craving for sugary treats and snacks.
- Coffee helps you burn fat. Caffeine helps fat cells break down body fat and use it as fuel for training.
- Coffee helps you focus and stay alert. Moderate caffeine intake, 1-6 cups a day, helps you focus and improves your mental alertness.
- Coffee lowers risk of death. Studies have shown that coffee drinker’s overall risk of premature death is 25% lower than of those who don’t drink coffee.
- Coffee reduces risk of cancers. One study has shown that coffee may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in men by 20 %, and endometrial cancer in women by 25 %. People in the test group drank four cups of coffee a day. Caffeine may also prevent developing of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer
- Coffee reduces risk of stroke. Reasonable consumption of coffee (2–4 cups a day) is associated with lower risk of stroke.
- Coffee reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that regular coffee drinking decreases risk of Parkinson’s disease by 25 %. There’s evidence that coffee causes activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s.
- Coffee protects your body. Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants, that work as little warriors fighting and protecting against free radicals within your body.
- Coffee may lower risk of Type II diabetes. Caffeine decreases your insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance, therefore reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee protects your brain. High caffeine levels in your blood reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease. It also lowers risk of dementia.
- Coffee brightens your mood, helps fight depression and lowers risk of suicide. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and boosts production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, which elevate your mood. Two cups of coffee a day prevents risk of suicide by 50 %.
The Cons of Coffee Drinking
The potential health benefits of drinking coffee are exciting news, but that doesn’t mean more is better. For some people, coffee can cause irritability, nervousness or anxiety in high doses, and it can also impact sleep quality and cause insomnia. In people with hypertension, coffee consumption does transiently raise their blood pressure — although for no more than several hours — but no correlation has been found between coffee drinking and long-term increases in blood pressure or the incidence of cardiovascular disease in patients with pre-existing hypertension.
Caffeine affects every person differently, so if you experience any negative side effects, consider cutting your coffee consumption accordingly. It takes about six hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off, so limit coffee drinking to early in the day, or switch to decaf, which only contains about 2 to 12 mg of caffeine per eight ounces. Always taper your coffee consumption gradually. Avoid quitting coffee cold turkey; doing so can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms that may include severe headache, muscle aches and fatigue which can last for days.
How to Keep It Healthy
So how much coffee is healthy, and how much is too much? Two to three eight-ounce cups per day is considered moderate; heavy coffee drinkers consume four cups or more daily. Remember, the amount of caffeine per coffee beverage varies depending upon the preparation and style of beverage. Eight ounces of brewed coffee may contain as little as 80 to as much as 200 mg of caffeine per cup (an “average” cup probably contains about 100 mg).
Your best bet: Skip the sugar-laden coffeehouse beverages and order a basic black coffee. Alternatively, switch to plain whole milk or unsweetened soy or nut milk.