Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and it’s no surprise why so many people love it — coffee comes in a variety of flavors, comes with caffeine that helps get you through your day, and gives you something warm to hold on to in the wintertime. But did you know that coffee can offer some health benefits and help ward off illness? Here are seven surprising benefits of coffee that you didn’t know about.
1) The Caffeine Fix
Caffeine is widely consumed, and because it’s legal and inexpensive, people use it without much thought to adverse side effects. But caffeine intake has been linked to decreased risk of depression and heart disease, as well as improved focus and performance at work. Studies have shown that coffee lovers also have a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those who don’t drink coffee. And in 2009, researchers showed that coffee can help you live longer. Of course, everything in moderation—so drink one cup per day to improve your health!
2) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Research shows that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This might be due to caffeine’s ability to reduce inflammation in your body. Another theory is that coffee boosts heart health by improving blood flow to your heart muscles. Studies show that drinking one cup of coffee daily can improve how well your blood vessels transport oxygen throughout your body and give you more energy overall—even helping you focus better for longer periods. To keep it healthy: Keep your daily consumption below 400 mg (about four cups). If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try decaf or an espresso-based drink instead.
3) May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
If you want to ensure that your mind stays sharp as you age, a cup of coffee could be just what you need. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that mice with symptoms similar to those in humans with Alzheimer’s showed significant improvement after drinking caffeinated coffee for three months. The researchers said their findings suggest that caffeine might have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s, but more research is needed to confirm these results. If you’re curious whether caffeine can help your memory, monitor your intake and see if it makes a difference—but make sure not to go overboard!
4) Improves Physical Performance
Drinking coffee has been linked to improvements in physical performance. Some research shows that coffee can temporarily increase muscle function, strength, and endurance; studies have also shown caffeine to be a safe and effective ergogenic aid for both men and women. In fact, when compared to popular sports supplements like creatine or even pre-workout supplements, caffeine proved more effective in increasing strength and power for athletes. (1) And it’s also worth noting that coffee was found to be more beneficial than energy drinks when it comes to exercising! (2) If you’re interested in improving your fitness goals, consider adding a cup of coffee before your next workout. We’ve got three more excellent reasons why drinking a cup of joe is so healthy!
5) Helps with Weight Loss
Caffeine is a potent appetite suppressant that helps you to avoid risky snack attacks and stick to your weight loss regimen. Studies have also shown that drinking coffee is associated with lower rates of obesity. In one study published in BMC Nutrition, researchers found that people who drank four or more cups per day were 20 percent less likely to be obese than those who abstained from coffee. Remember: If you’re actively trying to lose weight, cut out sugary coffee drinks and stick to black coffee or unsweetened tea. Caffeine can have diuretic effects on your body as well as make it harder for you to fall asleep at night—neither of which is conducive to losing weight.
6) Lowers Risk of Diabetes
According to a new study, drinking coffee daily may help lower your risk of developing diabetes. After tracking more than 200,000 people for about 22 years, researchers found that those who drank two or three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had an 18% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t drink any coffee. This was true even after adjusting for other factors that could affect risk. The more caffeinated coffee people drank—up to four cups a day—the lower their risk seemed to be. Women who drank six or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily reduced their risk by 25%. What’s more, drinking decaffeinated coffee appeared to offer the same benefits as regular coffee, suggesting that the antioxidant chlorogenic acid and polyphenols in both types seem to offer some protection against diabetes.
7) Increases Longevity
Researchers found that coffee drinkers were less likely to die over the next 20 years than those who don’t drink coffee. Those who drank one to three cups of coffee each day had a 12% lower risk of death than those who did not drink coffee. Furthermore, men who drank four or more cups per day had a 22% lower risk of death, and women had a 16% lower risk. The benefit was seen among both regular and decaffeinated coffee drinkers.
While it’s clear that coffee isn’t for everyone—especially people with anxiety or insomnia—it is a powerful tool for some to achieve wellness. Because of its well-known adverse side effects, many people avoid drinking coffee entirely; however, there are plenty of health benefits if consumed in moderation.