7 Reasons Coffee Can Be Good for your Health
As a health, cancer, and heart center that offers medical services, we’re regularly asked health-oriented questions like, ‘can caffeine really be good for me?’. After all, how could this delicious, caffeinated nectar of the gods be good for you? Aren’t most delicious pick-me-ups bad for us?
Coffee can indeed be good for you—but like anything else, it can only be helpful in moderation. ‘Moderation’ may differ from person to person, and health issues can change your ideal level of coffee intake. For example, patients that come into our heart center with heart disease may put extra stress on their hearts if they drink multiple cups in a day (or a single sitting). So if you have a health issue, you’ll want to consult with a doctor about your ideal intake levels.
7 Reasons Coffee Can Be Good for You
There are a number of ways that coffee can contribute to balanced overall health.
1. It's a Mood Elevator
A happy mind leads to a happy body, and coffee is a great mood elevator. There are many studies claiming that it can boost dopamine production and lower depression levels…but for some the mood elevation simply comes from a delicious warm drink and the ‘time out’ they take to relax and enjoy it. Coffee is a social drink that is often associated with gatherings with friends and loved ones.
2. It Counters Diabetes
A study at Harvard found a link between moderate coffee intake and the lowering of blood sugar (which in high levels can cause Type 2 diabetes). This, surprisingly, has nothing to do with the caffeine though, as decaffeinated coffee had a greater effect. Researchers believe it’s the antioxidants that lower blood sugar levels.
Coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated, is chock-full of antioxidants. These little disease-fighting wonders help counteract the oxidative effects that lead to a number of diseases (in addition to Type 2 diabetes), including cancers and cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and other chronic diseases.
4. You’ll Live Longer?
Another study done by the brilliant minds at Harvard found that those who drank between 3-5 cups per day (that’s measured cups—not giant mugs of course) "may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee.” This likely has to do with the lowering of blood sugar levels, addition of antioxidants, and cardiovascular benefits. As a heart center we fully understand the importance of antioxidant-rich food and drink such as coffee.
5. It Protects Your Heart
Drinking a couple of cups per day can help ward off strokes and heart attacks by improving endothelial function…and poor endothelial functioning could lead you to a visit to our heart center. It can also help protect you from cardiovascular disease. While this seems to work better for women than men, both genders can decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease and events with moderate coffee intake (although green tea works as well).
6. It Boosts Your Liver
The liver truly is an unsung hero of the body. The heart and brain get the majority of the news coverage, but a healthy liver supports a number of critical functions.
Based on recent studies, coffee appears to be hepatoprotective, however only when filtered. Filtered coffee filters out kahweol and cafestol that unfiltered coffee, like espresso, doesn’t (which can contribute to fatty liver disease—especially when compounded with alcohol).
7. It Protects Against Certain Cancers
Let us preface this by saying that coffee does not prevent cancer. However, it can help insulate you from certain types by providing protective functions. Moderate coffee intake has been shown in studies to help ward off certain cancers like endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
There you have it—coffee has a number of positive health impacts on the body. But again, this is when it’s drunk in moderation. And be wary of candy disguised as coffee, which can contain extreme levels of sugar. For example, a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte has a whopping 40 grams of sugar in it. Their bottled Dark Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino drink has 48 grams. And if you’re thinking about switching to a hot chocolate for your dose of caffeine, one of Starbucks’ worst sugar-laden options is their white hot chocolate—with a disheartening 62 grams of sugar.
Like everything enjoyed in life, coffee should be consumed in moderation, but there are health benefits to gain from your morning cup of joe!