Our consumption of coffee has been steadily growing over the last few decades and is showing no signs of slowing down. High Street coffee chains are finding ever more innovative ways to keep our interest, and therefore, to keep drinking coffee more than ever before.
Countless articles have been written about the health benefits (or otherwise) of drinking coffee, so we thought we’d pull all this information together and see whether there really are good reasons to drink coffee on a daily basis.
It’s been shown that an amazing 54% of Americans drink coffee every day, usually as a way of kick-starting their day at breakfast times, and some countries (particularly in Scandinavia and Southern Europe) have even higher numbers than this. So here are our top 10 reasons for being a regular coffee drinker.
1. Coffee Could Lower The Chance of Developing Skin Cancer
A study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed 112,897 men and women over a 20-year period and their findings appear to indicate that women who drink three or more cups of coffee each day are less likely to develop skin cancer than women who drink no coffee at all. The study didn’t mention any statistics for men though!
2. Consumption of Coffee May Lower Suicide Levels
A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that drinking between two and four cups of coffee each day reduces the incidents of suicide among both men and women by nearly 50 percent. One of the reasons put forward to explain this is that coffee has been shown to act as an antidepressant by aiding in the production of the body’s neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline and serotonin. A number of other studies appear to concur with these findings.
3. The Aroma of Coffee Can Reduce Stress
A group of researchers at Seoul University in South Korea looked at the brains of laboratory rats who were displaying signs of stress caused by deprivation and found that the rats exposed to the aroma of coffee displayed changes in the levels of brain proteins linked to stress. The study only covered stress caused by lack of sleep rather than more general stress, though other studies have shown similar finding when looking at other specific causes of stress in humans.
4. Coffee Could Reduce The Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
It was reported in ScienceDaily that drinking coffee may help people with Parkinson’s disease control their movement. The study author, Ronald Postuma MD said that studies have shown people who regularly drink appear to be at a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. However, an additional study also found that caffeine can also assist movement symptoms for people who already have Parkinson’s.
5. Coffee Makes People Happy
Another study, this time carried out by the National Institute of Health concluded that people drinking a minimum of four cups of coffee each day were 10 percent less likely to show signs of depression than those who drink no coffee at all. This has been put down to the levels of antioxidants present in coffee rather than a caffeine high (cocaine consumption can also give a caffeine high but actually increases the chances of depression).
6. Coffee Can Increase Your Brainpower
Really? Well think about it, you normally go for a cup of coffee when you’re short of sleep or need to stay alert. That jolt not only helps to keep you from falling asleep, it really does mentally sharpen you up and improve your reactions. CNN reported that drinking coffee can allow the brain to function more efficiently. No matter what measure is used – reaction times, observation, attention span, logic, reasoning skills – all show an improvement after consuming coffee. So if you’re in need of something to keep you alert on a long journey, it really is true that there’s little that can beat a good cup of coffee.
7. Coffee Keeps Your Liver Healthy (Especially If You Drink Alcohol)
A huge study involving over 120,000 people published in 2006 concluded that people drinking at least one cup of coffee daily were up to 20 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver – a serious disease caused by the excessive drinking of alcohol that can result in liver failure or the development of cancer. The head author of the study, Arthur Klatsky, reported that the consumption of coffee has a protective effect on the liver, particularly against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the higher the daily coffee subscriptions consumption, the lower the risk appears to be of developing fatal cirrhosis of the liver.
Further studies carried out elsewhere have concluded that drinking coffee can assist in preventing people from developing NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). An international team of scientists discovered that drinking at least four cups of coffee a day can be beneficial in preventing the development of NAFLD.
8. Coffee Can Improve Your Sporting Performance.
An article in New York Times reported that “Scientists and athletes alike have known for years that a cup of coffee prior to a workout jolts athletic performance, especially in endurance sports like distance running and cycling.” The caffeine present in coffee can increase the levels of fatty acids in the bloodstream, which in turn allows athletes’ muscles to absorb and burn fats for fuel, and therefore saving small reserves of carbohydrates for later on in the exercise. This is particularly useful for endurance athletes such as marathon runners and long distance cyclists.
9. Coffee Can Lower The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
As we mentioned in one of our coffee articles a few weeks ago, coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. A study carried out by researchers at the American Chemical Society concluded that cases of type 2 diabetes are around 50 percent lower among people drinking a minimum of four cups of coffee a day. Subsequently, the risk drops by a further 7 percent for every additional daily cup of coffee consumed, though of course there are other health implications in doing this.
10. Coffee Can Keep Your Brain Healthy.
Studies carried out by the University of South Florida concluded that both men and women over 65 years of age with higher blood levels of caffeine developed Alzheimer’s disease between two and four years later than those with lower levels of caffeine in their blood. They pointed out that coffee consumption cannot be shown to completely protect people from Alzheimer’s, but that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or at least delay its onset.