Coffee was once at worst, demonised and at best, tolerated by the media and medical profession. But with research suggesting that your daily cuppa(s) could actually be considered a health supplement, a fair few people look set to eat their words (and wash them down with a shot of espresso).
Why? Well, caffeine, polyphenols and several other wondrous little compounds found in coffee beans or produced during the roasting process are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), maganese, potassium and magnesium. The levels of these compounds vary depending on bean variety, roasting and brewing method, but all varieties (including decaf) appear to confer benefits (adding milk is fine, too!).
Researchers at Standford University have gone one better, discovering that people that drink coffee are more likely to live longer due to its ability to counter age related inflammation, which can cause a large range of health conditions including, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimers.
2-5 cups a day should net you maximum bang for your bean although anyone drinking a minimum of 1 cup a day should see the benefit. However, try to ensure that you drink your final cup of the day at least 4 hours before going to bed, to avoid disrupting your body clock, and exercise caution if you are pregnant or suffering from anxiety or high blood pressure.
Read on to discover exactly what your daily caffeine fix could be doing for you…
1. It lowers your risk of heart disease
Drinking 2 cups of coffee a day has been found to lower the risk of heart failure by 11%.
2. It could reduce your risk of developing MS
Higher rates of coffee consumption have been linked with a lower incidence of multiple sclerosis. Drinking 6 cups a day could reduce your risk by 30%.
3. It improves your memory
A 200mg dose of caffeine (the equivalent of 2 shots of espresso, or a medium latte or cappucino in most coffee shops) seems to help in the consolidation of long-term memories.
4. It delays cognitive decline and helps to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia
Those who drink 3-5 cups of coffee a day are 60-70% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia compared with those consuming one, two or none.
5. It reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes
Each additional cup of coffee you drink per day (up to 6-8 cups) decreases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 5-10%.
6. It could decrease your risk of Parkinson’s disease
Coffee consumption is associated with a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s, and with improvements in motor control in existing sufferers.
7. It lowers your risk of liver disease
Drinking 2-3 cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee a day can lower your risk of liver cancer by 40-50% whilst protecting against cirrhosis and other disorders.
8. It may help to prevent cancer
Drinking at least 2 cups of coffee a day could reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by 50%, whilst 4 cups could reduce your risk of melanoma by 20%. Coffee also seems to protect against cancers of the breast, brain and prostate.
9. It could prevent gallstones
Drinking coffee could reduce your risk of developing gallbladder disease (or gallstones) by up to a third.
10. It lowers your risk of gout
Drinking several cups of coffee per day could reduce your risk of developing gout by more than 50%. Avoid adding sugar, though, which can trigger flare-ups.
11. It could reduce your risk of depression
Drinking 4 cups of coffee a day could reduce your risk of depression by as much as 72%.
12. It helps you burn fat
Drinking a cup of coffee can boost your metabolic rate by 3-10%, and the rate at which you burn fat by up to 29%. Consumed before a workout, it will also boost endurance, enabling you to burn more calories.