Coffee is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world.
Many of us in industrialized, modern societies rely on the naturally occurring caffeine in coffee to help us get through the day. Some don't consider themselves fully functional, or even fully awake, until they've had their morning cup of joe.
If you’re one of these coffee-friends (like we are), you might appreciate it to hear that coffee contains quite a few health benefits.
That said, we recommend a healthy relationship to coffee—keep it moderate and cycle it regularly (go full days, and sometimes full weeks without consuming any coffee or caffeine).
Let's look at a few of the many health benefits of drinking coffee.
Coffee fights free radicals
Free radicals form in our body as a result of our exposure to pollution and other harmful elements. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals in our body.
Coffee just so happens to be one of the most concentrated antioxidant sources in the modern humans' diet.
In particular, two key antioxidants can be found in coffee; chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. Cocoa and tea are also abundant sources of antioxidants, but cup-for-cup coffee contains more antioxidants than both. (Research)
Coffee can prevent cardiovascular disease
Coffee contains the antioxidants cafestol and kahweol, both of which may help balance the cholesterol in your body.
Coffee intake is thought to be associated with lower risks of heart failure and stroke as it allows the release of fatty acids from fatty tissue.
Coffee improves alertness and brain performance
This should come as no surprise considering coffee stimulates the central nervous system.
Your brains contain a chemical called adenosine whose purpose is to signal the brain when you are tired. Caffeine in coffee can suppress the actions of adenosine, temporarily increasing your alertness and holding back your body's natural tendency to want to rest itself after hard physical or mental efforts.
Studies also found that the antioxidants in coffee may protect against Parkinson’s disease, prevent dementia, and can be useful as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Coffee improves physical performance
It was initially thought that caffeine in coffee helped improve how oxygen is absorbed into the athlete’s body, but that may not be the case.
Instead, drinking coffee can temporarily heighten blood sugar, which can be useful for prolonged physical activity as the extra sugar in the blood can be utilized by the athlete's body as a fuel source. (Research)
Coffee protects your liver
Studies show that people who drink coffee have lower chances of abnormal liver function.
One study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that individuals who drank up to four cups of coffee daily were found to have reduced alcoholic liver syndrome by 20 percent.
According to the British Liver Trust in a report published in June 2016, drinking coffee lowers the risk of liver conditions like fibrosis (scar tissue that builds up in the liver) and cirrhosis. Regular consumption of moderate amounts of coffee may also prevent liver cancer.