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7 Science-backed Health Benefits of Coffee

Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Table of Contents

close-up smiley woman holding coffee cup

The information in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, consult your physician or any licensed healthcare providers if you have questions.

Any coffee lover would tell you that coffee is not just a morning beverage. For many, drinking coffee marks the start of their productivity as it provides the jolt of energy that enhances alertness, keeping you awake for the entire day. However, other health benefits of coffee deserve recognition too. In this article, we will delve into the science-backed benefits of coffee to your health, from preventing several disorders to maintaining optimum mental health. 

  1. Lowers Your Risk of Diabetes

A number of scientific studies have explored the health benefits of coffee, and the results are impressive.

A published review in the Nutrients Journal found that coffee intake is linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes among habitual coffee drinkers compared to non-coffee drinkers. However, keep in mind that this may depend on the dosage and whether or not you use sweeteners in your coffee.

Another systemic review published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that drinking coffee leads to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes because it improves glucose metabolism. Moreover, these findings suggest coffee may have a protective effect against chronic diseases.

Pro tip: Type 2 diabetes can be triggered by lifestyle and heavily influenced by genetics. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should be familiar with the warning signs. Read our guides on spotting diabetes symptoms for more information. 

  1. Helps Prevent Cancer

A review of observational studies published in BMC Cancer found that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including liver, colorectal, and endometrial cancer. This may be due to coffee’s antioxidant properties and its ability to reduce inflammation and regulate insulin levels.

In addition, a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that caffeinated coffee also provides protection against the risk of developing melanoma. It highlighted the direct relationship between coffee intake and a lower risk for skin cancer. However, the results required replication and were exclusive to melanoma. 

  1. Protects Liver Health

Several studies have shown that regular coffee intake is related to a lower risk of liver disease, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and cirrhosis. 

A study published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal found that individuals who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had a 40% lower risk of developing liver cancer and liver disease compared to non-coffee drinkers. 

These findings tie up with the ability of coffee to stabilize liver enzymes, which influence and indicate liver damage. By extension, it has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the likelihood of developing cirrhosis and liver fibrosis. The same results were also noted among patients with NAFLD, chronic alcohol intake, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Pro tip: A liver enzyme blood test exposes the true status of your liver health. Check out our guides on liver enzymes to know more.

  1. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

One study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that moderate coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease mortality. Individuals who drank 0.5 to three cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to non-coffee drinkers and heavy drinkers. 

Coffee has also been found to have a protective effect against stroke. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that patients who drank one to two cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of stroke compared to those who did not drink coffee. 

The results of these studies highlight the anti-inflammatory properties of coffee to be the causative agent in its positive impact on cardiovascular health. However, it’s noteworthy to mention that above-moderate consumption (>3 cups) can reverse these effects as coffee can also elevate lipid levels, including cholesterols. 

  1. Improves Mental Performance

It’s no secret that coffee has long been known for its ability to improve focus, concentration, and overall cognitive function. This is primarily due to the presence of caffeine, the primary active compound in coffee, which acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system. When consumed in moderation, caffeine can enhance alertness and improve mental performance.

However, the health benefits of coffee extend beyond just providing brain energy and preventing diseases. Coffee has also been found to have a positive impact on mental health. Research has shown that coffee consumption of about 240 ml/day is associated with a 4% risk reduction of developing depression

This may be due to the mood-enhancing effects of caffeine, as well as the presence of other bioactive compounds in coffee that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

Pro tip: While it’s promising that coffee can help prevent depression, and even suicide, by extension, it’s important to note that overconsumption of coffee can also trigger anxiety. If you have general anxiety and panic attacks, consult your healthcare provider regarding your optimum coffee intake. Also, check out some of the activities that improve general anxiety

  1. Promotes Weight Loss

Coffee has long been associated with weight management and metabolism, and scientific studies have shed light on the mechanisms behind these effects. One of the key ways in which coffee can aid in weight loss is through its ability to increase metabolism and fat oxidation.

Caffeine benefits include increased metabolic rate and enhanced fat oxidation. Studies show that caffeine promotes body fat reduction and your ability to hit your optimum body mass index (BMI) by improving your calorie-burning mechanism. 

However, these effects are mostly true with black coffee and those without additive sweeteners. Sweetened coffee beverages sold commercially contain high amounts of sugar, reversing the weight loss influence of caffeine.

Pro tip: Caffeine also has appetite-suppressing properties. However, it’s not as potent as that of green tea. Find out why green tea is considered the most weight-loss-friendly drink and its other benefits to your health. 

  1. Helps Extend Your Lifespan

Coffee has a link with a longer lifespan, as studies have found that regular coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality – meaning that coffee drinkers have a reduced risk of dying from any cause compared to non-coffee drinkers.

One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that individuals who drank coffee had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections. Coffee has protective effects on various organs and systems in the body, including the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and immune system.

Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that individuals who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had a reduced mortality rate from any cause compared to non-coffee drinkers. It is believed that this is due to coffee’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, as well as its ability to improve cognitive function and reduce depression and suicide risk.

How to Maximize the Health Benefits of Coffee

man drinking coffee at coffee shop

Coffee provides tons of positive impacts on your health. However, it can also trigger certain medical conditions that cancel out its good works To maximize the health benefits of coffee, it is important to keep a few key points in mind. 

  1. Drink coffee moderately

While coffee can have numerous health benefits, excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects such as increased anxiety, disrupted sleep, and digestive issues. It is generally recommended to limit coffee consumption to no more than three cups per day.

  1. Consider how coffee is prepared and consumed 

Adding excessive amounts of sugar, cream, or flavorings can negate the potential health benefits of coffee and contribute to weight gain and other health issues. It is best to drink coffee black or with minimal additions.

  1. Work with your nutritionist or healthcare provider

Some individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and may need to regulate their intake to avoid negative side effects. Additionally, certain medical conditions or medications may interact with coffee and require adjustments in consumption.

  1. Adjust coffee consumption accordingly 

With information from your doctor and a better understanding of how coffee interacts with your body functions, make sure to adjust your coffee intake. Caffeine dependency is a recognized condition and can cause more harm than good. If you have trouble reducing your coffee intake, make sure to ask for any intervention from a healthcare professional or your support group.  

Frequently Asked Questions

low angle smiley friends drinking coffee

Is drinking coffee a healthy habit?

Yes, drinking coffee moderately can improve certain aspects of your health, such as preventing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and various forms of cancer. Plus, it improves your cognitive and mental state by stabilizing your mood and extends your longevity due to its bioactive compound against inflammation and free radicals.  

What is the healthiest way to drink coffee?

Pure black coffee is considered the healthiest form of coffee due to the absence of sweeteners that can spike up your blood glucose level. However, black coffee is not for the faint of heart. It is slightly acidic, which may not be recommended for those with digestive issues. 

What are the benefits of drinking coffee in the morning?

It is typical to drink coffee in the morning as caffeine increases your alertness and provides an energy boost, which speeds up your transition from the steadfastness of the whole night’s rest. As a result, you become more active and ready for the day. 

The Bottom Line

From improving mental health to lowering the risk of certain diseases and promoting longevity, coffee has proven to be a powerful ally in our quest for optimal health. It is important, however, to consume coffee moderately and to consider genetics, lifestyle, and diet. Thus, you can maximize the health benefits of coffee and enjoy it to the fullest.

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