Since coffee isn’t a thirst quencher or a nutritional beverage, people often wonder whether it’s good for you. Of course, it gets you up and moving, more ready to embrace the day. . . or just deal with it. It also warms us up in cold weather. Coffee gets us chatting and generally peps us up. However, the dehydrating and energizing effects, along with the tendency to make us tense . . . can raise suspicions of unhealthiness. Certainly, coffee is not for every moment, like 10 p.m. Even decaf has small amounts of caffeine. Also, there is a lot of difference among caffeinated coffees.
Overall, the great news is: coffee has a few HEALTH BENEFITS! It has even been linked to mental health benefits and second-order health benefits like getting enough physical activity. In this post, we’ll go over the benefits of coffee for health and wellness. We’ll also mention some potential risks to avoid to ensure you don’t negate the health benefits.
Risks of Coffee
Coffee beans bring a high price compared to other crops in the countries near the equator that grow coffee. The earnings can really make a difference for people. Growers will go to great lengths to protect beans. So it’s no surprise that pesticides and other harmful chemicals can end up in our coffee and bodies.
Coffee can even harbor natural carcinogens. It’s important to know where your coffee is grown, which is much easier with single-origin coffees. You want to ensure you can enjoy the health benefits of coffee presented below, without complications resulting from harmful substances.
Coffee’s Health and Wellness Benefits
Before launching into the more direct health benefits, let’s address how exactly coffee increases a person’s energy level. It does so by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. Adenosine receptors are blocked by caffeine. Dopamine and other transmitters can then boost energy.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Among the most consistent positive health findings about coffee are those concerning blood sugar. Over time, consistent coffee drinkers may lower their risk of getting type 2 diabetes. The risk may be decreased by 6% with each cup drank per day. Considering that 30 studies were taken into account to arrive at that conclusion, that’s a pretty great health benefit, in proactive terms. This is due to coffee’s ability to maintain beta cells’ health in the pancreas.
Protects the Brain and Nervous System
Coffee may also be healthy, in the preventative sense, when it comes to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. For Parkinson’s disease, the effect has been linked to caffeine. It helps to prevent Parkinson’s and slow the acceleration of the disease.
Good coffee is more than just complex in flavor. It has healthy compounds. Eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT) is a fatty acid that is important, especially when combined with caffeine. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation’s reporting on a study:
“….a synergistic combination of EHT and caffeine was shown to slow down the progression of the neurodegeneration associated with PD in mice — which has potentially readily available therapeutic implications. In addition, previous research has demonstrated that caffeine enhances dopamine signaling in the brain (Volkow et al., 2015); and, it’s the death of dopamine-producing cells that results in movement symptoms of PD.”
For Alzheimer’s disease, it’s thought to lower the risk of onset. Yet it may just help the brain in general. Consuming a reasonable amount of coffee can sustain cognitive capacity and lower the risk of dementia.
Let’s take a break from disease prevention and reduction to look at the impact on general physical health and mental health.
Coffee’s Impact on Physical and Mental Health
Reduces Body Fat
It’s not just those at risk for diabetes or neurodegenerative disorders who can benefit from drinking coffee regularly. Coffee can help fat storage processes in positive ways. Separate studies have found lower body fat in both men and women who drink coffee. It may also improve gut health.
Physical Activity & Mental Health
Need a little kick to get you out and kicking? Try coffee! Meeting physical activity guidelines is more likely for those who drink a few cups of coffee per day. The motivation to exercise, or just do moderately exerting activities and chores can be sparked by coffee. Yard work, gardening, cleaning and household projects are more likely to get started and finished after a cup of coffee, for many people. Taking a walk on a work break is more likely too.
Increased exercise and basic activity can reduce depression for some people. So, it’s no surprise that coffee drinkers keep their mood up. People who drink four cups per day were less prone to depression. It was even linked to a lower risk of death by suicide in one study.
Nevertheless, it’s common for people who experience anxiety to find it exacerbated by coffee. Or too much coffee may be the problem. Those who don’t normally suffer from anxiety may get anxious if they overdo it as well. It’s best to limit intake if you’re in a worrisome mood. The impulse to charge yourself up to finish a project, exercise or stay awake may have bad mental health side effects.
More Health Benefits of Coffee
Returning to the potential health benefits of drinking coffee, there may be positive effects for the liver. Coffee has been shown to prevent liver cancer. The liver enzymes of coffee drinkers are more likely to show enzyme levels at a healthy level. Coffee may prevent endometrial (uterine) cancer as well. The risk of colorectal cancer for women who drink decaf or regular coffee is cut into a fourth. That study’s results held up whether she drank decaf or regular.
A benefit of coffee that is more submerged in the body is that it may help prevent breakages in DNA strands. However, that’s only been shown for dark roasts, which is interesting. Broken DNA strands that can’t be fixed by cells may lead to bad growths or cancer.
Feel Great About Drinking Coffee!
With the physical and mental health benefits of consuming a moderate amount of coffee regularly, there’s no reason to feel bad about drinking coffee! For acidity and anxiety purposes, some people may need to limit their intake. Or they may need to avoid it under certain circumstances. However, approaching life feeling energized and consuming all of the antioxidants coffee offers is a good thing in general.
Single-Origin Coffees Deliver the Purest Benefits of Coffee
…and those pure benefits are only available without other detrimental factors IF you know where your coffee came from and how it was treated. Single-origin coffees can guarantee clean treatment of coffee trees and beans. Subida Coffee Co. offers gourmet single-origin coffee grown at a non-profit that educates youth. Agricultural engineers oversee the production. It delivers great coffee and provides stability for many lives in Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. Coffee grown there can do a lot of good when purchased in other countries.