The health effects of coffee are quite controversial. Depending on who you ask, it is either a super healthy beverage or incredibly harmful.
But despite what you may have heard, there are actually plenty of good things to be said about coffee. For example, it is high in antioxidants and linked to a reduced risk of many diseases. However… it also contains caffeine, a stimulant that can cause problems in some people and disrupt sleep.
This article takes a detailed look at coffee and its health effects, examining both the pros and cons.
Coffee Contains Some Essential Nutrients and is Extremely High in Antioxidants
Coffee is more than just dark brown water… many of the nutrients in the coffee beans do make it into the drink.A typical 8oz (240 ml) cup of coffee contains (1):
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 11% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 6% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 2% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2% of the RDA.
- Folate: 1% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 3% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 2% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 1% of the RDA.
This may not seem like a lot, but try multiplying with 3, 4, or however many cups you drink per day. It can add up to a significant portion of your daily nutrient intake. But where coffee really shines is in its high content of antioxidants.The average person who eats a typical Western diet actually gets more antioxidants from coffee than fruits and vegetables… combined (2, 3).
Bottom Line: Coffee contains a small amount of some vitamins and minerals, which add up if you drink many cups per day. It is also high in antioxidants.
Coffee Contains Caffeine, A Stimulant That Can Enhance Brain Function and Boost Metabolism
Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world (4).Soft drinks, tea and chocolate all contain caffeine, but coffee is the biggest source.The caffeine content of a single cup can range from 30-300 mg, but the average cup is somewhere around 90-100 mg.Caffeine is a known stimulant. In the brain, it blocks the function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (brain hormone) called Adenosine.By blocking adenosine, caffeine actually increases activity in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine. This reduces tiredness and makes us feel more alert (5, 6).There are numerous studies showing that caffeine can lead to a short-term boost in brain function… including improved mood, reaction time, vigilance and general cognitive function (7, 8).Caffeine can also boost metabolism (calories burned) by 3-11% and even increase exercise performance by 11-12%, on average (9, 10, 11, 12).However… some of these effects are likely to be short-term. If you drink coffee every day, then you will build a tolerance to it and the effects will be less powerful (13).There are also some downsides to caffeine, which I’ll get to in a bit.
Bottom Line: The main active compound in coffee is the stimulant caffeine. It can cause a short-term boost in energy levels, brain function, metabolic rate and exercise performance.
Coffee May Help Protect Your Brain in Old Age, Leading to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and a leading cause of dementia.Studies have shown that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (14, 15, 16).Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.Coffee drinkers have a 32-60% lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. The more coffee people drink, the lower the risk (17, 18, 19, 20).
Bottom Line: Several studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in old age.
Coffee Drinkers Have a Much Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars due to resistance to the effects of insulin.This is a very common disease… it has increased 10-fold in a few decades and now afflicts over 300 million people.Interestingly, coffee drinkers appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing this disease, some studies showing that coffee drinkers are up to 23-67% less likely to become diabetic (21, 22, 23, 24).In one large review study that looked at 18 studies with 457,922 individuals, each daily cup of coffee was linked to a 7% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (25).
Bottom Line: Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Liver Diseases
The liver is an incredibly important organ that has hundreds of different functions in the body.It is very sensitive to modern insults like excess alcohol and fructose intake.The end stage of liver damage is called Cirrhosis, and involves most of the liver being replaced with scar tissue.Coffee drinkers have up to an 84% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, with the strongest effect for those who drink 4 or more cups per day (26, 27, 28).Liver cancer is also common… it is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Coffee drinkers have up to a 40% lower risk of liver cancer (29, 30).
Bottom Line: Coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The more coffee they drink, the lower the risk.
People Who Drink Coffee Are at a Much Lower Risk of Depression and Suicide
Depression is an incredibly common problem.It is the world’s most common mental disorder and leads to a significantly reduced quality of life.In one Harvard study from 2011, people who drank the most coffee had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed (31).In one review of 3 studies, people who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide (32).
Bottom Line: Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of becoming depressed and are significantly less likely to commit suicide.
Studies That Show Coffee Drinkers Live Longer
Given that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of many common, deadly diseases (and suicide), it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer.There is actually some good evidence to support this.A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 looked at the habits of 402,260 individuals between 50 and 71 years of age (33).In this study, people who drank coffee had a much lower risk of dying over the 12-13 year study period:The sweet spot seems to be at 4-5 cups per day, with men having a 12% reduced risk and women a 16% reduced risk.You can read more about it in this article on how coffee can make you live longer.
Bottom Line: Some studies have shown that coffee drinkers live longer, which makes perfect sense given that they have a lower risk of many diseases. The strongest effect is seen for 4-5 cups per day.
Caffeine Can Cause Anxiety and Disrupt Sleep
It wouldn’t be right to only talk about the good stuff without mentioning the bad.The truth is… there are some important negative aspects to coffee as well (although this depends on the individual).Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and may even exacerbate panic attacks (34).If you are sensitive to caffeine and tend to become overstimulated, then perhaps you shouldn’t be drinking coffee.Another unwanted side effect is that it can disrupt sleep (35). If coffee reduces the quality of your sleep, then try avoiding coffee late in the day, such as after 2pm.Caffeine can also have some diuretic and blood pressure raising effects, but this usually goes away with regular use. However, an increase in blood pressure of 1-2 mm/Hg may persist (36, 37, 38).
Bottom Line: Caffeine can have various negative effects, such as causing anxiety and disrupting sleep, but this depends greatly on the individual.
Caffeine is Addictive and Missing a Few Cups Can Lead to Withdrawal
One issue with caffeine, is that it can lead to addiction in many people.
When people consume caffeine regularly, they become tolerant to it. It either stops working as it used to, or a larger dose is needed to get the same effects (39).When people abstain from caffeine, they get withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness, brain fog and irritability. This can last for a few days (40, 41).Tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of physical addiction.A lot of people (understandably) don’t like the idea of being literally dependant on a chemical substance in order to function properly.
Bottom Line: Caffeine is an addictive substance. It can lead to tolerance and well documented withdrawal symptoms like headache, tiredness and irritability.
The Difference Between Regular and Decaf
Some people opt for decaffeinated coffee instead of regular.The way decaffeinated coffee is usually made, is by rinsing the coffee beans with solvent chemicals.Each time this is done, some percentage of the caffeine dissolves in the solvent and this process is repeated until most of the caffeine has been removed.However, it’s important to keep in mind that even decaffeinated coffee does containsome caffeine, just much less than regular coffee.Unfortunately, not all of the health benefits of regular coffee apply to decaffeinated coffee. For example, some studies show no reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s or liver diseases for people who drink decaffeinated coffee.
Bottom Line: Decaffeinated coffee is made by extracting caffeine from the coffee beans using solvents. Decaf does not have all of the same health benefits as regular coffee.
Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Maximize The Health Benefits
There are some things you can do in order to maximize the beneficial health effects you get from coffee.The most important is to NOT add anything unhealthy to it. This includes sugar and any sort of artificial, chemical-laden creamer.Another important thing is to brew coffee with a paper filter. Unfiltered coffee (such as Turkish or French press) contains cafestol, a substance that can increase cholesterol levels (42, 43).Also keep in mind that some of the coffee drinks at places like Starbucks can contain hundreds of calories and a whole bunch of sugar. These drinks are NOT healthy.There are some more tips in this article on 8 ways to make your coffee super healthy.
Bottom Line: It is important not to put sugar or a chemical-laden creamer in your coffee. Brewing with a paper filter can get rid of a cholesterol-raising compound called Cafestol.
Should You be Drinking Coffee?
There are some people who would definitely want to avoid or severely limit coffee consumption, especially pregnant women.
People with anxiety issues, high blood pressure or insomnia might also want to try limiting coffee for a while to see if it helps.There is also some evidence that people who metabolize caffeine slowly have an increased risk of heart attacks from drinking coffee (44). All that being said… it does seem clear that for the average person, coffee can have important beneficial effects on health.If you don’t already drink coffee, then I don’t think these benefits are a compelling reason to start doing it. There are downsides as well. But if you already drink coffee and you enjoy it, then the benefits appear to far outweigh the negatives.I personally drink coffee, every day… about 4-5 cups (sometimes more). My health has never been better.
It’s important to keep in mind that many of the studies in the article are observational studies, which can not prove that coffee caused the beneficial effects.But given that the effects are strong and consistent among studies, it is a fairly strong indicator that coffee does in fact play a role.Despite having been demonized in the past, the evidence points to coffee being very healthy… at least for the majority of people. If anything, coffee belongs in the same category as healthy beverages like green tea.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.