“Often people think of coffee as just a vehicle for caffeine,” wrote Dr. Rob van Dam of the Harvard School of Public Health. “But it’s actually a very complex drink,” containing hundreds of different chemical compounds. Grown in over 70 countries around the world, coffee has a controversial history with health experts, who have long warned that overconsumption can be detrimental to our health. However, more recent studies paint a rosier picture of the Coffee the roasted berries of the plant (they’re not really beans), suggesting that when eaten in moderate amounts – and without heaping on the sugar and cream – magic things can have many potential benefits for the health. A look at a few of them:
Coffee can help fight depression…
Start your day with a smile: A joint study by the National Institutes of Health and AARP found that people who drank four or more cups of java a day were 10% less likely to be depressed than those who didn’t drink coffee at all. . Curiously, the same mental health benefits did not extend to other caffeinated beverages, especially cola, which was linked to a higher risk of depression (possibly due to the high sugar content) . Therefore, the researchers suggest that “the mood-boosting effect of coffee could be attributed to its antioxidants,” reported Prevention.
…and adult coffee drinkers are less likely to commit suicide
In this sense, a large public study from the Harvard School of Public Health revealed an astonishing statistic: drinking two to four cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of suicide in men and women by a surprising 50%. Researchers combed through the health data of over 100,000 men and women and identified caffeine as the primary mood booster in coffee. “In contrast to previous investigations, we were able to assess the association of caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverage consumption, and we identified caffeine as the most likely candidate for any putative protective effect of coffee,” said lead researcher Michel Lucas from the school nutrition department. . Researchers warn that more than four cups, however, could actually harm your mental health; a separate Finnish study concluded that people who drank eight to nine cups a day were actually at upper risk of suicide than those who drank a smaller amount.
It may be good for your liver
Many studies have suggested that caffeine helps the liver regulate itself. Research presented by the Mayo Clinic found that regular coffee consumption may reduce the risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare autoimmune disease that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and even cancer. But that’s not all. A separate 22-year study of 125,000 people found that heavy drinkers who had one cup of coffee a day were 20% less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis. Again, these health benefits did not extend to other caffeinated beverages, including tea.
Java can (temporarily) help you lose weight
The use of green coffee bean extract exploded when Dr. Oz claimed on his show that it “burns fat fast” without dieting or additional exercise. (Of course.) But what is the substance, exactly? Green coffee beans are seeds that have not yet been roasted, thus preserving a compound called chlorogenic acid which disappears when heated. Although limited research has been done on the extract and no serious side effects have been reported in clinical studies, WebMD warned that the current research on weight loss is “preliminary and of poor quality”.
While products containing caffeine TO DO help suppress appetite, the Mayo Clinic has suggested that results from water loss due to caffeine consumption or calorie burning via thermogenesis – when your body generates heat and energy at from the digestion of food – are not permanent. When it comes to weight loss, caffeine should be seen as a supplement, not a magic panacea. So don’t try this at home:
It’s a legal performance gain
It’s no secret that athletes and coaches have long used coffee to boost their athletic performance before competition. Caffeine, in particular, “has been shown to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the blood,” reports The New York Times, “which allows people to run or cycle longer.” (One study suggests that up to two-thirds of Olympic athletes have been found with caffeine in their urine.)
“I’ve worked with endurance athletes in the past who would stop and have a normal coffee at any store before the race – and often their performance could be a little different,” said Dr Mike Nelson. , searcher. and performance specialist, explained to The Guardian.
So: How much should you drink before the competition? Researchers at the University of Coventry in England have found that the magic performance-enhancing ratio appears to be 6 milligrams of caffeine per 2.2 pounds of body weight. For a 154 pound person, that’s about two cups.
However, lattes like lattes do not have a high caffeine content. And caffeine levels vary by roast and coffee variety. “In general, darker roasts will have lower caffeine content,” Nelson said. “But even when outlets try to control beans, brewing method, etc., the variability in caffeine content is still quite high.” He recommends athletes who use caffeine for performance enhancement take it in pill form, “because you can better control your intake.”
It may reduce your risk of type II diabetes
A study found that high caffeine consumption can reduce body fat and the risk of diabetes. “We know that caffeine affects a person’s metabolism and energy. It makes sense that there could be an association,” said Benjamin Woolf, who worked on the study.
However, caffeine alone is probably not the cause. High levels of caffeine are linked to a higher metabolism and more physical activity, leading to weight loss, which reduces the risk of diabetes. “It represents good science for forming hypotheses or ideas,” said Dr Stephen Lawrence, associate clinical professor at the University of Warwick Medical School. “However, this does not prove cause and effect, so we must be careful not to rush to over-interpret.”
Despite the correlation, the scientists added that many caffeinated beverages are high in calories. “Science suggests relatively strong evidence that caffeine consumption increases fat burning, even at rest. However, it is not a treatment for obesity and, if used incorrectly, can cause weight gain or even be harmful,” Lawrence explained.
It may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Yes, coffee can help keep your mind sharp as you age by slowing the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. Several studies have suggested that coffee drinkers have up to 60% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and the drink may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 32-60%. pirate of life reported.
For what? Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at the University of South Florida, has a theory: Cao said WebMD that caffeine “inhibits the production of beta-amyloid”, a protein that has been shown to accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The older you get, the harder it is to metabolize — or use — all that excess protein, which causes a traffic jam in your brain. Java’s stimulating stimulant ensures that “your system only metabolizes all available protein,” says Cao.
Coffee might even make you smarter
Time and time again, studies have shown that caffeine, which blocks neurotransmitters in the brain associated with sleep, can temporarily boost cognition, especially when you don’t close your eyes enough. “When you’re sleep deprived and take caffeine, just about everything you measure improves,” Harris Lieberman, a research psychologist for the military, told CNN in 2006. reaction, alertness, attention, logical reasoning – most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence.And most Americans are sleep deprived most of the time.
Coffee can prevent skin cancer
So coffee is not only great for managing your mood, weight, and frayed nerves, but it may also reduce your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer. A 2012 joint study between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed 112,897 men and women over a 20-year period. What did they find? Women who drank three or more cups a day, for example, were much less likely to develop skin cancer than those who drank no coffee or only stuck to decaf.
Updated March 17, 2023: This article has been updated throughout to reflect recent findings.