7 Reasons to Enjoy Your Morning—or Afternoon—Cup of Coffee

Filed in The Healthy Writer by on December 11, 2014 • views: 1691

CoffeeMy father always loved coffee, but when he got into his later sixties, his doctor recommended he avoid it.

It’s an acidic drink—hard on aging or sensitive stomachs—and my dad was swallowing too many antacids.

If you have a sensitive stomach, too, you may want to avoid coffee, or at least limit your intake. Those sensitive to caffeine may also want to keep it to one cup a day.  Otherwise, most people can feel good about enjoying a cup of jo when the mood strikes.

Coffee used to get a bad rap in medical circles. Doctors and scientists alike believed it to be a vice best excised from people’s lives for good. Modern scientific research, however, has found that’s it’s actually good for you in a lot of ways.

We’re talking about regular coffee here, not calorie-laden coffee drinks that can quickly pad your waistline. Good old coffee— sometimes because of its caffeine content, other times because of the antioxidants and beneficial plant chemicals in the beans, and often because of how the two interact together—can help you enjoy a longer and healthier life.

  1. Reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies have found that coffee lowers the risk of Parkinson’s. In 2000, for example, researchers analyzed data from over 8,000 men and found that a higher coffee and caffeine intake was associated with a significantly lower risk of Parkinson’s. A 2012 study also found that coffee may help improve movement control in those who have the disease.
  2. Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes: Have just one more cup of coffee a day and you may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by about 11 percent. A 2014 study found that people who did just that saw their risk for type 2 diabetes decrease. If you’re a real coffee junkie, you may cut your risk in half. Those who drank 7 cups a day in a Dutch study did just that, but the results may have other side effects you’d rather not put up with!
  3. Reduce risk of liver cancer: A 2013 meta-analysis of studies concluded that coffee consumption reduces risk of the most common type of liver cancer. Three cups a day reduced risk by 50 percent!
  4. Reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease: A 2010 analysis concluded that most studies support coffee’s ability to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. (Tea seems to help, too.) A later 2011 animal study also showed that a component in coffee works with caffeine to increase a growth factor to protect against the development of Alzheimer’s.
  5. Reduce risk of depression: Feeling a little blue? Try a cup of coffee…or two. A 2011 Harvard study found that the risk of depression among women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day was 20 percent lower than among women who didn’t drink coffee. They published another study two years later that showed drinking between two and four cups a day reduced risk of suicide in men and women by 50 percent.
  6. Reduce risk of stroke: A 2013 study of over 83,000 men and women concluded that a daily cup of coffee (or green tea) could help reduce risk of stroke. Just one cup of coffee a day (and four cups of green tea) reduced risk by about 20 percent. An earlier study of about 35,000 women published in 2011 also found that those who drank more than one cup of coffee a day had a 22 to 25 percent reduced risk of stroke compared with women who drank less.
  7. May help you live longer: Could your daily cup of coffee help you stick around to enjoy even more coffee? One 2012 study suggests it’s possible. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute looked at data that included about 400,000 adults between the ages of 50 and 71. They found that coffee consumption (caffeinated or decaffeinated) was associated with a lower risk of death overall. Researchers cautioned that more studies need to be done to confirm the results, but it’s good news so far!

Do you enjoy your coffee without guilt? How does it help you get through your day?

Lopez-Garcia E, van Dam RM, Li TY,Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Hu FB. The Relationship of Coffee Consumption with Mortality. Ann Intern Med. 2008;148:904-914, http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/abstract/148/12/904.

G. Webster Ross, et al., “Association of Coffee and Caffeine Intake with the Risk of Parkinson Disease,” JAMA, May 24/31, 2000; 283(20): 2674-2679, http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=192731.

American Academy of Neurology, “Coffee may help some Parkinson’s disease movement symptoms, research suggests,” ScienceDaily, August 1, 2012, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801165353.htm.

Van Dam R.M. et al. (2002) Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lancet, 360:1477-1478, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(02)11436-X/fulltext#article_upsell.

“Changes in coffee intake and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: three large cohorts of US men and women,” Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, An Pan, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, Rob M. van Dam, Frank B. Hu, Diabetologia, online April 24, 2014, DOI 10.1007/s00125-014-3235-7

Francesca Bravi, Cristina Bosetti, Alessandra Tavani, Silvano Gallus, Carlo La Vecchia. Coffee Reduces Risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: An Updated Meta-analysis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, May 8, 2013; 11 (11): 1413, http://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(13)00609-5/abstract.

Eskelinen MH and Kivipelto, M., “Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” J Alzheimers Dis., 2010; 20(Suppl1):S167-74, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20182054.

Chuanhai Cao, Li Wang, Xiaoyang Lin, Malgorzata Mamcarz, Chi Zhang, Ge Bai, Jasson Nong, Sam Sussman and Gary Arendash. Caffeine Synergizes with Another Coffee Component to Increase Plasma GCSF: Linkage to Cognitive Benefits in Alzheimer’s Mice. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 25(2), June 28, 2011, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21422521.

Michel Lucas, et al., “Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women,” Arch Intern Med. 2011; 171(17):1571-1578, http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1105943.

Emma Robertson, “Could coffee help prevent depression? Two cups a day ‘may reduce the risk of suicide by 50%,’” Daily Mail, July 26, 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2378708/Could-coffee-help-prevent-depression-Two-cups-day-reduces-risk-suicide-50.html.

Yoshihiro Kokubo, et al., “The Impact of Green Tea and Coffee Consumption on the Reduced Risk of Stroke Incidence in Japanese Population,” StrokeAHA, March 14, 2013, http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/03/14/STROKEAHA.111.677500.abstract.

Meredith Melnick, “Study: Drinking Coffee May Lower Women’s Risk of Stroke,” Time, March 10, 2011, http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/10/study-drinking-coffee-may-lower-womens-risk-of-stroke/.

Neal D. Freedman, et al., “Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality,” New England Journal of Medicine, May 17, 2012, 366:1891-1904, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1112010.

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