If you are anything like me the thought of starting the day without a cup of coffee is unthinkable. Coffee helps wake me up and start my day, passing on my morning coffee results in me being cranky, tired and lethargic. Myself and many coffee addicts don’t drink our morning brew for health benefits, but recent scientific research does suggest that coffee could be more than just a means of feeding our caffeine addictions and may actually have some serious health benefits.
What does the scientific research suggest?
There is a rapidly growing body of research investigating the health benefits associated with drinking coffee. This research has found that coffee drinkers are less likely to have Parkinson’s disease, dementia and type two diabetes than those who don’t consume coffee. They are also diagnosed with less heart rhythm disorders, strokes and some cancers. However, it is important to note that this research has only discovered an association between coffee consumption and these aforementioned health benefits. Further research is required to prove whether it is coffee or another factor common in coffee drinkers such as favourable genetics, diet or higher levels of physical activity that deliver these health benefits.
Type 2 diabetes
One area in which the research regarding coffee’s health benefits is quite strong is the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Studies have consistently found that coffee including the decaffeinated variety can help prevent the onset of diabetes. Researches believe that coffee’s benefits come from its high antioxidant content, which may help prevent oxidant damage and minerals such as magnesium, and chromium that help the body use the hormone insulin.
Heart disease and stroke
Research suggests that drinking coffee may assist with counteracting a number of risk factors linked to heart disease and stroke. Firstly, as previously mentioned coffee may have a positive effect on preventing type 2 diabetes, this is very important as type 2 diabetics are far more likely to experience heart disease or stroke. In addition to this, studies have found that coffee is linked to a significantly lower risk of heart rhythm disorders that have been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer
The scientific research has always been quite clear; those that consume higher levels of coffee have a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. The mechanism by which this occurs is currently thought to involve caffeine, but researchers are still not in agreement regarding exactly how it works. Some research also suggests that coffee could help prevent liver cirrhosis and cancer, but again researchers suggest further studies need to be done before the exact mechanism by which this occurs is known.
Drink coffee, go easy on the sugar
As you can see there is research that suggests coffee may offer more benefits than a morning pick me up. However, be sure to go easy on any added sugar, as in excess it could negate the potential benefits of drinking coffee.