You may be getting more out of your daily cup of coffee than just an early-morning pickup. Coffee has long been a controversial topic in terms of its health effects, with proponents touting its antioxidant activity and brain-boosting abilities and detractors citing downsides such as insomnia, indigestion, and high blood pressure. However, recent studies provide good news for coffee lovers. Here are 10 reasons drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought.
It boosts brain power and attention span
Drinking coffee on a regular basis appears to enhance concentration and improve motor control and alertness by creating changes in the brain, a new study suggests. The study also found coffee drinkers had increased activity in parts of the brain consistent with an improved ability to focus.
It helps reduce skin cancer cells
Women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily were 21 percent less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma (BCC), compared with women who drank less than one cup of caffeinated coffee per month, the study showed. For men, this risk reduction was 10 percent of this type of skin cancer.
Coffee curbs depression
Studies reviewed in the meta-analysis show coffee's anti-inflammatory properties are associated with decreased depression. Caffeine blocks mood-depressing chemicals in the brain. Caffeine blocks receptors in the brain from binding with a chemical (adenosine) that causes fatigue and depressed mood.
Coffee is healthy for your heart
Drinking coffee -- particularly two to three cups a day -- is not only associated with a lower risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms but also with living longer, according to recent studies. These trends held true for both people with and without cardiovascular disease. Researchers said the analyses -- the largest to look at coffee's potential role in heart disease and death -- provide reassurance that coffee isn't tied to new or worsening heart disease and may actually be heart protective.
Coffee can enhance exercise performance
Studies have shown that caffeine can benefit endurance performance, high intensity exercise, and power sports. However, it seems to benefit trained athletes the most. The recommended dose varies by body weight, but it’s typically about 200–400 mg, taken 30–60 minutes before a workout. Both caffeine anhydrous supplements and regular coffee provide performance benefits.
Coffee is a potent source of healthful antioxidants
In fact, coffee shows more antioxidant activity than green tea and cocoa, two antioxidant superstars. Scientists have identified approximately 1,000 antioxidants in unprocessed coffee beans, and hundreds more develop during the roasting process.
It lowers the risk of developing colon cancer
It’s known that several compounds in coffee have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other properties that may be active against cancer,” says Dana-Farber’s Chen Yuan, the co-first author of the study with Christopher Mackintosh of the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. “Epidemiological studies have found that higher coffee intake was associated with improved survival in patients with stage 3 colon cancer, but the relationship between coffee consumption and survival in patients with metastatic forms of the disease hasn’t been known.
Your liver loves coffee
When your body digests caffeine, it makes a chemical called paraxanthine that slows the growth of the scar tissue involved in fibrosis. That may help fight liver cancer, alcohol-related cirrhosis, non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease, and hepatitis C.
It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
A recent study uncovered how caffeine reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that caffeine lowers blood proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) levels, which, in turn, lowers “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Coffee guards against gout
Coffee is thought to reduce gout risk by lowering uric acid levels through several mechanisms Trusted Source. Coffee may lower uric acid levels by increasing the rate that your body excretes uric acid. Coffee is also thought to compete with the enzyme that breaks down purines in the body. This can lower the rate at which uric acid is created.