The Surprisingly Strong Health Benefits of Coffee

In All Health Watch, Anti-Aging, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, General Health

To put it mildly, coffee is a popular beverage. A recent survey found that 64% of Americans reported having had at least one cup the previous day.1

You might not find that surprising. But you might well be surprised by the number of remarkable health benefits contained in a mug of joe.

Heart Health

A recent study found that coffee lovers face a lower risk of the most dangerous type of artery blockages.

Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo’s School of Public Health surveyed 4,400 adults about their coffee habits. And they gave the subjects coronary artery calcium scans. This specialized X-ray looks for buildup of calcium-containing plaque in the heart’s arteries.2

The people in the study had an average age of 50 and were divided evenly between men and women. Most didn’t get much exercise and were overweight.

The researchers found that people who drank at least three cups of coffee a day were 63% less likely to have dangerous artery calcification compared to those who drank less coffee.3
Andreia Miranda is a postdoctoral candidate at the University of Sao Paulo. She is lead author of the study.

“We found that habitual consumption of more than three cups a day of coffee decreased odds of coronary calcification,” she said.

Brain Health

New research shows that coffee dramatically decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The findings were presented at the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society’s Congress in Lisbon.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee scientists tracked the coffee drinking habits of over 6,000 women. They gave subjects annual cognitive tests for up to 10 years. Researchers found those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia by up to 27%.4

Professor Rodrigo Cunha, a presenter at the Congress, said: “Moderate coffee consumption could play a significant role in reducing cognitive decline.”5

Cancer Prevention, Better Hearing, Liver Protection, and More

Other coffee health benefits include…

  • Preserves Hearing. Women who drink coffee each day lower their chance of developing tinnitus by at least 15%, according to a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Tinnitus is buzzing or ringing in the ears. It’s a common sign of age-related hearing loss. Or it could point to ear injury. Researchers believe the antioxidants in coffee are responsible for this protective effect.6
  • Stops Diabetes. A decade-long Greek study revealed habitual coffee drinkers are 54% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.7 Coffee reduces the amount of amyloid A proteins in your blood. The lower your number, the lower your diabetes risk. The anti-inflammatory effect of coffee keeps these proteins in check.
  • Fights Off Cancer. A few cups of coffee each day lowers your risk for certain cancers. German and Swedish studies confirm post-menopausal women who drink five cups a day cut their risk of hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer 33-57%. This type of breast cancer is particularly aggressive.8
  • Protects Your Liver. Two cups of coffee each morning can shield your liver from serious damage. A study out of Singapore followed 63,725 people aged 45-75 for 15 years. It found people drinking this amount of coffee are 66% less likely to die from cirrhosis of the liver.9

What Type of Coffee is Healthiest?

A new study provides an answer…at least when it comes to dark vs. light roasts. It’s the first research to test different roasting methods on a cellular level.

Scientists from universities in Korea examined the effects of roasting on coffee’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.10

They tested light, medium, city (sometimes called “continental” or “light French roast”), and French (dark) roast. For comparison, regular Folgers and most other major store brands are medium-roast coffees.

A coffee solution of each type of roast was introduced to mice cells. Then scientists observed its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the cells.

The results?

Light roast coffee had the most benefit, beating out medium roast by a few percentage points. City roast was about 10% less beneficial. And French roast dropped a substantial 25%.

But whether light or dark, choose organic coffee whenever you can…and skip sugar and artificial creamers.

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