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Is coffee good for health?

While reading, traveling or simply refueling after a tiring day, it's hard to imagine a day without coffee!

The caffeine perks you up and there's something very soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe, but is drinking coffee good for health?

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The health effects of coffee are controversial.

Don't worry, the case for coffee is stronger than ever.

Studies indicate that coffee may help guard against conditions more common in women, including Alzheimer's and heart diseases.

However, there are potential downsides when coffee is consumed extensively. 

Let's look at every aspect to find out whether coffee is good for health.

But what are the top health benefits of Coffee?

Your freshly brewed coffee is wrapped with more benefits than just an energy boost.

1. You could prevent yourself from heart diseases 

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 1-2 cups of coffee a day can help the heart to function better and waive off chance of heart failure or heart diseases. It also helps lower the stroke risks.

2. You will have a healthier liver

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Liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. 

The end stage of liver damage is called cirrhosis which turns most of the liver in to a scar tissue.

Coffee drinkers can have up to 84% lower risk of cirrhosis and 40% reduced risk of liver cancers

Research shows that coffee drinkers are likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee.

3. You are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's 

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Caffeine consumption in two cups of coffee per day may provide significant protection against developing the condition for Alzheimer's disease especially in women which is known to be the leading cause of dementia.

Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

4. You will have a stronger DNA

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Dark roasted coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands, which occur naturally but can lead to cancer or tumors if not repaired by your cells.

5. You might have a longer life

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Coffee reduces the chances of diseases like - coronary heart disease, strokediabetes and kidney disease, which are some of the leading causes of death especially in women, it helps you live a longer life. 

There are several researches and studies to back this claim.

In a study at Harvard, people who drank the most coffee had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed.

In another study, people who drank four or more cups of coffee per day were 53% less likely to commit suicide.

In a research of 402,260 individuals it was found that coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers. The strongest effect is seen at 4–5 cups per day.

In another research conducted in 2017, Gunter published the results of a study that looked at the coffee-drinking habits of half a million people across Europe over a period of 16 years. Those who drank more coffee had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and cancer. These findings are consistent with research from other parts of the world, including the US.

6. Your body processes sugar in a better way

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People who drink Coffee are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes has increased tenfold in a few decades and now affects over 300 million people.

Interestingly, studies show that coffee drinkers may have a 23–67% reduced risk of developing this condition.

7. You will have lower chance of colon cancer and Parkinson's disease 

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Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and is caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in the brain.

Studies have shown that coffee drinkers have a 32–60% lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. The more coffee people drink, the lower the risk.

8. You become smarter and energetic 

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Soft drinks, tea and chocolate all contain caffeine, but coffee is the biggest source. The caffeine content of an average cup of coffee is somewhere around 90–100 mg.

Caffeine is a known stimulant. In your brain, it blocks the function of a hormone called adenosine allowing a break from the morning fog and giving you a useful energy boost. 

By blocking adenosine, caffeine increases activity in your brain and releases other hormones like norepinephrine and dopamine. This reduces tiredness and makes you feel more alert.

Many studies show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function — including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function.

9. Your body could burn some fat 

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Caffeine is amongst the few natural substances that aids fat burning.

It is found in almost every fat burning supplement.

Several studies show that caffeine can boost metabolism by 3-11%

Caffeine breaks down body fat, making free fatty acids available as fuel for intense physical exertion.

Therefore, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.

If you are concerned that the cream and sugar in your coffee will increase the calorific value, try a typical cup of black coffee that contains only around 2 calories. 

10. You get good amount of nutrients & antioxidants

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Coffee bean is quite high in antioxidants. Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee intake than from fruits and vegetables combined.

Antioxidants can help rid the body of free radicals, a type of waste product that the body naturally produces as a result of certain processes

Coffee also contains a number of useful nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), magnesiumpotassium, etc.

11. You can be relieved of migraine headaches

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At the onset of a migraine headache, the blood vessels in your head enlarge and increase their blood flow.

The caffeine in coffee causes narrowing of those vessels, which restricts the blood flow and can help reduce pain.

That's also why caffeine is found in many headache remedies.

But What are the potential downsides of Coffee? 

It wouldn't be right to talk about only the good without mentioning the bad.

Coffee does have negative aspects as well, but that also depends on the individuals.

Let's look at some negatives of drinking Coffee:

1. It can make you anxious and disrupt sleep 

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Consuming too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, heart palpitations and even exacerbated panic attacks.

If you're sensitive to caffeine you may want to avoid it altogether.

Another side effect is that it can disrupt your sleeping patterns and make you sleep deprived.  

2. Coffee can make you addictive to it

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You get tolerant to caffeine when you consume it regularly.

So, it either stops working or you would need a larger dose to produce the same effects.

There are lots of withdrawal symptoms like brain fog, headache, irritability and fatigue.

3. Risk of Bone fractures 

Excessive coffee may have higher risk of bone fracture

Some studies have found that women who drink a lot of coffee may have a higher risk of bone fractures. 

Men with a higher coffee intake, on the other hand, appear to have a slightly lower risk.

4. Not safe during pregnancy

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The researchers added that coffee consumption may not be safe during pregnancy.

In fact, there is some evidence to suggest a link between high coffee consumption and pregnancy loss, a low birth weight, and preterm birth.

5. Coffee for kids may increase bedwetting

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One survey reported that caffeine consumption of 5-7 year old kids may increase enuresis a.k.a. bedwetting.

Should you be drinking coffee? 

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Coffee is a highly popular beverage around the globe that boasts a number of impressive health benefits that appear to far outweigh the negatives.

A large 2017 review on coffee consumption and human health in the British Medical Journal also found that most of the time, coffee was associated with a benefit, rather than a harm. 

If you enjoy its taste and tolerate its caffeine content, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup or more throughout the day. 

Moderation is key. Sipping coffee in reasonable amounts just might be one of the healthiest things you can do. 

People who consume coffee may simply have better underlying health than people who choose not to, says Peter Rogers, who studies the effects of caffeine on behavior, mood, alertness and attention at the University of Bristol.

However, important to know how much coffee is the optimal amount to drink to get all the benefits and stay away from the negative side effects. 

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The sweet spot is consuming 3-5 cups a day (roughly that is 400 mg of caffeine) and not more than that. 

However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, adolescents 12 to 18 years old should only drink 1 cup of coffee a day.

In addition, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the rules are different. Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than two cups per day.

Check with your obstetrician before adding caffeine into your diet.

The bottom line

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If you are enjoying the drink in moderation, doctors say continue onward, and savor those sips.

But, it's also important to note that, caffeine tolerance is different for everyone.

If you have side effects from coffee, such as heartburn, nervousness or insomnia, consider cutting back.

It's important to listen to your body to know how much caffeine is right for you.

You want to do what makes you feel good if you're sensitive to this beverage.

The amount of caffeine that is safe for you is actually written in your DNA.

You can still get some of the potential health benefits by drinking one cup of coffee a day, or even by drinking decaffeinated coffee. 

About the author 

Richa Jaiswal 

Richa Jaiswal is the Chief Operating Officer at Muselot.

Apart from her flawless management and operational skills, she is an avid learner and loves to educate people with her learnings. 

 

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