Most of us start our day with a cup of hot coffee, but few realise the health benefits coffee provides.
Some may think that coffee is unhealthy, but multiple studies have shown that coffee has many positive impacts on overall health. Moderate coffee consumption is compatible with a bone-healthy diet.
Let’s have a look at five evidence-backed health benefits of coffee consumption.
A study of 1,761 premenopausal Korean women’s dietary habits and bone mineral density, found that coffee consumption showed no significant association with BMD. However, the limited age range of the study leaves room for question.
A much more comprehensive Swedish study followed 61,433 women for 20 years and compared their coffee consumption to their bone mass and fracture risk. The researchers found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day typically had 2%-4% lower bone density than women who drank less coffee.
While the study didn’t find any association with fracture risk, loss of bone density is reason enough to limit coffee consumption to less than four cups a day.
Coffee is acidifying, but it can be part of a bone-healthy diet when consumed alongside alkalising foods and avoiding acidifying sweeteners and creamers.
Drinking coffee in moderation and balanced with alkalising foods has been shown to boost certain health parameters.
1. Coffee Offers Protection From Parkinson’s
A study analyzing 30 years of data on the health and dietary habits of 8004 Japanese-American men has found an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The more coffee participants consumed, the lower their chance of developing the disease.
The researchers linked the effect to the caffeine in coffee. Participants who drank decaffeinated coffee were not any less likely to develop PD, but people who got caffeine from another source had reduced risk.
Participants who drank the most coffee (more than 4 cups per day) saw as much as a 60% reduced chance of PD. Fortunately, the effects are scalable, so you can drink a bone-safe quantity of coffee (less than four cups daily) and still see significant reductions in Parkinson’s risk.
2. Coffee Drinkers Live Longer
A 2008 study with more than 100,000 participants examined the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality. Researchers found that coffee consumption coincided with as much as a 20% reduced risk of death. More simply put, coffee drinkers tend to live longer.
The study results uncovered an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and mortality risk. The scientists attributed this overall trend to a reduced risk for CVD (cardiovascular disease) mortality that was independent of caffeine intake.
While the study didn’t examine the reasons for this association, the pattern was clear, and this is one benefit that you can get from decaf or regular caffeinated coffee.
3. Coffee Lowers Risk Of Depression
More than 60,000 women in the United States participated in a study on the relationship between caffeine, coffee, and depression risk. Over the course of 20 years, the participants’ coffee consumption was compared to their incidence of clinical depression.
While decaffeinated coffee showed no association to depression risk, caffeinated coffee consumption had an inverse relationship to depression. The more coffee a participant consumed, the less likely she was to experience depression.
Researchers observed the lowest risk of depression among women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day. However, we also know that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day leads to bone loss.
Fortunately, moderate coffee-drinking also reduces depression risk, provided the coffee is caffeinated. So you can reap this benefit without risking bone loss.
4. Coffee Prevents Neurodegenerative Diseases
In 2010 a group of researchers gathered data from four studies on the relationship between coffee consumption and cognitive decline. The studies they examined were different in methodology and results, but their combined conclusion was clear: the caffeine in coffee has a neuroprotective effect.
That means that coffee drinkers are less likely to experience cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Participants in these studies were as much as 65% less likely to develop these neurodegenerative conditions, because of the benefits of coffee.
Much like the other studies, this inverse relationship was seen across consumption levels. So drinking coffee in moderation still benefits your neurological health.
5. Coffee Improves Physical Performance
The results of several studies reveal that the caffeine in coffee can dramatically improve your body’s physical performance.
Caffeine’s stimulatory effect on the nervous system signals fat cells to break down in the body, which makes fatty acids available for fuel. This action had shown caffeine, in coffee or from other sources, to improve performance on exercise tests, increasing endurance and allowing participants to exercise longer before they reached exhaustion.
Exercise is essential for general health and for building strong bones, so coffee’s ability to increase the intensity and duration of exercise has positive implications. These studies make clear that you should use coffee’s “get up and go” boost to get up and go exercise!