Let’s face it. Most of us are bleary-eyed, stumbling about with feet dragging when we first wake up in the morning. Yet, when that delightfully rich, and oh so tantalizing coffee aroma tickles our nostrils we schlep, yawning and stretching in its direction. Not only is the smell of coffee a great eye-opener, recent studies show that consuming up to three 8-ounce cups of coffee a day has proven health benefits. Let’s take a look at a few.
1. Helps fight disease. Caffeine may help protect our brain cells from damage that causes Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Also, the antioxidants in coffee could, actually, help prevent liver disease.
2. Gives the brain a boost. Coffee keeps you alert when you may otherwise feel drowsy. Try drinking a cup before an exam or if you have a long drive to sharpen your memory and to stay alert.
3. It helps you lose weight. Caffeine consumption can speed up metabolism and the fat-burning process, which also helps lower the risk of obesity. It is also one of the lowest-calorie drinks you can choose.
4. Lowers risk of diabetes. Drinking just one cup of coffee a day – caffeinated or decaf – can decrease the risk of developing diabetes by 13%. But at 12 cups a day, the risk of getting diabetes is slashed by 67%. While these are staggering results, you should consult your doctor before taking the 12-cup a day challenge and always consume caffeine in moderation.
5. Coffee may help with depression. People who consume four or more cups of coffee a day are 10% less likely to be depressed than someone who doesn’t drink coffee at all, says a joint study from the National Institutes of Health and the AARP. Strangely the same benefits are not found in other caffeinated beverages, such as colas whose consumers are linked to a higher risk for depression. Since studies show that black coffee has the highest benefits, perhaps it is the high sugar content in cola that places its consumers at such a high risk for depression.
6. It might be good for your liver. Studies suggest that caffeine helps the liver regulate itself. A person’s risk of developing primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), (a rare autoimmune disease that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and even cancer.), with regular coffee consumption, is reduced, says research this month by the Mayo Clinic. Also, a separate 22-year study of 125K people discovered that those who drank at least one cup of coffee a day were 20% less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis.
With its brain and metabolism-boosting power as well as its disease and disorder fighting properties coffee may be just the super-juice you need with your daily morning meal. When you say you need your morning, you now have a whole new (and beneficial) set of reasons to place behind that statement.
Remember if you suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety, or have an overactive thyroid you may want to check with your doctor before drinking coffee. In addition, if you have trouble sleeping it’s best to avoid caffeine consumption at least 4 hours before bedtime.