Enjoy Your Habit: Coffee Promoted from Frenemy to Healthful Status

San Diego Coffee

San Diego Coffee

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, avoid processed foods, drink as much water as a camel going into the desert, cut out salt, fat, sugar and basically anything else that makes food taste good – limit your alcohol, trash the soda and definitely quit that coffee habit.

Between them, health care professionals, well meaning family members, plus thousands of bloggers and online nutrition gurus have plenty of stern advice to offer about what to eat and drink to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Much of it is conflicting, some inaccurate and the entire subject is extremely fluid, with even official sources changing their opinions year on year as new research emerges.

It’s no surprise that the average consumer is left vulnerable to confusion and anxiety as they try to pick their way across the nutrition minefield, but at least they can do it sustained by coffee following growing evidence of its many benefits. This is good news indeed for the American population, considering 80% have the habit, drinking an average three cups a day with a total annual spend of $40 billion.

If coffee is a pleasure, drinking it without guilt makes it doubly so. Although there are some cases where people should avoid coffee completely, particularly pregnant women and those with certain heart complaints or a caffeine intolerance, recent scientific research recommends drinking 2-3 cups a day for optimum health benefits. 

How Does Coffee Contribute to Good Health?

It seems that regular consumption of coffee benefits health in various ways, from helping to prevent some diseases to alleviating the symptoms of others. That’s on top of the energy boost coffee provides, and with 65% of all coffee drinks being consumed at breakfast time that’s obviously something many people rely on. While the recommended intake to reap potential rewards differs depending on the issue addressed, there’s no denying that, in moderation, coffee can deliver more than you may have thought possible. 

Gain an Easy Fiber Boost

Although fruit, vegetables and whole grains are important sources of fiber, just one cup of brewed coffee equals between 5 – 10% of the average adult’s recommended daily fiber intake. This is a valuable benefit for those who struggle to get enough roughage though food alone.

Tackle Muscle Pain

A familiar added ingredient in some drugstore pain relievers, caffeine helps reduce soreness in muscles both directly, by reducing inflammation and indirectly, by blocking the brain signals indicating pain. Drinking two cups in close succession is enough for this useful side effect to kick in, and it seems to be equally effective for other types of pain such as headaches. 

Reduce the Risk of Developing Some Chronic Conditions

Lifelong conditions are often life limiting, so it is good to hear that those drinking either standard or decaffeinated coffee regularly are less likely to develop some of them. Current thinking suggests coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s, heart disease [3-5 cups a day], depression (4 cups a day), gout [in men] and multiple sclerosis [4+ cups a day], as well as significantly protecting the liver against cirrhosis. Plus, drinking two or more cups a day makes a second heart attack less likely too.

All This and Vitamins Too

Just one cup of brewed coffee delivers a cocktail of essential vitamin and minerals, including 6% of the vitamin B5, 11% of the riboflavin and 3% of the potassium and manganese doses recommended daily. Drinking several cups a day can really help boost these levels without needing to take supplements. 

Links Between Coffee Drinking and Lower Rates of Some Cancers

It appears that not only does drinking coffee significantly lower the chance of developing several forms of cancer, but that in some cases the best results are seen amongst those who regularly consume more than the average number of cups a day. Currently these figures suggest:

  • 1 -3 cups a day helps prevent liver cancer developing. 
  • 2+ cups cuts the risk of both colon and uterine cancer. 
  • Breast cancer is less likely amongst those with a 3+ cups a day coffee habit. 
  • The magic number is 5+ a day for brain cancer 
  • 6 cups a day helps men reduce their chance of developing cancer of the prostate by 60%.

Benefits for the Eyes and Teeth 

It is the antioxidants in coffee beans which make a useful contribution to good eye health, while black coffee drinkers generally have both fewer cavities and less gum disease than average. Unfortunately for decaf fans, most of this valuable perk is stripped during the decaffeinating process, but one regular coffee delivers more health boosting antioxidants than a glass of juice or a serving of fruit such as raspberries or blueberries. For the maximum benefits, it’s worth learning more about how to roast and grind your own beans at a website such as Coffee Revolution, as this is the best way to guarantee none of the goodness is lost in the manufacturing and storage process. 

Make Your Coffee Even More Healthful

When coffee can be so beneficial, it makes sense to stop using sugar and artificial sweeteners which are packed with corn fructose syrup. It could also be a good idea to quit those fake milk products too; if you can’t face your coffee black add something natural like a little cream instead. For variety and an even bigger antioxidant boost try sprinkling a little cinnamon, honey, or raw cocoa powder into your brew. Plus, experimenting with organic coffee brands is worth a try if you prefer to avoid the pesticides and other chemicals mainstream coffee crops are exposed to.

Although eating a balanced diet, reducing stress and getting enough sleep are all important factors which contribute to a longer, and healthier life, coffee drinkers no longer need to feel their 1-5 cups a day habit is something to treat like a guilty secret, especially if it is doesn’t exceed the daily overall caffeine intake of 400mg a day maximum recommended level.

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