Posts tagged: coffee

The Benefits Of Coffee

The Benefits Of Coffee
Graphic © Background photo – Pixabay (PD).

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world – and it’s easy to see why. It excites our taste buds and gives us the much-needed energy boost to make it through the day. However, there’s more to that luscious mug than meets the eye (or tongue). Coffee (not necessarily the sugar or creamer, though) is in fact loaded with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that do more than keep you alert…

7 Benefits of Coffee Backed by Science

1. Boost Metabolism: Most fat-burning supplements in the market contain caffeine – and for a good reason. The substance has been scientifically demonstrated to boost your metabolic rate and help with weight loss. [1]

2. Protect Liver: Liver cirrhosis is a serious condition in which healthy tissue in the liver is replaced by scar tissue. Different studies in 2001, 2002, and 2006 concluded that ingredients in coffee inhibit the onset of cirrhosis. [2][3][4]

3. Help with Type 2 Diabetes: According to one systematic review in the JAMA medical journal, “habitual coffee consumption is associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes.” [5] This hypothesis is supported by another large cohort review of 457,922 individuals in which a cup of coffee every day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%. [6]

4. Mental Health: Did you know that some peer-reviewed studies claim that coffee reduces the risk of depression by 20% and suicide by 53% respectively? [7][8] Simply put, drink coffee moderately to improve your quality of life.

5. Heart Health: While caffeine increases your heart rate slightly (3-4mm/Hg), credible studies show that it doesn’t increase your risk of cardiovascular problems. [9] In a 2013 study of over 80,000 respondents, the researchers concluded that coffee consumption was “inversely associated with risk of CVD and stroke in general population.” [10]

6. Risk of Cancer: The World Health Organization notes that liver and colorectal cancer are the third and fourth leading causes of death due to cancer. [11] With this in mind, some studies show that ingredients in coffee lower the risk of liver cancer and colorectal cancer by 40% and 15% respectively. [12][13]

7. Fiber Intake: A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, claims that coffee contains high amounts of dietary fiber that can help control sugar levels, cholesterol, improve bowel health. [14]

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.


[1] Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and post-obese human volunteers.

[2] Coffee, caffeine, and the risk of liver cirrhosis.

[3] Does coffee protect against liver cirrhosis?

[4] Coffee, cirrhosis, and transaminase enzymes.

[5] Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review.

[6] Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis.

[7] Coffee, caffeine, and risk of depression among women.

[8] A prospective study of coffee drinking and suicide in women.

[9] Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease in men and women: a prospective cohort study.

[10] The impact of green tea and coffee consumption on the reduced risk of stroke incidence in Japanese population: the Japan public health center-based study cohort.

[11] Cancer

[12] Coffee Consumption and Risk of Liver Cancer: A Meta-Analysis

[13] Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea intakes and risk of colorectal cancer in a large prospective study.

[14] Dietary Fiber in Brewed Coffee

Benefits vs. Negative Effects of Coffee

Benefits Vs Negative Effects Of Coffee
Benefits vs. Negative Effects of Coffee. Graphic © “Effects” illustration – © Gajus – (under license)

According to the National Coffee Association, about 54 percent of Americans older than 18 years old drink coffee every day. They drink an average of 3.1 9-ounce cups each day, with over 40 billion dollars spent on coffee alone each year in the United States! [1] That’s a lot of money on something that isn’t an essential part of our diet… so why do so many people drink coffee in the first place?

The Benefits in Your Cup of Joe

Coffee has been liked to quite a few health benefits in several studies, getting rid of the age-old misconception that coffee drinking is bad for your health.

1 – Caffeine gives the drinker an energy boost. 65 percent of coffee drinkers take the drink during breakfast because of the “pick-me-up” it gives. While caffeine is not only found in coffee but other drinks and food as well, its effects are pretty singular: it stimulates the central nervous system, making us more awake. [2]

2 – Coffee has been proven to reduce the risk for type 2 Diabetes, according to a meta-analysis published in 2014. The study included 28 studies with more than a million participants and close to 50,000 cases of type 2 diabetes. [3]

3 – Two separate studies published in 2011 and 2014 revealed that consumption of caffeinated coffee was able to reduce the risk of gallstones in both men and women respectively. [4][5]

4 – A book published in 2011 detailed the positive effects of drinking coffee, with one published study revealed coffee’s protective effects against liver damage and cirrhosis. [6]

5 – According to a study by Lee and Im in 2013, coffee consumption has neuroprotective effects on the brain, promoting neural integrity and preventing neuroinflammation, which can reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease. [7]

6 – New research has shown that coffee can protect DNA, therefore potentially reducing cancer risk. Full report: Drinking Coffee Could Help Protect Your DNA From Damage, Therefore Reducing Cancer Risk

The Bad News…

Of course, there is a bad to coffee drinking as well. Even with numerous studies revealing how coffee can improve health, there are certain characteristics of caffeine that make coffee intake a health risk instead of a benefit:

1 – While caffeine is found on the list of benefits, it also has negative effects on the body. Too much caffeine intake can cause the nervous system to go into overdrive – that means heart rate and blood pressure that is too high. This can damage the cardiovascular system and can even cause a heart attack or a stroke. This is precisely the reason why avoiding caffeine intake is suggested to people suffering from hypertension or a heart problem. [8]

2 – Because the intake of caffeine can aggravate hypertension, it implies that consumption of caffeine during pregnancy can be dangerous. According to a study in 2011, the higher the caffeine intake during pregnancy, the higher the systolic blood pressure in the first and third trimesters – which is potentially dangerous for both the mother and child as it can worse pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia. [9]

3 – Note that while coffee drinks contain coffee, they often also contain sugar and other ingredients that are potentially not so healthy. So for maximum coffee benefits, skip the syrup and the other stuff that adds flavor and poses a potential risk to health.


[1] National Coffee Drinking Trends 2010 (2010). National Coffee Association.

[2] National Institutes of Health (2015). Caffeine.

[3] Ding, M., et. al. (2014). Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and a Dose-response Meta-analysis.

[4] Banim, J., et. al. (2011). The aetiology of gallstones—caffeinated coffee is associated with a reduction of symptomatic gallstones in men: data from a UK prospective cohort study (EPIC-Norfolk).

[5] Nordenvall, C., Oskarsson, V. & Wolk, A. (2014). Inverse Association Between Coffee Consumption and Risk of Cholecystectomy in Women but Not in Men.

[6] Lee, K., et. al. (2013). Neuroprotective and Anti-inflammatory Properties of a Coffee Component in the MPTP Model of Parkinson’s Disease.

[7] Chu, Y. (2011). Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention (Chapter 7).

[8] Liu, J., et. al. (2013). Association of Coffee Consumption With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality.

[9] Bakker, R. (2011). Maternal Lifestyle and Pregnancy Complications (Chapter 3.4, page 101).*3_maternal_alcohol_consump…/

Infographic info sources:

Coffee by the Numbers

Embedded Image: (public domain source)

Science: Drinking Coffee Could Help Protect Your DNA From Damage, Therefore Reducing Cancer Risk

Drinking Coffee Could Help Protect Your DNA From DamageImage – © Sandra Cunningham –

An amazing new scientific study has indicated that dark roast coffee decreases the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks. Because of this surprising ability of coffee to strengthen DNA, including coffee in the diet implies a potential to reduce cancer risk. This is further great news for coffee drinkers and is the latest in a string of studies demonstrating a myriad of potential health benefits for coffee.

Beyond Caffeine
Despite caffeine being one of the major active components of coffee, it is also rich in other bioactive compounds like vitamin B3, magnesium, potassium, and a variety of phenols – all needed by the body to function normally. [1] Further studies have revealed coffee’s protective effect when it comes to diabetes. [2] The risk for type 2 diabetes was significantly reduced by 7 percent with each cup of coffee. [3] Another study in 2011 revealed that coffee was able to improve the body’s immune response to an allergic reaction by suppressing interleukin-12 (IL-12) and promoting anti-allergic activities. [4]

Coffee and DNA
When DNA is repeatedly exposed to factors like oxidative stress (wherein free radicals circulate in the body, damaging tissue and potentially DNA), it becomes damaged and ceases to function normally. Damaged DNA increases the risk of cancer, characterized by the rapid growth and multiplication of abnormal cells. In a healthy cell, DNA that is damaged is repaired or the cell dies. In a cancerous cell, the damaged DNA is not repaired, instead the cell replicates with the damaged DNA over and over again. [5]

According to the study by Bakuradze, et. al. (2014), coffee was able to improve the health of DNA strands (in white blood cells) in the human body. Reportedly, coffee decreases oxidative damage in white blood cells, part of the immune system responsible for fighting infection. In the study, 84 male respondents were instruction to consume dark roast coffee every day for four weeks. The blend of coffee used in the study contained high levels of caffeoylquinic acid and N-methylpyridinium. Another group was instruction to drink the same amount of water daily. [6]

After four weeks, the control group (water intake) exhibited an increase in DNA strand breakage. On the other hand, DNA breakage in the intervention group (coffee intake) was significantly decreased – by 27 percent to be exact! There were no diet differences between the two groups, nor were there any changes in weight – which meant that the improvement in DNA health could be attributed to the intake of coffee. [6]

Further studies will of course be required in order to verify the findings and further understand their mechanism of action. In the meantime, it seems that a cup of coffee is a most excellent way to start the day. Because of its caffeine content, it is quite adept at boosting energy levels – perfect for people looking for a pick-me-up during breakfast. But note that caffeine is also known to increase blood pressure levels – something that should be avoided if you are at risk for or have been diagnosed with hypertension.

While the general consensus is that more research is needed to overturn the commonly-held misconception that “coffee is unhealthy”, it cannot be denied that coffee can have positive effects on human health. As for the various kinds of sweeteners and milks that you might add to your beverage… well, that’s a different story altogether…


[1] Cano-Marquina, A., Tarin, J. & Cano, A. (2014) The impact of coffee on health.

[2] van Dam, R.M. & Hu, F.B. (2005). Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review.

[3] Huxley, R., et al. (2009). Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis.

[4] Goto, M., Takano-Ishikawa, Y. & Shinmoto, H. (2011). An in vitro effect of coffee on the antigen-specific immune responses of naïve splenocytes.

[5] American Cancer Society (2014). What is Cancer?

[6] Bakuradze, T., et. al. (2014). Consumption of a dark roast coffee decreases the level of spontaneous DNA strand breaks: a randomized controlled trial.