Over half of American adults enjoy a daily cup of coffee. For many, the caffeinated variety is a much-needed a.m. pick-me-up. Others simply enjoy the rich, satisfying flavor as an after dinner drink.
Coffee-drinkers have received mixed messages over the years about the healthfulness of this beloved beverage, but the most recent research suggests the benefits probably outweigh potential risks for most people.
In fact, coffee consumption has been linked to some pretty impressive health benefits over the past few years!
- A 2009 study linked coffee consumption to a significantly decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- A 2010 study found an inverse relationship between caffeine consumption (via coffee) and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
- Animal studies also suggest a role for caffeinated coffee in mitigating against Alzheimer’s disease.
- A 2011 study showed a 3 percent reduction in the risk of developing 10 different types of cancer with each cup of coffee consumed per day!
- In particular, regular coffee consumption is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer – the effects are seen with both regular and decaf!
- Coffee has also been linked with a decreased risk of liver cancer.
- Depression risk among women decreases with an increase in caffeinated coffee consumption.
In addition to its cancer- and other disease-fighting properties, coffee is also high in antioxidants. Interestingly, the caffeine found in coffee, in particular, has been identified as a good scavenger of free radicals (i.e. a powerful antioxidant).
A 2005 study even found that coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the American diet! But that probably speaks more to a dearth of fruit and vegetable consumption than the superpowers of coffee.
Takeaways: Coffee has some pretty impressive health benefits, and the research is still young! A cup or two a day is probably all you need to reap many of the benefits, though, so no need to over-do it.
And don’t fret if you prefer decaf. You can still get plenty of coffee’s health-promoting effects without the caffeine buzz.
Tips and Recipes:
Even if you’re not a big coffee-drinker you can still enjoy some of its health benefits (and delicious flavor) by including it in popsicles, energy bars, ice cream recipes, and even home-made beauty products! Here are a few of our favorite coffee recipes:
- Homemade Chocolate Coffee Face Mask
- Vegan Mocha Fudge — Guilt-Free!
- Mocha Frappuchino (a.k.a) Frapp-pops
- Mocha Chip Larabar
- Vegan Mocha Pops
- Gluten Free Mocha Ice Cream Sandwiches
Got a delicious coffee recipe? Share it with us!
Concerned about the human and environmental impacts of coffee? You’re not alone. There are now several programs in place to protect animals, farmers and other workers, and the environment.
The 3 main certifications to look for are Rainforest Alliance, Organic, and Fair Trade, but there are also other programs making important strides for human and environmental health. For more information about coffee certification programs, check out this comprehensive guide from the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Image Credit: puuikibeach/Flickr