9 science-based health benefits of coffee

Coffee is a beloved beverage known for its ability to sharpen your focus and boost your energy levels.

In fact, many people depend on their daily cup of coffee as soon as they wake up to start their day off right.

Along with its energizing effects, coffee has been linked to a long list of potential health benefits, giving you all the more reason to brew.

This article takes an in-depth look at 9 of the top evidence-based benefits of coffee.

Coffee contains caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant that is known for its ability to fight fatigue and boost energy levels (1).

This is because caffeine blocks receptors for a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which increases levels of other neurotransmitters in your brain that regulate your energy levels, including dopamine (2, 3).

A small study found that caffeine consumption increased time to exhaustion during cycling exercise by 12% and significantly reduced subjective levels of fatigue in participants (4).

Another study had similar results, reporting that consuming caffeine before and during a round of golf improved performance, increased subjective energy levels, and reduced feelings of fatigue (5).

Summary

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that increases energy levels and decreases fatigue by altering the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Some research suggests that regular coffee consumption may be associated with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the long term.

In fact, a review of 30 studies found that every cup of coffee consumed per day was associated with a 6% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes (6).

This is thought to be due to coffee’s ability to preserve the function of beta cells in your pancreas, which are responsible for producing insulin to regulate blood sugar levels (seven).

Plus, it’s high in antioxidants and may affect insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and metabolism, all of which are implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes (8).

Summary

Regular coffee consumption may be linked to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the long term.

Although studies have shown mixed results, some research suggests that coffee may help protect against certain neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

According to a review of 13 studies, people who regularly consumed caffeine had a significantly lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, caffeine consumption also slowed the progression of Parkinson’s disease over time (9).

Another review of 11 observational studies involving more than 29,000 people also found that the more coffee people consumed, the lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease (ten).

Additionally, several studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption may be associated with a lower risk of dementia and cognitive decline (11, 12).

Summary

Some research suggests that drinking coffee may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cognitive decline.

Some research suggests that coffee may alter fat storage and support gut health, which may benefit weight management (13).

For example, a review of 12 studies concluded that higher coffee consumption may be associated with lower body fat, particularly in men (14).

In another study, increased coffee consumption was linked to lower body fat in women (15).

Additionally, one study found that people who drank one to two cups of coffee per day were 17% more likely to achieve recommended levels of physical activity, compared to those who drank less than one cup per day (16).

Higher levels of physical activity may support weight management (16).

Summary

Coffee may help support weight management and may be linked to lower body fat. A study also found that people who drank coffee were more likely to be physically active.

Some studies have shown that coffee consumption may be associated with a lower risk of depression.

According to a review of seven studies, each cup of coffee consumed per day was associated with an 8% lower risk of depression (17).

Another study found that drinking four or more cups of coffee per day was associated with a significantly lower risk of depression, compared to drinking just one cup per day (18).

Additionally, a study of more than 200,000 people showed that drinking coffee was linked to a lower risk of death from suicide (19).

Summary

Several studies have shown that coffee may be linked to a lower risk of depression and may even be linked to a lower risk of death by suicide.

Interestingly, several studies suggest that coffee may promote liver health and protect against disease.

For example, one study found that drinking more than two cups of coffee a day was linked to lower rates of liver scarring and liver cancer in people with liver disease (20).

Other research shows that the more coffee people drink, the lower their risk of death from chronic liver disease. Drinking one cup of coffee a day was linked to a 15% lower risk, while drinking four cups a day was linked to a 71% lower risk (21).

Another recent study found that coffee consumption was associated with decreased liver stiffness, a measure used by healthcare professionals to assess fibrosis, the formation of scar tissue in the liver (22).

Summary

Coffee consumption may be linked to a decreased risk of death from chronic liver disease, as well as other conditions, such as liver scarring and liver cancer.

Some research shows that drinking coffee may benefit heart health.

In fact, one study found that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day was linked to a 15% reduced risk of heart disease (23).

Another review of 21 studies showed that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day was associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke (24).

Additionally, a study in over 21,000 people also found that increased coffee consumption was associated with a significantly decreased risk of heart failure (25).

However, keep in mind that caffeine can affect blood pressure levels. Therefore, people with uncontrolled blood pressure may need to limit or moderate their caffeine intake (23, 26).

Summary

Some research shows that drinking coffee may be linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.

Some research suggests that coffee may help extend longevity, thanks to its multitude of potential health benefits.

For example, a review of 40 studies found that drinking two to four cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower risk of death, independent of factors such as age, weight, and alcohol consumption (27).

Similarly, another study in 1,567 people found that drinking caffeinated coffee was linked to a lower risk of death after 12 and 18 years of follow-up. Additionally, drinking at least one cup of coffee per day was also associated with a lower risk of death from cancer (28).

Interestingly, a test-tube study showed that coffee was able to significantly extend the lifespan of yeast by protecting against free radicals and DNA damage (29).

However, more research is needed to determine if this could apply to humans as well.

Summary

Coffee might be associated with a lower risk of death, independent of other factors, such as age, weight or alcohol consumption. Still, more research is needed.

Coffee is often used as an ergogenic aid by athletes looking to improve performance and increase energy levels (30).

An ergogenic aid is also called a performance enhancer.

A review of nine studies reported that drinking coffee before exercise improved people’s endurance and lowered their perceived exertion, compared to a control group (31).

Another study in 126 older adults found that coffee consumption was associated with improved exercise performance and faster walking speed, even after researchers adjusted for factors such as age, body fat, belly and physical activity levels (32).

Additionally, a large review reported that moderate caffeine consumption may slightly improve power output and time trial run time. However, the results varied, so the researchers also noted that caffeine may affect people differently (33).

Summary

Coffee could improve physical performance and endurance when consumed before exercise. However, some studies have shown mixed results.

Coffee is a popular beverage that researchers have studied extensively for its many health benefits, including its ability to boost energy levels, aid weight management, improve athletic performance, and protect against chronic disease. .

Keep in mind that some people may need to limit their intake, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, children and adolescents, and people with certain health conditions (34).

Still, drinking coffee in moderation — around three to four cups a day — has been linked to several health benefits and is generally considered safe for most adults (35).

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