I'm sure a lot of coffee lovers have had someone tell them "You should cut down on your coffee, it's not good for you!" at some point in their life. Yes, it's true that there are many side effects to coffee if you've been drinking about 10 cups a day, but if you drink within moderation, coffee actually brings you many benefits!
The optimum amount of caffeine to consume per day is 300-400mg, which is equivalent to about 4 cups (8-ounce cups) of coffee per day. So try to stick to less than 5 cups of coffee a day to get the most out of your coffee!
1. Protects against type 2 diabetes
Based on research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) participants of their study who increased their coffee intake by more than 1 cup a day over a 4-year period had an 11% lower type 2 diabetes risk over the subsequent 4 years, compared with people who didn't change their intake.
UCLA also found out that coffee consumption increases plasma levels of a protein called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) which regulates biological activity of the body's sex hormones, and plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Higher levels of SHBG in the blood reflect a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which means drinking about 4 cups of coffee a day will significantly lower the risk of you developing type 2 diabetes.
2. Helps prevent Alzheimer's disease
Medical Daily reported that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's by 20%! This is thanks to the antioxidants found in coffee which prevent the formation of a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. They also reduce inflammation and deterioration of brain cells, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for memory.
3. May lower risk of liver cancer
Studies suggest that people who drink coffee every day have a lower risk of liver cancer compared to those who only indulge in coffee occasionally. Scientists from the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF) have also found that people who regularly drink alcohol are able to lower their risk of liver cancer by supplementing with high levels of coffee consumption every day. So if you are someone who's very fond of your alcohol, coffee should be your next best friend ;)
4. May be good for the heart
New studies show that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day will help to reduce the risk of developing clogged arteries, which in turn might reduce the risk of having a heart attack. This is because there is a strong association between coffee and reduced calcium build-up in the arteries. Just make sure you don't negate the perks by pouring lots of sugar or sweeteners into your coffee!
5. Can improve your ability to learn
Caffeine is shown to temporarily increase your comprehension, memory, reflexes and clarity of thought. Caffeine is not only a brain stimulant, it also blocks receptors for a chemical called adenosine, which normally prevents the release of excitatory brain chemicals. Now that adenosine can't block them, the brain-sparking chemicals flow more freely to give you a surge of energy and potentially improve mental performance besides slowing age-related mental decline.
6. Can help you burn fat
Caffeine is 1 of the very few natural substances that have actually been proven to aid fat burning. Several studies show that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3-11% by promoting better blood circulation. It can also increase the burning of fat by as much as 10% on obese people and 29% in lean people by giving you an energy boost. But remember that coffee has to be combined with exercise if you're trying to lose weight! So a good idea would be to drink coffee 20-30 minutes before you start to exercise, to maximise the fat burning effect.
7. Can improve physical performance
Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels and release fatty acids from the fat tissues. This happens because caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which sends signals to the fat cells to tell them to break down fat. Given these effects, caffeine can improve physical performance by 11-12% on average. For athletes who choose to use caffeine, you should ingest caffeine 3-4 hours before a competition because the maximum caffeine effect on fat stores appears to occur several hours after peak blood levels.
8. Helps prevent cavities
This is only applicable to black coffee, as sugar or milk negates this benefit. Brazilian scientists have found that a certain type of coffee bean has an anti-bacterial property which help keep you teeth healthy if drunk in moderation by breaking down bacterial biofilms which cause dental plaques. This specific coffee is extracted from Coffea canephora, which is a bean that makes up 30% of the world's coffee.
9. Big source of antioxidants
Some researchers argue that in a Western diet, coffee may actually provide more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables combined. The antioxidants in coffee have potential to fight obesity, help protect retinas and eyes, prevent forms of dementia, and also prevent chronic diseases. Indulging in about 3-5 cups of coffee a day will provide you with 60% of your average daily antioxidant intake!
10. Can make you happier
Caffeine stimulates the release of dopamine, which produces the euphoric and pleasant feelings you get when you have your morning dose of coffee. In fact, this mimics the feeling you get from ingesting drugs like cocaine and marijuana, because it produces the same reaction, just with a milder effect. So, yes, it is possible to be addicted to coffee, but let's be happy addicts :D
In summary, coffee is good for your heart and liver, besides helping to prevent diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. It also helps you lose weight, enhances your physical performance, and makes you happy!
Do remember that all these benefits are only achieved when you consume coffee in moderate amounts! So keep your daily coffee routine, just limit them to 4 times a day, and you'll get more pros than cons!