1. Protection from Type 2 diabetes

Coffee has over 1,000 chemicals that play a role in its health benefits. The 9 health benefits of drinking coffee include protection from type 2 diabetes, preventing and managing Parkinson's disease, a stronger liver, and other benefits.
Coffee has over 1,000 chemicals that play a role in its health benefits. The 9 health benefits of drinking coffee include protection from type 2 diabetes, preventing and managing Parkinson's disease, a stronger liver, and other benefits.

People have scrutinized coffee’s health benefits for decades. Despite the problems that too much caffeine can cause, coffee can protect your body and help you live a healthier life. 

Coffee has over 1,000 chemicals that play a role in its health benefits. Research hasn't definitively determined which chemicals provide each benefit, but each study shows the trend that coffee protects from several diseases.

Studies show a correlation between drinking black coffee and a lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes. People who regularly drink six cups of coffee every day are 33% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes makes it hard for your body to regulate your blood sugar (glucose) and insulin. Diet and exercise are the most effective prevention against Type 2 diabetes, but coffee can help!

The reason behind this correlation is still unclear. Researchers suspect that the phytochemicals in coffee protect your liver and the beta cells that make insulin. 

Before brewing your pot of coffee, don’t forget to drink it black. The sugar in flavored creamers and sweeteners can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes.

2. Preventing and managing Parkinson’s disease

Coffee and caffeine lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and help manage the symptoms. People who drink two to three cups of coffee every day are between 17% and 24% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system condition most commonly caused by genetics. Your neurons break down until your brain acts abnormally, leading to tremors, stiffness, and slow movements. 

For people with Parkinson’s, coffee and caffeine can slow the development of symptoms. With other treatments, regular coffee drinking can help manage the involuntary movements of Parkinson’s disease.

3. Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Similar to its effects on Parkinson’s disease, coffee seems to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Adults who drink three to five cups of coffee every day lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia later in life by 65%.

Dementia describes symptoms like memory decline and impaired reasoning skills. Damage to the brain’s cells causes dementia. 

Alzheimer’s disease makes up 60% to 80% of dementia cases, but they're not totally interchangeable. 

Coffee’s many health benefits likely play a role in its ability to prevent dementia. Its caffeine, antioxidants, and effect on insulin may contribute to the prevention.

4. A stronger liver

Coffee supports your liver and protects it from a variety of diseases. It’s still unclear how coffee does this, but evidence from many studies points to this benefit.

Researchers believe the micronutrients specific to coffee benefit your liver. Other caffeinated drinks don’t provide the same benefits that coffee does. 

You can’t switch your coffee for energy drinks and expect the same result. Coffee’s unique chemicals provide protection for your liver that other caffeinated drinks don’t. 

People who drink more than two cups of coffee every day have a lower risk of fibrosis/cirrhosis, inflammation, liver cancer, and liver diseases. For example, only two cups of coffee per day lower your chances of liver hepatocellular carcinoma — the most common type of liver cancer — by 38%.

5. A healthy heart

It may sound strange that caffeine and coffee can be good for your heart. But the right amount of black coffee every day can actually protect your heart from several conditions.

Most people see the benefits of coffee from two to three cups. They have a 10% to 15% lower risk for heart disease, heart failure, and arrhythmia. People who drink more or less don’t receive the same benefits.

Of course, too much caffeine can be a problem for your heart. If you feel anxious, jittery, or uncomfortable when drinking coffee, then it may not be beneficial for you.

6. Lower cancer risk

Many studies have investigated the relationship between coffee and cancer. Results varied for different types of cancer.

Generally, regular coffee drinkers are at a lower risk for a variety of cancers, including:

  • Bladder
  • Breast
  • Buccal
  • Pharyngeal
  • Colorectal
  • Endometrial
  • Esophageal
  • Hepatocellular
  • Leukemic
  • Pancreatic
  • Prostate

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects of coffee are significant for cancer prevention. Coffee and caffeine seem to interfere with cancer at all stages of development.

7. A longer life

The combined health benefits of coffee make a substantial difference in your lifespan. Three to five daily cups of coffee provide protective benefits against many diseases, which lowers the risk of death by around 15%.

It’s not an elixir of immortality. But coffee’s combined health benefits lower your chances of dying earlier from cardiovascular disease and many other causes.

8. Mental health boost

For some people, coffee may act as an antidepressant. It can also improve your mood and reduce anxiety.

Statistics about coffee’s effects on mental health vary. One way that coffee may affect your mental health is through the ritualizing of coffee.

Most people drink coffee as part of their morning routine. They may slowly drink it at their breakfast table or stop at their trusted coffee shop on their way to work. This routine benefits mental health.

Rituals like morning coffee reduce anxiety and prepare you for the moments ahead. Combined with coffee’s ability to protect cells and boost attention, coffee can be the perfect part of a morning ritual to improve mental health. 

QUESTION

According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

9. Protection from gallstones

Gallstones are crystalized cholesterol in the gallbladder. They build up, cause pain, and eventually lead to a gallbladder attack.

Researchers speculate that coffee stimulates the gallbladder. It encourages the gallbladder to contract and increase the bile flow to prevent cholesterol from collecting.

The verdict

Coffee may not be for everyone. Some people are more sensitive than others to caffeine or coffee’s acidity.

It’s not a miracle drink — but if you enjoy a regular cup of coffee, you can do so knowing it’s making you a little healthier. 

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Medically Reviewed on 5/27/2022
References
SOURCES:

Alzheimer's Association: "Dementia vs. Alzheimer's Disease: What is the Difference?"

American College of Cardiology: "Good News for Coffee Lovers: Daily Coffee May Benefit the Heart."

Journal of Alzheimer's disease: "Caffeine as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer's disease."

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology: "Coffee and Liver Disease."

Mayo Clinic: "Parkinson's disease," "Type 2 diabetes."

MedlinePlus: "Caffeine."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Gallstones."

Nutrients: "Coffee and Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Arguments for a Causal Relationship," "The Effect of Caffeine on the Risk and Progression of Parkinson's Disease: A Meta-Analysis."

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes: "Don't stop believing: Rituals improve performance by decreasing anxiety."

Rush: "Health Benefits of Coffee."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Appendix E-2.39a Evidence Portfolio: Usual Caffeine Consumption and Health."