Much has been said about the dangers of coffee drinking and it has been blamed for many health problems including heart disease and cancers. Even though the coffee culture is quite accepted in several countries in the world, with 54 percent of American reported to be habitual coffee drinkers, the culture is not as accepted in Nigeria probably due to the fear of the health consequences of taking coffee.
It is important to note that coffee drinking is not as bad as it has been painted to be. Infact, more recent studies such as the one done by the Harvard School of Public Health has found no link between the consumption of coffee and the risk of death from any cause whatsoever, including from cancer. The study shows in particular that drinking as much as six cups in a day does not result in a higher risk of death. Of course, this does not mean coffee drinking does not pose any health risk at all (which food doesn’t?). High consumption of unfiltered coffee can lead to mild increase in cholesterol levels. Other problems are with people that may have a genetic mutation that slows down the process of caffeine breakdown in the body.
Many of the previous studies that linked coffee drinking with heart diseases and cancers have been challenged in the face of recent studies because most of these previous studies did not take into account the high-risk lifestyles of the participants in the studies which were responsible for the health hazards they were faced with and not the coffee.
Since most of the health risks associated with coffee drinking has being debunked, are there health benefits that have been linked with coffee drinking?
Antioxidants are commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Coffee is however another great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are great for your health as they protect your body cells against damage. Black and green teas are also important sources of antioxidants.
Coffee and the Brain
Coffee has been shown to be great for short term recall. In the long term, it has also been found to protect the brain. People who take 3 – 5 cups of coffee everyday were found to be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to those that don’t. Some few studies also show that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to develop dementia. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of depression and Parkinson’s disease.
Coffee and Cancer
Contrary to the belief that coffee causes cancer, the reverse is actually the case. Coffee has been found to be protective against cancers. It significantly reduces the risk liver, oesophageal, pharyngeal and oral cancers.
The Harvard Medical School found that those that regularly drank coffee had a 50 percent lesser chance of developing liver cancer compared to those who don’t drink coffee.
Coffee and Type 2 Diabetes
Different studies have shown a link between coffee drinking and lesser risk for Type 2 Diabetes. One study shows that just a cup of coffee in a day can reduce the risk for diabetes by 7%, while other studies shows that taking as much as 4 cups and above in a day can lessen the risk by as much as 50 %.
Coffee and Death
If you regularly drink coffee, you are less likely to die. In two different studies, coffee drinking was linked with a 20% lesser risk of death in men and 26% lesser risk of death in women with the studies spanning a period of 18 – 24 years. Coffee was also shown to present 30% lesser risk of death among diabetics.
Considering all these benefits, you will agree that the benefits of drinking coffee outweigh the few risks. You must however know that adding sugar and milk to coffee increases the calorie content, so you should do these in moderation.
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