From lessening inflammation to improving focus, several health benefits come with drinking coffee. Did you know that before? Here is what dietitians and nutritionists say about the proofs.

A cup of coffee on saucer beside a laptop

If you have a habit of drinking coffee then here is the good news for you. It may actually be a good thing so no need to feel awkward when your friends look at you weirdly for reaching for a third cup of coffee.


Indeed, coffee once had a reputation for not being good for you. Even in the early ’90sthe International Agency for Research on Cancer named it as a possible carcinogen. Yet here is what Shahzadi Devje, RD, a certified diabetes educator in Toronto, Canada, says, “However, the past 25 years have yielded better-quality data and expanded our understanding of coffee’s impact on health.” She continues, “And the case for coffee is stronger than ever!” That’s for sure. Melissa Nieves, RD, who is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico says, “There’s no conclusive evidence that supports the belief that coffee is bad.”


Though one thing that you need to keep in mind is, we are totally speaking about coffee itself.  Ginger Hultin, RD, a Seattle-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says, “The benefits studied are generally from the coffee.” She adds, “So if you drink coffee with added sugar or high-fat cream products, those additions may negate the health benefits.”


Balance and moderation are what dietary habits are all about. So, if you like to sprinkle just a bit of sugar and that’s also your only source of added sugar for the day, and then it’s okay. But you may want to know that a pinch of cinnamon in your coffee is the sweetness you need.


Now let’s talk about the health benefits.


Dana Angelo White, RD, a certified athletic trainer in Fairfield, Connecticut says, “Coffee is one of the most plentiful and consistent sources of cell-protecting antioxidants since many people consume it daily.” According to a 2014 study in Antioxidants, coffee surely is one of the major sources of antioxidants. Nieves adds, “A humble cup of Joe is a very complex substance, containing more than 1,000 compounds with high-antioxidant capacity.”


When it comes to antioxidants, Nieves interprets, “Both regular and decaf coffee have similar amounts.” What about decaf? She tells, “However, it seems that the caffeine extraction process may somewhat reduce the amounts of phenolic acids and antioxidant capacity in decaf coffee.”

In short, if compare to decaf, regular coffee may provide more health benefits, but decaf coffee still contains some health perks.


Taking antioxidants regularly may help lessen inflammation. That’s a significant benefit. Devje says, “Most of the reported health benefits of coffee bank on the premise that coffee may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that, over time, may reduce inflammation.” You might be thinking what reducing inflammation accomplishes? There is a possibility of it diminishing your risk of chronic disease eventually. According to a 2017 study in the Annual Review of Nutrition, consumption of coffee was linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease between distinct conditions.


While referring to the earlier specified Annual Review of Nutrition study, Devje says, “Observational studies have linked coffee consumption with a probable decreased risk of breast, colorectal, colon, endometrial, and prostate cancers.” Drinking 4-5 cups of coffee per day was linked with a lower risk of generating some cancers but Devje warns, “Keep in mind that the data is observational in nature, and we cannot assume a cause and effect relationship.”


Some research implies that drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of depression.  Jeni Hollifield, RDN at Healthy Grocery Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado writes, “A large longitudinal Harvard study with more than 50,000 women found that women drinking moderate amounts [of coffee] had a lowered risk of depression.” According to a study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, women who downed 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of depression as compared to the women who took 1 or fewer cups every week. However, in the study, drinking decaf coffee wasn’t linked with a lowered risk of depression.


Here’s good news for people with a family history of heart health problems, that possessing a coffee habit may reduce your risk of heart disease. A review study in Circulation discovered the greatest benefit to settle at 3 to 5 cups of coffee every day. The risk of other types of heart problems can also be lessened by drinking coffee. Nieves says, “The American Heart Association observed that drinking coffee was associated with decreased risk of developing heart failure by 7% and stroke by 8% with every additional cup of coffee consumed per week when compared with non-coffee drinkers.”


And certainly, drinking coffee may help lessen the risk of atrial fibrillation which the American Heart Association data may start to blow. According to a 2018 study in the JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology taking up to 300 milligrams per day regularly may be guarding against heart rhythm disorders.


According to Devje, “Caffeine improves performance on simple and complex attention tasks, as well as alertness.” A short March 2020 study in Consciousness and Cognition discovered that sipping coffee may enhance your focus, but not your creativity. In the study, the researchers delivered a 200-milligram caffeine pill (one cup of coffee) or a placebo to a small collection of 80 people. When they analyzed the impact of caffeine on idea-generation, working memory, problem-solving, and mood, the researchers observed that caffeine improved their skills of problem-solving.


That’s true! Coffee can help you win the race. According to Angelo White, “Caffeine has the power to enhance athletic performance and aid in muscle recovery post-workout.” She says, “Coffee is a good vehicle for safe doses of caffeine, as many supplements containing the stimulant aren’t properly regulated and often have inaccurate labeling. Plus, the amount of caffeine found in a typical medium-sized coffee has been found to be effective.”


The U.S. Food & Drug Administration suggests limiting consumption at 400 milligrams of caffeine every day, which usually equalizes to three to five cups. Hultin says, “Many studies indicate that this moderate consumption is the limit where they see benefits.” Also, according to the March of Dimes, pregnant women should restrict consumption to not more than 200 milligrams a day.


But you still need to watch thought because some restaurant coffees contain more caffeine than the usual cup. The Caffeine Informer reports that even an 8-ounce tall Starbucks Reserve Roast has 190 milligrams of caffeine, while that quantity nearly equals the regular limit if you go for a 16-ounce grande.


And the extra amount of caffeine can generate other issues. Hollifield says, “More than five cups of coffee a day has been shown to cause problems due to caffeine intake.” She adds, “Consuming too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, rapid heart rate, upset stomach, and even high blood pressure. Caffeine affects all people differently depending on your genetic make-up and how your body metabolizes the caffeine.”

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