The Science behind Coffee and its Health Benefits

Coffee is the world’s most beloved drink and second most traded commodity. From café viennois to Turkish coffee, it manifests differently in every country that co-opts it for its stimulant effects.

But the benefits of coffee don’t stop at caffeine, the psychoactive stimulant which makes it so popular. Used for millennia, coffee is full of ingredients that are good for both mental and physical health. Here’s a breakdown of coffee’s benefits – and why drinking coffee regularly may in fact prolong your life.

Digestion

According to the Mayo Clinic, coffee has higher amounts of soluble dietary fibre than other drinks. Drinking coffee also helps reduce inflammation and bad cholesterol. Because of its stimulant effects, it can raise metabolism, increase the breakdown of fatty acids, and improve physical athletic performance.

Mental health

Coffee also helps lower your risk of depression by as much as 20 per cent, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, meaning that drinking coffee might actually make you happier.

Dental health

Even though coffee has a reputation for staining teeth, coffee consumption can actually help prevent cavities. This is due to coffee’s tannin, a naturally occurring chemical compound that interferes with plaque formation.

Skin health

The flavonoids in caffeine have been shown to protect against the formation of tumours caused by harmful UVB rays. Additionally, it has been shown to reduce acne and potentially treat rosacea by constricting pores and blood vessels.

Longevity

According to a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, coffee drinkers were 10-15 per cent less likely to die throughout the thirteen years the study took place. Besides the effect on long life overall, coffee drinking is also significantly correlated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular, gallstone, Parkinson and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as a reduced risk of cancer and diabetes.

Vitamins and antioxidants

In our Western diet, coffee is our biggest source of antioxidants – more than fruits and vegetables combined. It also has a generous amount of Vitamins B2 and B5, niacin, thiamine, potassium and manganese – all of which your body needs to function healthfully.

Pick a coffee, but not any coffee . . .

There is, however, such thing as too much coffee. In large quantities, caffeine can be toxic. But drinking coffee regularly and not in excess can be beneficial for your health in the short-term and the long-term.

The type of coffee you choose to drink is also an important factor. Instant coffee won’t have the same benefits as a properly brewed espresso, for example, even though spending money at an espresso bar on the high street can negatively impact on your pocketbook. At-home Tassimo espresso machines can give you the benefits of a pure espresso without the high cost.

Posted in: General Health

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