7 Positive Things You Didn’t Know About Coffee
Get ready to brew a fresh pot
It smells so good in the morning and can fix a funky mood in mere minutes. Yup, coffee just might be a miracle in a mug. And while new benefits seem to be emerging almost every week, old beliefs are being swatted away just as quickly.
Pour yourself another cup and check out this roundup of interesting coffee research.
1. It may not set your heart aflutter. A recent report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found drinking caffeinated beverages, including coffee and tea, doesn’t seem to contribute to heart palpitations, fluttering and other irregular rhythms as experts once thought.
Related: What’s Your Coffee IQ?
“The next step is more and better research,” says lead author Gregory Marcus, MD, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who’s currently working on a related heart study.
2. More may be okay. Experts who studied coffee’s effects as part of the research that went into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans said they could find no evidence of harm in healthy adults drinking three to five cups of coffee a day. The panel wrote, “Strong and consistent evidence shows that consumption of coffee within the moderate range…is not associated with increased risk of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer and premature death in healthy adults.”
3. It could help keep the blues at bay. Depression is serious — but a coffee habit could help you avoid it. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed three large U.S. studies and determined the risk of suicide was almost 50 percent less for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated java a day, compared with those who drank little or no caffeinated coffee. The reason? Caffeine not only stimulates the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of certain brain chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine.
Related: How Much Coffee Is Too Much?
4. It fights diabetes and skin cancer. The Harvard School of Public Health tracked nearly 90,000 women and found that moderate coffee drinking — either decaf or regular — was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. A study published in The Journal of Cancer Research noted that drinking caffeinated coffee is associated with a lower risk of basal cell carcinoma.
5. It’s good for your liver. This finding is no excuse to drink alcohol to excess, but new research has shown drinking a couple of extra cups of coffee a day is linked to a drop in the risk of developing cirrhosis, a type of liver disease brought on by too much alcohol. British researchers analyzed previous studies and found the more coffee a person consumes, the stronger the protective effect. Risk of cirrhosis was reduced 43 percent with two more cups a day, 57 percent with three and a whopping 65 percent with four.
6. It could stave off dementia. Who knows why — it might be the caffeine, the antioxidants or coffee’s beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity — but drinking three to five cups a day in middle age could decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia later in life according to one study.
7. You might live a little longer if you drink it. Who can’t get behind this one? Harvard researchers studied health and dietary data on more than 200,000 men and women and found that those who enjoyed three to five cups a day were 15 percent less likely to die early. And for this particular finding, caffeine wasn’t a factor — decaf had the same protective properties.
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