This month’s guest contributor is Lily Robinson a Freelance Health Writer -
Coffee has had some bad press over the years but there is growing evidence that coffee is actually good for your health! Coffee, that morning saviour that gets us going and stops us behaving like zombies for the first half of the morning, may really be doing us good as well as saving the day! So what are these health benefits?
To Prevent Depresssion
So do you perk up after your first coffee? There is now scientific proof from a study by the Harvard School of Health that women who regularly drink fully caffeinated coffee are 20% less likely to suffer from depression than non-coffee drinkers. The study, which monitored women over a 10 year period, found that the risk of depression was reduced the more coffee was drunk (up to 6 cups).
To Help in Maintaining a Healthy Weight
It has been known for a long time that caffeine can assist in weight loss. It is a component often found in slimming pills. There are two reasons why caffeine is effective in weight loss. Firstly, caffeine increases the body’s metabolism. Your body will burn calories at a faster rate, which will lead to weight loss. Secondly caffeine also breaks down fat allowing them to be immediately burned by your body. It has been found that fat conversion is up to 30% more efficient when caffeine is taken in before exercise. When the fat is burned, your body retains the glycogen, glucose, and amino acids that were trapped in the fatty tissue. This reduces the occurrence of low blood sugar. By keeping the blood sugar higher for longer periods of time, it reduces the pangs of hunger, which also helps with weight control.
To Stimulate the Brain
Coffee and caffeine have been linked to an increase in mental function and concentration. Scans on the brain have shown that caffeinated coffee stimulates parts of the brain associated with memory, attention and planning. Research has also shown that coffee drinkers are 50% less likely to develop Parkinson’s desease. Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by muscular weakness, tremors, and loss of coordination. It is not known why caffeine helps prevent Parkinson’s but it is believed that it could be attributed to the increase in dopamine produced when coffee is drunk. Moreover in a study from the University of South Florida it found that “moderate daily consumption of caffeinated coffee is the best current option for long-term protection against Alzheimer’s memory loss.” Further those people who also carried out cognitive tasks such as doing a crossword whilst savouring their coffee may be preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s even further.
To Assist in Male Fertility
Although there has been some contradictory evidence, studies have shown that caffeine can have a positive effect on sperm mobility, and therefore its ability to move towards the egg and to fertillise it. So if you are trying for a baby then a cup of coffee may be a required to perk up your sex life.
Helps Prevent Diabetes
Studies have shown that coffee can also prevent diabetes. Australian researchers looked at 18 studies of nearly 458,000 people. They found a 7% drop in the risk of having type 2 diabetes for every additional cup of coffee drunk daily. There were similar risk reductions for decaf coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. So how might coffee keep diabetes at bay? Coffee contains antioxidants, which prevent tissue damage, and minerals such as magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar (glucose). In type 2 diabetes, the body loses its ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively. Lowering the risk of diabetes also lowers the risk of heart failure.
To Reduce the Risk of Cancers
Researchers at Harvard University analyzed data on 67,470 women between the ages of 34 and 59 who were followed for about 26 years. Compared to women who drank little or no coffee, those who averaged four or more cups per day had a 25% lower risk of developing endometrial cancer, and those who drank two or three cups per day had a 7% lower risk.
Drinking coffee may also reduce the risk of the most common type of skin cancer. In a study women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, than those who drank less than one cup a month.
So go ahead enjoy that cup of coffee!
Thank you to Andronicas Coffee for the supporting photo.