Coffee and Your Health

Although long blamed for a variety of health problems from decreased stature to heart disease and cancer, coffee may just be a better choice than you ever imagined. In the past, researchers linked high consumption slightly higher cholesterol levels and may increase the risk of heart disease in people with certain genetic mutations. However, recent studies have now linked the popular morning drink with better overall health and decreased mortality rates. Regular drinkers enjoy a 23 to 50 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, a 30 to 60 percent decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease and an 80 percent lower risk of liver disease. It also has mood-boosting effects that offer protection from depression.

Your morning cup of joe may give you a much-needed burst of energy before work, but it also includes a powerful jolt of polyphenol antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and bioflavonoids that can help slow cognitive decline and promote general well-being. In fact, these little aromatic beans contain more antioxidants than either blueberries or pomegranates, both known as superfoods. Some studies have linked the green coffee bean, or the unroasted berry, with weight loss due to the fat-burning chlorogenic acid it contains. This polyphenol is lost when the beans are processed, so you may not get the same benefits from your usual drink. However, caffeine in roasted versions may still be able to increase your base metabolic rate by as much as 10 percent and increase your athletic performance.

A daily mug of your favorite brew can be a great choice. However, as with most other things, it is best enjoyed in moderation. More than five cups a day can be associated with poor sleep habits, heart palpitations and anxiety. Many coffee beverages are available, so choose wisely to maximize the benefits. Avoid flavored cappuccinos and creamy frozen versions, which tend to be high in fat and sugar. Instead, sip yours black or consider trying one with alternative sweeteners and a dollop of coconut oil or splash of skim milk instead of cream.