Your favourite brew has more going for it than just flavour and aroma. Recent research has found that coffee, once linked to a higher incidence of cancer, can actually reduce your risk of certain cancers and some neurological diseases.
Coffee’s health benefits come from caffeine as well as the antioxidants and minerals – magnesium and chromium – that it contains.
But coffee is good for you only in moderation. For adults, this means limiting your coffee consumption to four cups a day (about 400mg of caffeine on average); less if you have other caffeinated beverages like tea or cola. Also, you should limit the amount of milk and especially sugar you add to your coffee, since these add calories.
It is also important to limit your consumption of unfiltered coffee – such as in a French Press, or espresso – which some studies have associated with mildly elevated cholesterol levels.
If you suffer from insomnia or gastric issues, you should avoid coffee. Coffee is also not recommended for children below the age of 12. Excessive consumption of coffee can cause sleep problems, nervousness, restlessness, rapid heartbeat and muscle tremors, among other health issues.
The 4 main health benefits of coffee
Coffee has beneficial effects on the brain. Not only does it make you alert, it can reduce your risk of developing depression and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis (MS).
The caffeine in coffee has been found to enhance athletic performance, particularly in endurance sports such as distance running and cycling. It can boost the strength of muscle contraction and offset the physiological and psychological effects of physical exertion.
Drinking coffee can positively affect the levels of insulin and blood sugar in the bloodstream, which can help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee can lower your risk of developing certain cancers, e.g. prostate and liver cancer. Coffee can also protect against liver disease.