The average American drinks nearly 600 cups of coffee per year but the United States ranks only 25th in the world for coffee consumption. As it turns out, moderate to heavy coffee consumption may help prevent disease. Here are 8 health benefits of coffee:
Skin Cancer Prevention
Research from the American Association for Cancer Research has connected coffee with the prevention of basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer in the world. A study conducted at Harvard Medical School showed that women who drank three or more cups per day had a 20% lower chance of developing skin cancer. Men had a reduced risk of 9%.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that drinking just 1 to 3 cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of prostate cancer by as much as 30%. Another study, conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health found that drinking six cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of a dangerous type of prostate cancer by 60% and other forms by 20%.
Coffee consumption has been known to help protect the liver from cirrhosis and related forms of cancer. According to a professor at the Harvard School for Public Health, the evidence for cancer prevention in the liver is very promising and consistent from study to study.
Type 2 Diabetes
Minerals like magnesium and chromium, found in coffee, help the body use insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels effectively. According to a review of studies published in Archives of Internal Medicine, coffee consumption can help lower the risk of type two diabetes. The 18 studies involved 450,000 people. For each additional cup of coffee consumed per day, the risk was lowered by 7%. Another study involving 193,000 people showed a reduction of risk of 35% in people drinking 6 or 7 cups of coffee per day.
Drinking coffee is often associated with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted in Finland and Sweden of 1,400 people over 20 years found that those who drank 3 to 5 cups per day were 65% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A lab study involving mice found that an unknown substance in coffee interacted closely with caffeine to boost GCSF, a growth factor known to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
A review of studies published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease looked at 26 studies involving 125,000 people. The conclusion found that drinking two or three cups of coffee per day could lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 25%. It also suggested that drinking a few cups of coffee per day had “optimal effects” on Parkinson’s patients.
The caffeine in coffee can offer a strong, temporary boost in a person’s energy level and alertness. However, increased consumption of caffeinated beverages can alter a person’s tolerance to caffeine, meaning more coffee is needed to produce the same boost in energy. Too much caffeine can be a risk to one’s health and coffee taken for energy should be taken in moderation.
Studies have found that women who drink at least two cups of coffee per day may be less likely to develop severe depression than those that drink coffee moderately or not at all. A study at the Harvard Medical School spanning one decade and involving 2,600 women showed that woman who drank four or more cups per day had a 20% lower risk of developing depression.