Americans love coffee. About 62 percent of us consume coffee on a daily basis. In his book “The ‘Latte Revolution’?” Stefano Ponte wrote that the world as a whole drinks over 2.25 billion cups of coffee every single day.
Despite being such an integral staple in the global beverage market, though, there’s still plenty of misinformation out there about coffee consumption and the effects of coffee on our health. Some believe it does more harm than good — but according to studies, we may actually be right about drinking all that coffee every day!
So how, exactly, does coffee affect your body? And more importantly, what does the science say?
1. Caffeine Ignites Your Brain
Many Americans go far beyond the standard 40-hour work week, and for the majority of adults, the day doesn’t stop when you clock out. From the commute home to household chores and families to take care of, there are all kinds of responsibilities that make it tough to stay alert.
Caffeine can help by igniting receptors in your brain that get you moving and help you stay alert. So drink a cup and say goodbye to sleep-deprivation-induced cobwebs by the time you reach the bottom of your cup.
Think you’d rather grab a soda or an energy drink to jump-start your morning? It’s worth considering that with the added chemicals and significantly higher sugar (or sugar substitute) content, those drinks, when compared to a basic cup of coffee, are bad news to your waistline.
2. It’s Good for your Heart
Individuals with caffeine sensitivity should always consult a doctor before splurging and downing a few cups of Joe, but for the majority of the population coffee is in large part beneficial for your heart health.
According to the American College of Cardiology, a study conducted using a whopping 228,465 participants showed that caffeine consumed in the form of moderate amounts of coffee can actually be good for your heart. It proved to correlate with decreased instances of arrhythmias when the consumer imbibed three cups a day.
If that sounds like a lot, it’s important to note that the average coffee you brew or buy may not be a true ‘cup’. Stores sell coffee mugs that are as large as three cups on their own, and a Starbucks Grande cup is actually twice the size of an official ‘cup’ of coffee. A venti is nearly identical in size to the three cups a day cardiologists recommend for heart health.
3. It’s Good for Your Brain
It’s not just your heart that benefits when you drink coffee, either — your brain reaps the benefits of the tasty beverage, too. — a simple sugar that’s part of many carbohydrates., your brain better retains information and you have better sustained attention when you consume caffeine along with glucose
Some may drink coffee simply to get them going at the start of their day, but the cognitive benefits suggest that everything from better production at work and school to a more organized method of going about your day can be attributed to coffee.
4. Coffee Lowers Risk of Diabetes
Scientists still don’t have a universal, definitive answer for why some people reach old age with no complications and others develop dementia, are diagnosed with cancer, or see their health deteriorate in other ways.
While they can’t predict every factor that causes these health concerns, they can recommend lifestyle choices to help prevent them and one of those is drinking coffee.
According to the American Chemical Society, heavy coffee drinkers have a lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. This fits in with the benefits of drinking it instead of a soda or energy drink — but not just because of the sugar content. The study by the ACS suggested that coffee prevents the ‘misfolding’ of a substance in the human body known as human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), which scientists believe is a factor in developing Type 2 diabetes. The chemical makeup of coffee blocks hIAPP in the human body, which lowers the risk of it causing the debilitating condition later in life.
5. Coffee Lowers Risk of Certain Cancers
If that’s not enough, studies have linked coffee consumption to lowered risk of cancer in women and Alzheimer’s in older adults, as well. One cup of coffee a day has lowered the risk of postmenauposal breast cancer for women who consumed four cups of coffee per day. Another study showed that women could also reduce their risk of colon cancer by drinking more than three cups per day. This combines with the immediate health benefits to your heart to make coffee potentially just as beneficial as those bottles of water your doctor suggests you down throughout the day.
Everything is always recommended in moderation, so replacing all beverages in your diet with coffee won’t stave off every illness out there — and drinking too much can make you jittery and cause problems sleeping as the caffeine lingers.
If you’re a coffee lover and you’ve been wondering what it’s doing to your body, though, never fear; chances are, it’s doing as much good for you long-term as it is helping you out as you head out the door for work in the morning.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.