Myths about food and health are endless, including those about coffee. “There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” stated nutrition and epidemiology professor, Frank Hu, from the Harvard School of Public Health. Coffee expert, Forrest Graves, of JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters elaborates on the subject of coffee and health, “I see a very small percentage of people that have negative concerns, but sometimes I do hear concerns over caffeine, calories or acidity. The good news is that each of those concerns is easily mitigated. Few people realize that a 6 oz. cup of coffee without sugar or cream contains only 7 calories. There are also coffees that are naturally low in acidity and non-chlorinated decaf coffees which can be approximately 98% decaffeinated with absolutely no noticeable difference in taste.” Certainly, the biggest myth of all continues to be that coffee has no health benefits whatsoever. Check out the ‘Top 10 Reasons’ below to debunk this colossal myth.
Top Ten Reasons why coffee is GOOD for you:
- Lowers risk for skin and breast cancer. According to Robert J. Davis, PhD, author of Coffee is Good for You, flavanoids in caffeine have been found to inhibit the formation of UVB-induced tumors. Furthermore, the American Association for Cancer Research referenced studies which examined the risks of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma in connection with coffee consumption and discovered coffee consumption decreased the risk for basal cell carcinoma. Even better, using coffee topically is being touted as a new method to “fix” the UV damage already done to your skin. Dr. Leslie Baumann sites recent studies where the topical application of coffee offers promising results at fixing damage done by the sun.
- Lowers risk of depression. Health Watch aired findings where certain chemicals in coffee lower the risk of depression. Studies indicate the more coffee you drink, the less likely you are to be depressed. According to research results by Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH and team at the Harvard School of Public Health, women who regularly drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk for developing depression than those who rarely or never drink coffee.
- Reduces diabetes by 50%. Several studies indicate that certain elements of coffee block the chemical process which leads to type II diabetes. Researchers at UCLA have discovered a relationship between coffee consumption and a protein called SHBG, thought to play a role in the development of type II diabetes. Once again, research indicates the more coffee you drink, the better protected you are against type II diabetes.
- Reduces inflammation. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded consumption of coffee had beneficial effects on subclinical inflammation and HDL cholesterol. Other sources support these findings by indicating that the anti-oxidants in coffee will neutralize certain free radicals in the body which cause inflammation.
- Increased fiber intake. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry expressed results exhibiting significantly higher amounts of soluble dietary fiber in coffee than other common beverages. The Mayo Clinic recognizes the importance of fiber in dietary nutrition for maintaining bowel integrity and health, reducing blood cholesterol levels and controlling blood sugar levels.
- Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s. Results linking caffeine to lowered risk of Alzheimer’s and enhanced brain function can be found in the European Journal of Neurology. Additionally, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease states that the lowest risk (65% decreased) was found in people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee per day. They further suggest that consuming coffee at midlife is associated with decreased risk of dementia and AD later in life.
- Human hair growth. The International Journal of Dermatology found that caffeine alone led to a significant stimulation of hair follicle growth in in-vitro studies. Clinical research in Berlin implies a topical application of caffeine-infused shampoo or ointment will penetrate the hair follicle faster, lending credence to the possibility of an effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia (baldness) or other reasons of premature hair loss.
- Acne prevention and skin health. Barista Bath and Body performed extensive research related to the effects of topical coffee creams and scrubs. The slightly acidic pH of coffee constricts pores, creating a protective layer and providing the appearance of younger looking skin and aiding in the prevention of acne. The exfoliating and anti-oxidant properties of a coffee facial polish are comparable to (if not better than) other beauty and skin products currently on the market. Founder of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute also recognizes the ability of caffeine to quickly and effectively constrict blood vessels, making it a particularly valued asset and potential treatment for suffers of rosacea.
- Lowers risk of Parkinson’s. PloS Genetics reports research results consistent across studies corroborating the robustness of interaction between consumption of coffee/caffeine and the gene GRIN2A. Caffeine has already been proven to be neuroprotective, but researchers indicate other ingredients in caffeinated coffee may also affect the development of Parkinson’s disease.
- Protection against cirrhosis of the liver. As noted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research concluded that there is an ingredient in coffee which protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis. Joe Vinson, PhD regards the study, “In a cross-sectional study, coffee consumption was also significantly related to a lower prevalence of transaminase enzymes [markers of liver damage], with a stronger association for those who drank large quantities of alcohol.” While some speculate that the active principle may be caffeine, Vinson strongly supports the hypothesis that it is the polyphenol antioxidant compounds in coffee that are the causative agents and that they act in concert with caffeine, which is also hepatoprotective.
A myriad of research continues to support the healthy nature of coffee, giving optimism to those who partake in the beloved beverage and pause to those who do not. Considered an authority on coffee, Forrest Graves summarized quite nicely, “The positive medical research and findings around coffee have obviously been mounting since the 15th century, making it the largest consumed beverage in the world next to water. Who knows? A cup a day could keep the doctor away.”