The laments are endless. “If I don’t have coffee within the next 10 minutes, I might murder someone.” “I’m not a real person until I have my coffee.” And so on. Coffee is an absolute must for most people during the work day — and a lot of other tired individuals as well. But that’s generally all coffee is seen as: a way to be awake and able to function throughout the day (or at least the morning). Yet, studies have shown that coffee actually has many more unexpected benefits. Here are 10 surprising advantages that drinking coffee regularly may provide for your body.
1. May help prevent alcohol consumption-related cirrhosis
A study published last January in the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal has been making waves. The study’s findings indicated that increased coffee consumption could help reduce the risk of cirrhosis, a form of liver damage caused, among other things, by alcohol.Reuters summarized it in these plain terms: With each additional cup of coffee you take daily, the risk of cirrhosis may be diminished more significantly. One cup a day means a 22 percent less chance of developing the disease, and four cups can make the likelihood of cirrhosis decline by up to 65 percent, according to the study.
2. Boosts your metabolism
reports caffeine can help boost your metabolic rate by up to 11 percent, which means your body will process foods much faster the more coffee you consume, and you’ll experience a smaller increase in fat retention. Next time the waiter at your favorite restaurant suggests a coffee after lunch, consider saying yes.
3. Decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease
According to the New York Times
, a study involving over a million individuals proved that significant coffee consumption (three to five cups a day) could decrease the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular troubles.Live Science
says a Korean study proved that individuals who drank three to five cups of coffee daily were less likely to develop calcium deposits in their arteries, which could lead to clogging.
4. Gives you more energy
This one is pretty obvious: Coffee boosts your energy. Who would’ve thought? But like with most biological processes, there’s more to it than that. When it reaches the brain, caffeine releases adenosine, a neurotransmitter that allows more neurons to be sent out into the brain at once, according to Authority Nutrition. This leads to better focus, memory and cognitive function in general, along with the energy increase you’re expecting from coffee.
5. May decrease the risk of diabetes
Like with cirrhosis, coffee has been found to exponentially decrease the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes, according to Authority Nutrition. Studies indicated that every additional cup of coffee could lead to an extra 7 percent decrease in the likelihood of diabetes, for a near 50 percent reduction in the risk for heavy coffee drinkers, the website says.
6. May protect you against Alzheimer’s
Coffee & Health
reports that several separate studies have found that in many cases, a significant consumption of coffee was inversely associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease in patients who previously did not have it. In other words, a higher coffee intake may lead to less chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease, according to these studies.
7. May protect you against Parkinson’s disease
The studies on Parkinson’s disease and its relation with coffee have more mixed findings. While increased coffee consumption does, according toCoffee & Health
, lead to a smaller risk in the development of Parkinson’s disease, studies have found these results were only accurate with men and menopaused women. Harvard Health Publications
theorizes this is due to the fact that caffeine and estrogen require the same enzymes, and estrogen tends to take these enzymes away from caffeine, preventing it from having as strong an effect.
8. May decrease depression risk in women
A Harvard School of Public Health
study revealed that significant caffeine intake (four cups or more) could reduce the risk of depression in women by 20 percent. While studies have been done for men as well, the results have not been quite as conclusive.
9. May decrease the risk of certain types of cancer
Coffee helps protect the liver against cirrhosis, and it also protects it from cancer, according to the New York Times. At least two cups a day can decrease the odds of getting liver cancer by over 40 percent. The New York Times also indicates that according to several studies, consumption of coffee was generally associated with protection against various forms of cancer, like in the prostate and breasts, but that those results only apply to nonsmokers, as smokers may actually reverse the effects of coffee on potential cancers.
10. Contains antioxidants
If you were asked what you thought was the food or drink with the most antioxidants, the natural guess would most likely be a fruit or vegetable, right? Wrong. Phys.org
reports that surprisingly, a study has shown that coffee is by far the strongest source of antioxidants in the United States diet. So load up on that cup of Joe, because as has been shown here, it may be even better for you than you’d expect.