For millions of people worldwide, coffee is the beloved beverage to start the day right. But guess what? You can actually feel good about your need for a cup of Java. We now understand that coffee can be really beneficial for health. Learn how coffee helps you live longer and other surprising benefits!
Ah, a delicious cup of perfectly brewed coffee is a necessary element of life for most adults around the world. Whether you depend on a morning cup to get things rolling, or your habit continues with several coffee breaks throughout the day, there’s no denying that coffee is important. So much so, that between 30-40% of the world’s population has at least one cup of coffee per day. That amounts to a whopping 103 million tons of coffee that was consumed in 2021 – it’s probably more by now!
Contrary to popular belief that coffee drinkers turn to coffee for the caffeine kick, most say that they actually prefer coffee for the taste, not for the energy boost. But even more importantly, coffee drinkers enjoy quite a few health benefits from drinking coffee, even if they’re not aware of it.
Who Discovered Coffee? (the Short Version)
Although there are a few different legends surrounding the discovery of coffee as a nourishing beverage, the first coffee use can be pinpointed to Ethiopia, in the Kaffa region, around 850 BC. We can all give thanks to a local goatherd named Kaldi, who was paying attention, while tending his herd one day. He noticed that after consuming some berries from a low hanging bush, the goats seemed to become energized.
He was so intrigued and entertained by their antics, he tried the berries himself and experienced the same intoxicating buzz. Due to its exhilarating quality and unique flavor, coffee made its way from Ethiopia to Yemen, via local traders and smuggling (because there was no cultivation at that time).
By the 1700’s, the Dutch began cultivating coffee in Sri Lanka, and coffee spread to Europe. Coffee cultivation was circulated from Europe via a pilfered coffee seedling, taken from France to Martinique. From there, coffee growing moved onward to the Caribbean, then to Central and South America.
Regardless of the circuitous routes coffee took to make its way into our lives, there’s no question that coffee, in all its varied presentations, is a major societal glue in most cultures around the world.
Is Coffee Good For Health?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes! 🙂 Of course, as with any natural herb or plant substance, coffee beans have health benefits, but there are certain caveats. That means, if you don’t abuse coffee and go overboard with your coffee usage, you can definitely reap the rewards of savoring a cup of coffee… or two…
Ayurveda, the ancient natural healing system of India, advises us that coffee can be better for some body types than others. According to the Ayurvedic blueprint for health, body types or doshas, determine what foods we should consume for maximum health.
If you are a Vata type, you have a tendency to move quickly, learn quickly (but forget just as quickly), are slim, and have dryer skin and hair. For better health, you should limit your coffee to one cup per day. You should drink your coffee before 10am in the morning, and add cream and sweetener to mellow out the effects of caffeine, since Vata types already run a bit fast.
If you are a Pitta type, you run hot, both physically and temper-wise, are quick to learn and are sharp-witted, often with a slimmer, strong physique. If you have coffee, you should take only 1-2 cups per day, add milk, and sweeten your coffee. But, don’t drink too much, or it could cause acid reflux and increase irritation and anger.
And lucky Kapha types, you’re the ones who tend to be heavier and slow moving, with thick hair and big eyes. You can drink more coffee, as the caffeine can speed you up, and the acidity of coffee can cut through the wet sluggishness of kapha. You should drink your coffee black, though, because you don’t need the additional heaviness of dairy and sugar.
Health Benefits of Coffee
When taken in moderation by all body types, coffee has excellent health benefits. Check out this list, to see how coffee helps our health:
1. Coffee Helps You Live Longer
The absolute best benefit of coffee is that drinking coffee daily may give us more years of life! A recent cohort study (one that follows a group of people over time) showed that people who drank 1-3 cups of coffee per day were less likely to die of any causes than those in the group who did not drink coffee. The study looked at results over 7 years time. The results showed greater longevity in the coffee drinkers group, whether or not their coffee was sugar sweetened or unsweetened.
Use of artificial sweeteners was not included in this study, and it did not include those who drank ultra-sugary and often chemically flavored “specialty” coffees.
That’s amazing news, that coffee drinkers may actually live longer than non coffee drinkers! Now read ahead to see how coffee specifically helps diminish several common health concerns.
2. Coffee Improves Brain Health/Cognitive Ability
Coffee, along with other natural remedies that help the brain, contains numerous neuroprotective antioxidants that help improve brain functioning. While coffee does contain caffeine, it’s not the caffeine that aids the brain to do its work. Coffee is high in polyphenols that protect the brain against aging, and also increase serotonin for uplifting moods. Regular coffee drinkers also gain protection against Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Coffee Lowers Risk of Diabetes
For coffee drinkers, increasing the amount of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee per day has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It is coffee’s anti-inflammatory qualities that are helpful here, as inflammation is a key factor in diabetes.
The benefits come as long as individuals never drink more than about 400 milliters of coffee, or 4 cups per day. For those wanting to avoid diabetes, drinking black coffee delivers the most protective benefits.
Interestingly, this benefit doesn’t occur among smokers who are also coffee drinkers, but only among non-smokers who drink coffee.
There are some amazing herbs to treat diabetes if you already have it, but coffee serves well for prevention.
4. Coffee Helps Gut Microbiome
Drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day can help the gut. Caffeine encourages the stomach to produce more digestive acid. The key, once again, is moderation, because too much coffee can aggravate the gut lining and cause gas or bloating. Coffee improves the gut microbiome by increasing certain bacterial strains in the gut that are necessary for digestion.
If you are already suffering from an inflammatory condition (such as fibromyalgia, PCOS, heartburn or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) then be careful when drinking coffee, as it could add to your symptoms.
If you want to drink coffee but need less acid, try some of the lower acidic types of coffee, such as darker roasts, (deep roasting reduces the acid in coffee beans), and coffee that is grown at lower elevations, such as Sumatran, Hawaiian, Brazilian and Caribbean coffee.
5. Coffee Helps Heart Health
Not only does coffee help us to live longer, but drinking about 2-3 cups of coffee per day can improve heart health! Coffee helps to block the receptors involved with irregular heart rhythms and reduces the possibility of heart failure, while also helping to reduce incidences of coronary arterial disease.
Studies show that coffee does not raise blood pressure, but may cause spikes in blood pressure in non-regular coffee drinkers, if they take an occasional cup of coffee. However, there’s no need to worry that drinking coffee in moderation will cause hypertension.
The good news is that the over 100 phytochemicals contained in coffee have overall positive effects on heart health. Drinking coffee regularly, in addition to eating foods that specifically reduce heart inflammation, will greatly assist in keeping your heart healthy
6. Coffee Helps Elimination
The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant and speeds up metabolism and digestion. As coffee promotes action in the digestive tract, this can cause the urge for elimination, shortly after drinking a morning coffee. Depending on the condition of your digestive system, this could be a good thing, or it could be uncomfortable if your digestion already runs fast.
If you are prone to IBS, you may have to limit your coffee intake to avoid negative reactions such as diarrhea. But if your system runs slower, a warm cup of coffee in the mornings can certainly get things moving for easier elimination.
7. Coffee Decreases Risk of Stroke
Drinking coffee in moderation decreases risk of stroke, and is also useful to prevent further strokes in stroke survivors. The neuro-protective natural compounds in coffee are responsible for this benefit, as they help to prevent blood clots that can cause further strokes. Coffee also helps in stroke rehabilitation. Its stimulating properties give a boost to the brain, aiding the process of relearning skills.
8. Coffee Lowers Body Fat and Raises Metabolism
The caffeine content of a cup of coffee is useful in raising metabolism and helping the body to process fat. Drinking coffee promotes ketone production, which allows the body to use fat for energy, instead of storing it in cells. So, drinking coffee can help stimulate your metabolism for weight loss.
Also, robusta coffee beans have less acid and fat content than arabica coffee beans, so go for robusta when possible if you’re trying to lose weight.
The healthiest way to use coffee for increasing metabolism is to drink coffee in the morning hours, and again, don’t over-do it! Only 1-3 cups of coffee per day is sufficient, and be sure to leave off the sugary and fat filled add-ins… for losing weight, black coffee is best.
9. Coffee Decreases Cancer Risk
Drinking coffee regularly has been associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer. These include endometrial, breast, colorectal, prostate, lung cancers, and others. There are some indications that it’s the caffeine in coffee that is responsible for the lessened risk factor.
10. Coffee Boosts Workouts
Coffee, with its associated caffeine, is excellent for boosting energy levels before working out. The best time to take your coffee is 30-60 minutes before a workout. (but not too close to workout time, if you tend to get a laxative effect from coffee!)
The caffeine kick from coffee can help you to increase endurance when exercising. Caffeine also aids blood flow in the arteries, easing pain in muscles that comes with exercise. Only 1-2 cups before exercising will also increase your ability to exercise longer before muscular pain sets in, making for more effective workouts.
Coffee is an amazing natural plant that, aside from its delicious flavor, has some very powerful health benefits. Not only can coffee drinkers live longer, but drinking coffee can help improve heart health, prevent diabetes, increase metabolism, and help prevent cancer, among other great benefits.
We always suggest using the best quality organic natural products you can find, such as this delicious organic coffee, by Equal Exchange ✓
Note: As with any other natural herbal product, moderation is best. Excessive use of coffee could lead to some uncomfortable side effects, such as behavioral issues and trouble sleeping at night. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you might also experience heart palpitations.
If you drink coffee on an empty stomach and get light-headed due to caffeine, drink a large glass of water as soon as possible. This will allow the caffeine to move more quickly through your system and dissipate the symptoms.
Coffee drinking has been a part of civilization for hundreds of years. Now that we’re aware of new research that corroborates the healthful benefits of coffee, we can enjoy our coffee drinking without worrying about our health. And that’s a happy thought, isn’t it?