One of the benefits of coffee beans is that they contain an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid (CGA) in addition to other antioxidants. Raw beans contain roughly 9 percent CGA by weight, which can help with weight loss and is a neuroprotectant. Coffee beans also help reduce inflammation, which is associated with a number of health concerns. In addition, the caffeine in coffee beans provides benefits such as reducing headaches. Understanding these health benefits can help coffee-drinkers appreciate more than just the taste of their next cup of java.
In fact, coffee provides the biggest source of antioxidants for most Americans... although that mostly has to do with the fact that many Americans don't get enough antioxidants from fruits and veggies, so coffee ends up being their biggest source. You should try to diversify your sources of antioxidants from fruits, veggies, spices, herbs, berries, beans, unsweetened organic cocoa, teas, and yes, even coffee if you like it.
Associative addictions trend with coffee -- who doesn't immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar when they picture coffee? Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal than a drink! That morning latte is the epitome of food lacking nutrition density yet packing energy!
Let's take a quick jog down memory lane about how the research behind the benefits of coffee has changed over the years: In 1991, the World Health Organization classified the beverage as a “possible carcinogen.” Then, in 2016, the organization found that there was “no conclusive evidence for a carcinogenic effect of drinking coffee.” And in between, most of the news about coffee was largely positive: That, instead of being harmful to your health, regular coffee consumption (in moderation, of course), is actually good for you.
If you're getting your coffee at a coffee shop, make sure to avoid all of those fancy specialty coffees (sweetened flavored lattes, frappuccinos, etc) as they are almost ALWAYS loaded with extra sugars or artificial sweeteners. Some of those fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks or other coffee shops can have 300-400 calories in just one coffee! Definitely not good for your body or your blood sugar or insulin levels.
So how much coffee is healthy, and how much is too much? Two to three eight-ounce cups per day is considered moderate; heavy coffee drinkers consume four cups or more daily. Remember, the amount of caffeine per coffee beverage varies depending upon the preparation and style of beverage. Eight ounces of brewed coffee may contain as little as 80 to as much as 200 mg of caffeine per cup (an “average” cup probably contains about 100 mg).
In an extensive study, experts found that taking around three to five cups of coffee every day has some unique benefits that can’t be replicated elsewhere. They associated it with 65% reduced a risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in later life. On retrospect, the researchers investigated the effect of taking tea or other beverages such as cocoa or beer on cognitive decline. Interestingly enough, they found no association.
The potential health benefits of drinking coffee are exciting news, but that doesn’t mean more is better. For some people, coffee can cause irritability, nervousness or anxiety in high doses, and it can also impact sleep quality and cause insomnia. In people with hypertension, coffee consumption does transiently raise their blood pressure — although for no more than several hours — but no correlation has been found between coffee drinking and long-term increases in blood pressure or the incidence of cardiovascular disease in patients with pre-existing hypertension.
Coconut milk is the perfect add-in if you’re lactose intolerant, cutting out dairy for dietary purposes (i.e. the Paleo diet), or just want a low-calorie milk substitute. Of course coconut milk adds a light coconut flavor to coffee and lightens up your brew, but it’s also closest in texture to whole milk. You can add vanilla extract to coconut milk to create a homemade, lower calorie creamer. Just be careful and use coconut milk sparingly as it still contains a fair amount of fat.
“For example, prior studies have suggested that variants in CYP1A2, (a gene) encoding the enzyme responsible for more than 95 percent of caffeine metabolism, may alter associations of coffee drinking with cardiovascular-related outcomes, with slower caffeine metabolizers having higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a myocardial infarction (heart attack) relative to their non-drinking counterparts, whereas faster caffeine metabolizers who drink coffee are at no or lower risk of these outcomes.”
I see people that drink 3-4 cups per day that get a massive headache if they don't have their daily coffee due to caffeine withdrawal. I choose to avoid this addiction by only drinking 1 cup per day max. I drink various teas like green, oolong, black, and white teas at other times, which are much lower in caffeine. Or I like to use rooibos or other herbal teas many times which have no caffeine at all.
A growing body of research suggests an association between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of diabetes. A 2009 study found that the risk of developing diabetes dropped by 7 percent for each daily cup of coffee. Previous epidemiological studies reported that heavy coffee drinkers (those who regularly drink four or more cups daily) had a 50 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than light drinkers or nondrinkers.
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This trick may seem obvious, but you would be shocked to learn just how many popular versions of coffee are loaded with artificial sweeteners and refined sugar. For example, a chai tea latte (found at a popular coffee store that shall not be named) has 15 more grams of sugar than a Snickers bar does! Even less obvious versions of sweetened coffee may be packed with artificial sweeteners or extra sugar. A salted caramel mocha (again, found at an unnamed coffee chain) hits your bloodstream with a whopping 56 grams (!) of sugar.
The popularity of the Bulletproof Diet is undeniable. But what started the craze was the world-famous Bulletproof Coffee. By simply adding grass-fed butter to black coffee, you will get a nice brain-boosting buzz — as well as all the health benefits of grass-fed butter. Try blending the coffee with a handheld blender or latte frother if you are stuck with globs of butter on top of your coffee.
If your focus is weight loss, green coffee extract could be an effective aid. Following a 22-week study of 16 overweight adults, researchers discovered participants given green coffee bean extract had undergone significant weight loss with 37.5% of them transitioning from being at a pre-obesity weight to a normal weight range. If you’re battling the bulge, consider complementing your workouts by looking at the green bean capsule aisle of your local health nutrition store.
Remember, coffee from popular chains can be loaded with hidden sugars and many other artificial ingredients. Going with black coffee, or making your own, is a much healthier choice. Be sure to use filtered water and organic beans for homemade coffee. If you need a little more spice, try adding grass-fed butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, cocoa or collagen. Remember, healthier coffee doesn’t have to be boring. You can still get your morning caffeine fix – just do it in a more Paleo-friendly way!
Joseph Bennington-Castro is a Hawaii-based contributing writer for Live Science and Space.com. He holds a master's degree in science journalism from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Hawaii. His work covers all areas of science, from the quirky mating behaviors of different animals, to the drug and alcohol habits of ancient cultures, to new advances in solar cell technology. On a more personal note, Joseph has had a near-obsession with video games for as long as he can remember, and is probably playing a game at this very moment.
First, you may have seen debate in the past about how coffee has some compounds in it that could have negative health effects such as small amounts of acrylamides or other possibly harmful compounds in brewed coffee. But, the good news is that coffee has such high concentrations of beneficial antioxidants, phenolic nutrients, chlorogenic acids, and other healthy compounds , that it more than counteracts any bad compounds.
A latte or cappucino can be okay as long as you make sure to ask for it unsweetened, and then use your own stevia if you need a light sweet taste. Since almost every coffee shop only has either sugar or artificial sweeteners as options, I always carry packets of stevia on me when I know I might be getting coffee at a coffee shop on a particular day.
While many of us start the day with a big cup of coffee, you actually may be lowering your energy levels by doing this. How is this possible? Well, quite simply, your body releases insulin in response to the caffeine found within coffee. This, in turn, causes a major drop in blood sugar, which leaves you feeling depleted and tired. Not a great way to start your day. Munch on a small snack during your morning cup, or even eat right before you drink. Your body will thank you for it.
While they say that the results support moderate coffee drinking as a relatively healthy habit, both Poole and Guallar say the findings don’t go far enough to prompt anyone to change their coffee-drinking habits in the hopes of improving their health. The study did not confirm, for example, that people who do not currently drink coffee should start adding a cup or two a day in order to lower their risk of getting heart disease or any of the other chronic conditions studied. The data also do not support the idea that current coffee drinkers should drink even more coffee to enhance whatever benefits they might be receiving. Too much coffee, the data suggest, starts to bend the benefit curve back down.