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.
Bladder and pancreatic cancer. Studies performed more than 30 years ago suggested a potential link between coffee consumption and cancers of the bladder, pancreas, and possibly others. Since then, better research has largely refuted these concerns. In fact, some of the older studies raising red flags about a cancer link have since been used as examples of “fishing expeditions” and weak research methodology.
If Starbucks is your favorite coffee house, then you’ve likely seen the cinnamon on the milk counter when you go to top off your brew. Next time, take advantage and give your health a boost. Swinney says that cinnamon can make your beverage even better for you, thanks to its antioxidant properties, not to mention a slew of other benefits. “Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar in many clinical studies. Adding spices add antioxidants and sweetness without calories, helping to cut back on the sugar you might add to coffee. Cloves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” she explains. Check out 10 weird facts about coffee you never knew.
Cardamom has been dubbed the “queen of spices”—and it’s not just because of its rich, warm taste. In some ancient medicinal traditions, this powerful spice was used to treat everything from gum infections to tuberculosis. And while we’re not recommending you try to whip up a DIY cardamom cure for either of those, one recent study suggests the spice may have antimicrobial properties so you can fight off pesky bacteria like E. coli. And adding it to your coffee might just improve your social health, since it’s been used as a natural breath freshener and, well, coffee breath is a thing.
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.
A 2014 study for Flavour found that the color of your coffee mug can influence how sweet or bitter you perceive a cup of coffee to be. Although not definitive, the study found when drinking from a white mug, subjects perceived coffee to be more intense than when drinking from a transparent mug. Of course, more research is needed, so take this study with a grain of salt, but it may be worth swapping out your white mug for a transparent one to make your coffee "taste" less bitter (and thus reduce the amount of sugar you add to it).
More recently, Australian researchers looked at 18 studies of nearly 458,000 people. They found a 7% drop in the odds of having type 2 diabetes for every additional cup of coffee drunk daily. There were similar risk reductions for decaf coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. But the researchers cautioned that data from some of the smaller studies they reviewed may be less reliable. So it's possible that they overestimated the strength of the link between heavy coffee drinking and diabetes.
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