A recent study appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at the coffee-drinking habits of more than 447,000 people over 10 years. The researchers found that those who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing melanoma than people who drank decaffeinated coffee or no coffee.
For this part of the experiment, 22-month-old mice received caffeine—the daily equivalent of four to five cups of coffee in humans—in their drinking water for 10 days. That was sufficient to raise their mitochondrial respiration to the levels observed in six-month-old mice, according to the study. Analysis showed the old mice had roughly double the amount of p27 in their mitochondria after the 10 days of caffeine.
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There are more than 1,000 compounds in coffee, many of which likely harbor anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds, according to a recent BMJ research review. “The coffee bean itself has antioxidants in it, which help prevent free radical damage that could potentially lead to cancer,” explains Susan Oh, MPH, director of the nutrition research program at Johns Hopkins, who was not involved with the study.
It’s not water, so if you’re going overboard, it’s going to mess with your digestion and potentially your sleep, which could have major consequences. Research shows drinking up to four eight-ounce cups per day is okay—that likely equals two cups, depending on the size you’re ordering. And it can stay in your system for a very long time, so if you’re having issues getting to sleep, stick to drinking coffee in the AM.
Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1,400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
Coffee beans have important nutrients like the B-family vitamins, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin, as well as other nutrients like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Perhaps most importantly, they contain antioxidants and caffeine, which have a wide range of health benefits when consumed in moderation and at right times during the day.
Although this latest news about the potential health benefits of coffee involves just a single animal study, tea drinkers might well feel they are coming out on the wrong end of the coffee equation. According to the National Coffee Association, 64 percent of Americans 18 and over drink at least one cup of coffee a day, with an average daily consumption of 3.2 cups. Three cups of a typical breakfast tea contain less than 150 milligrams of caffeine, compared with the nearly 500 milligrams in the same amount of brewed coffee. So tea drinkers might wonder if they are missing out on a potential health benefit and should start drinking the other stuff.
Historically, it was first recorded as a drink just over 500 years ago, beginning on the Arabian peninsula, but there is a speculation that its use as a stimulating beverage stretches back more than 1,000 years in various ancient and indigenous cultures. Now, it is consumed in nearly every country of the world, and almost daily, even 5-6 times a day. While offices have larger machines, at home people often have single serve coffee makers which work best for the small requirements.
For the sake of something real journalists call “integrity” I should point out that coffee has also been shown to have a small, yet positive (which isn’t a good thing in this case) relationship with bladder (25) cancer. However, the same study that reported these finding, also reported that this relationship could also be linked to smoking or other dietary habits.
Feeling a little slow lately? All it might take to get your body back to working at a normal pace is a little coffee. A 2005 study from the Radiological Society of North America found it doesn’t take much—just a couple cups—to improve your reaction time, making you better at everything from noticing something scary like smoke in your home (and realizing you need to grab the fire extinguisher ASAP) to breaking your car for a stop sign.