Coffee, a morning ritual many of us would not dare live without. Coffee is a beverage that wakes one up, stimulates the mind, and seems to cure any problems life might try to throw at us. Throughout history, a heated debate has taken place about the possible effects coffee has on our bodies. Is coffee good or bad for our health? Let’s take a look at what history and science have to tell us on the topic.
The story begins with a cereal tycoon, a man by the name of C.W. Post, the founder of Post cereals. C.W. Post held the belief that caffeine was very unhealthy, causing a myriad of health problems. In 1895, right about the time when coffee began to dominate the United States beverage industry, Post created a drink made out of roasted wheat bran and molasses. He was a master of marketing, and proposed that his drink, Postum, was a healthy alternative to the dangers of coffee. He used aggressive advertising to convince many consumers that coffee consumption would cause all sorts of negative effects, whereas Postum was a very healthy alternative.
Post’s efforts proved to be very successful, making him very wealthy, and creating fear for all coffee lovers. Luckily for humanity, research has debunked many of Post’s wild claims, yet Postum is still available for purchase to this day.
Scientists have debated back and forth for centuries on the health consequences of drinking the black brew. As science continues to improve, we know much more about the health benefits coffee provides.
- Coffee is the best source of Antioxidants in a standard diet! What are antioxidants you ask? In the simplest explanation possible, antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress by eliminating free radicals in the body. Too much oxidative stress can lead to inflammation and many diseases, making antioxidants an important component of a healthy diet. A study was conducted to assess which foods have the most antioxidants, and coffee came in 11th place out of 100 foods and beverages. Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables, yet most of the antioxidants we consume come from coffee!
- Coffee helps to burn fat. The caffeine found in coffee works to stimulate the nervous system and help us feel alert and awake, increasing our metabolism throughout the day. Studies have shown that you can improve calorie burning by 3-11% simply by drinking your morning joe.(2 ) Most of this metabolic increase is directly related to the breakdown of fat cells in the body! ( ) Other than caffeine, other compounds also provide stimulating effects, such as theobromine, the common stimulant found in chocolate!
- Coffee decreases the risk of many diseases. This list continues to grow, as research reveals that coffee reduces the risk of:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Liver cirrhosis
- Bladder cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Heart Disease
- Coffee for a longer life? According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, the positive benefits of coffee help to reduce the effects of the many diseases mentioned above. Moderate coffee consumption, around 3-5 cups a day, has shown to reduce mortality rate by 15%. Coffee lovers rejoice!
As you can see, there is no need to fear coffee, as it provides many benefits when consumed in a moderate amount. Although coffee can be very healthy, you can un-due the positive effects by adding a lot of sugar, creamers and flavorings.