Coffee has been both praised and mocked for centuries. It has been blamed to cause impotence and madness, other times a cure for laziness or “gift from heaven”. Heavy stuff. But what are the actual, scientifically proven pros and cons of coffee we know today?
Caffeine, the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, is the best-known ingredient of coffee. Its beneficial effects on the human body have been researched quite well, but coffee as a whole is a complex beverage with a thousand different substances. Some studies argue that decaf and caffeinated coffee may have the same health effects and suggest that it’s not the caffeine that is responsible for most of the coffee's health benefits.
Research on coffee and it's pros and cons for humans is nowhere near finished, but here is a list of what we know at the moment.
1. Coffee boosts your physical performance
Have a cup of black coffee about an hour before workout and your performance can improve by 11-12%. Caffeine increases adrenaline levels in your blood. Adrenaline is your body’s “fight or flight” hormone which helps you to prepare for physical exertion.
2. Coffee may help you lose weight
Coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the human body use insulin, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing your craving for sugary treats and snacks.
3. Coffee helps you burn fat
Caffeine helps fat cells break down body fat and use it as fuel for training.
4. Coffee helps you focus and stay alert
Moderate caffeine intake, 1-6 cups a day, helps you focus and improves your mental alertness.
5. Coffee lowers the risk of death
Studies have shown that coffee drinker’s overall risk of premature death is 25% lower than of those who don’t drink coffee.
6. Coffee reduces the risk of cancers
One study has shown that coffee may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in men by 20 %, and endometrial cancer in women by 25 %. People in the test group drank four cups of coffee a day. Caffeine may also prevent developing of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer
7. Coffee reduces the risk of stroke
Reasonable consumption of coffee (2–4 cups a day) is associated with a lower risk of stroke.
8. Coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease
Studies have shown that regular coffee drinking decreases the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 25 %. There’s evidence that coffee causes activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s.
9. Coffee protects your body
Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants, that work as little warriors fighting and protecting against free radicals within your body.
10. Coffee may lower the risk of Type II diabetes
Caffeine decreases your insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance, therefore reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.
11. Coffee protects your brain
High caffeine levels in your blood reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. It also lowers the risk of dementia.
12. Coffee brightens your mood, helps fight depression, and lowers the risk of suicide
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and boosts the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, which elevate your mood. Two cups of coffee a day prevents the risk of suicide by 50 %.