Get the Skinny on Coffee's Health Benefits

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Coffee drinkers, rejoice!  Research shows that we don’t need to feel guilty about our daily habit, and actually, sipping coffee regularly can provide us with a wide range of health benefits!

Coffee may help you live longer

A study released last week (the largest study of its kind, tracking more than 400,000 people for 13 years) found that people who consumed coffee (regular or decaf) were less likely to die than those who did not.

The more coffee they drank, the less likely they were to die. Men who drank 6 cups of coffee daily were 10 percent less likely to die compared to men who didn’t drink coffee at all, and women who drank 6 cups of coffee daily were 15 percent less likely to die compared to female non-coffee drinkers.

Even moderate consumption of a single cup a day was associated with a 6 percent lower risk of dying in men, and 5 percent lower risk among women.

 

Reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes

Multiple large-scale studies have shown that coffee may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The effect appears to be dose-dependent, meaning that the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk.

In American adults, drinking 6 or more cups of coffee daily is associated with a 54% lower risk in men and 29% lower risk in women. Note: decaf coffee doesn’t appear to have the same protective benefits.

 

Lower risk of skin cancer

The more regular coffee an adult drinks, the lower their risk seems to be for developing basal cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer.

 

Improve symptoms of depression

Women who drank four cups of coffee a day (regular, not decaf), were 20 percent less likely to become depressed than those who averaged a cup or less per week.

 

Lower rate of Alzheimer’s Disease

Many studies have found a link between coffee consumption (mostly caffeinated) and a lower rate of developing signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

 

Lower risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Men who drink 4-5 cups of coffee a day may cut their risk of developingParkinson'sby almost half. Moderate intake of coffee in women has been shown to have a protective effect againstParkinson'sas well. Moderate consumption of caffeinated coffee provides the most reduction in risk

 

 

Potential Downsides of Coffee:

Insomnia.  Excessive caffeine intake can interfere with sleep.

 

Unfiltered coffee (e.g. French press) can raise LDL cholesterol levels

 

Caffeinated coffee is associated with increase in fibrocystic breast symptoms

 

Caffeine in coffee may increase calcium losses, increasing risk for osteoporosis, though moderate intake of caffeine (less than 300 mg daily, or about 3 cups daily), doesn’t seem to increase the risk of osteoporosis.

 

Medications. Coffee can interfere with the absorption of certain medications; check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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