Caffeine is the main ingredient in coffee, and it is this that has made it popular. Caffeine has a stimulating effect, which means that it gives people more energy and increases alertness. Coffee also contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and are thought to be a big reason coffee provides a health advantage.
An August 2017 study in the “Annals of Internal Medicine” reported some good news for coffee drinkers. The first study included a sample of 185,855 African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Latinos, Japanese Americans, and whites.
The 16-year study concluded that those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 18 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke, kidney disease, and complications of diabetes.
The second study was conducted in 10 European countries and included a sample of 521,330 people. Baseline blood tests and health questionnaires were given to the patients, and they were followed for more than 16 years.
What the researchers discovered is great news for coffee drinkers. The benefits were more pronounced when moderate drinkers — those who drank between 3 and 5 cups a day — were compared with non-coffee drinkers.
Specifically, men who were moderate coffee drinkers were nearly 20 percent less likely to die while women were 10 percent less likely to die.
Even better, moderate coffee drinkers were nearly 60 percent less likely to die from diseases like liver cancer and liver cirrhosis.
The study also showed that women who were moderate coffee drinkers were 30 percent less likely to die from stroke.
Additional health benefits of coffee
Reduce the risk of heart attacks, decreases inflammation in the body, provides mental health benefits and increases alertness, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, reduces symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reduces the risk of suicide, decreases inflammation in the liver decreases CRP, an indicator of inflammation, in women.
Coffee contains tannins, which can deplete the body of magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin B1, and zinc.
Consideration should be given to supplementing with a multivitamin, especially if the diet is not rich in fruits and vegetables.
Although the studies did not assess the coffee drinker’s consumption of cream and sugar, consumption of these additional supplements should be done in moderation. I would suggest that black coffee has more health benefits than coffee full of sugar and cream. Also, many of the flavored coffee creamers on the market contain high fructose corn syrup, which is known to have negative health effects.
If milk and sugar are desired, it is recommended to use almond, soy, or coconut milk and 1-2 servings of raw cane sugar or stevia as an alternative sweetener. There are suitable stevia-flavored sweetener alternatives available.
Also, if you like green tea, consider adding a tea bag to your cup of coffee. For most, the new flavor takes time to get used to, but the combination is rich in health-promoting antioxidants.
This article was written by Eric Madrid MD, ABIHM who is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Holistic Integrative Medicine. He is the author of Vitamin D Prescription, the Healing Power of the Sun. Dr. Madrid graduated from The Ohio State University School of Medicine. He is a partner in the Rancho Family Medical Group and has his practice in Menifee, California.