Coffee is much more than a morning treat or an afternoon pick-me-up. It can impact our lives and our health in positive ways that we may not have thought about.
While caffeine can get a bad wrap in this era of wellness, coffee lovers can now feel even better about consuming their beverage of choice.
Here are five health benefits that are linked to the daily consumption of coffee.
1. Coffee improves focus and memoryThe caffeine in coffee is a stimulant which improves focus, attention and concentration. This increased alertness and wakefulness are helpful when studying, working, or performing long, tedious tasks. When faced with distractions, coffee can help draw your attention to the task at hand and promote clear thinking.
This reduced fatigue can improve short-term memory. Research shows that a cup of coffee can enhance memories for up to 24 hours after consumption.
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2. Coffee may reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementiaLong-term impacts of coffee on the brain are still being studied and understood. Nonetheless, research so far supports coffee's positive effects on cognitive decline.
One study in particular suggests that three to five cups of coffee per day during midlife can lower the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease in later life by 65%.
The high levels of polyphenols in coffee may be able to directly reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
3. Coffee lowers the risk of stroke for older womenAccording to the Journal of the American Heart Association, women who drink more than one cup of coffee per day have a 22% to 25% lowered risk of having a stroke.
In fact, this study of over 35,000 women aged 49 to 83 indicates that drinking no coffee may slightly increase the risk of stroke.
The authors of the study believe this may be due to its ability to reduce inflammation, making the body more responsive to insulin.
4. Coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetesIn a study of almost half a million individuals, at least four cups of coffee per day was shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50%. Each additional cup of coffee may decrease this risk by a further seven per cent.
Regularly drinking coffee can, therefore, be a safe and inexpensive way to help prevent this incurable illness.
5. Coffee lowers the risk of oral cancersAuthors of a study from the American Cancer Society say that drinking four or more cups of coffee per day halves the risk of death from oral cancer.
The variety of antioxidants, polyphenols and other active compounds in coffee are thought to help protect against developing mouth and throat cancers.