Anyone who knows me knows I’m one of the biggest coffee hounds. I probably drink more coffee than any 10 people I know. In fact, I’ve worked for Starbucks in the past as a barista and now work at a coffee shop at a local agricultural college. I’ve heard many times, as you probably have too, that coffee is bad for you. It’s said to stunt your growth, stain your teeth, give you warts (not sure where this came from!!), and the list goes on. So when one of the students asked me if coffee was beneficial in any way, I said I’d have to find out. My research turned up some intriguing facts.
14 Reasons to Drink Coffee
1. Coffee may help you fight depression and could help in the prevention of suicide in some people. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant, elevating the mood. It’s hard to depressed when your body says otherwise.
2. Coffee may help lower the risk of death. In two confirmed studies, it was shown that the overall risk of premature death was reduced 25% in a 20 year period for coffee drinkers.
3. Coffee may help to prevent some cancers. Another study showed that the risk of developing prostate cancer in men was reduced 20%, and endometrial cancer in women by up to 25%. The people in these tests drank around 4 cups of coffee a day.
4. Coffee may help lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. The evidence sown in numerous tests was “pretty solid” according to more than one doctor involved in the studies. Over 15 studies have been done to date, all of them showing positive results.
5. Coffee may help protect the brain. It has been shown to lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Just the smell has shown to reduce the stress in lab rats. I know it works for me!
6. Coffee may help patients recovering from colon cancer surgery to heal faster. Studies have show that recovery may be as much as 30% faster.
7. There is research that suggests drinking caffeinated coffee may help ward off skin cancer. It was shown that caffeine helps to lower the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.
8. Coffee may help to lower the risk of oral cancers. Possibly due to the acidity, one study found 50% reduction in oral cancers for coffee drinkers as opposed to non-coffee drinkers.
9. Coffee could help strengthen the muscles. Coffee drinkers have been shown to have overall better muscle tone.
10. Coffee provides legal stimulation and is a natural performance enhancer. Who needs steroids when you have coffee? And it’ll never show anything negative on a drug test.
11. Coffee may help prevent Parkinson’s disease. A study at the Mayo Clinic showed that Parkinson’s was slower to start or even eliminated in some individuals.
12. Coffee contains antioxidants. These antioxidants help to protect the cells in your body from degradation.
13. The antioxidants in coffee may help prevent liver cancer. Another study is underway that is showing promising results.
14. Coffee could help you to lose weight. It contains magnesium and potassium. These two elements help the body to use insulin. Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar, reducing cravings for sugar.
Keep in mind
Although coffee has been linked to many health benefits, it has also been found to cause health troubles if consumed in excess. Drinking coffee in moderation is important.
When choosing your coffee, quality is everything. Since coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed crops, this is one thing you should definitely buy organic. Choose whole, fresh beans and grind them yourself so you can avoid drinking coffee from degraded beans with rancid oils. (find good organic coffee here)
And for your drinking pleasure…a great iced coffee recipe:
Homemade Iced Coffee
Ingredients & Supplies
- 8 cups filtered cold water (find the best water filtration systems here)
- ½ pound organic coffee, ground (find it here)
- 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar (or another natural sweetener like raw honey or pure maple syrup)
- ¼ cup fruit (I’ve used blueberries and cherries)
- ½ gallon jar (like this)
Place the coffee and sugar (or substitute) in the jar. Crush the fruit and add to the jar. Cover with the water and mix together. Place in the refrigerator and let sit overnight. The next day, strain the liquid through a coffee filter. You can also use a french press if you wish. Whatever solids are left can be thrown in the compost. The liquid that is left can be consumed as it is over ice or you can refrigerate it for a few days. You may need more or less sugar depending on your taste buds.
This drink has about three times the caffeine and much less acidity than traditional brewing methods.
If you would like to quickly get rid of some of the caffeine, place about 6 tablespoons of ground coffee into a french press. Add hot water to cover the coffee. Let this steep about 3 minutes and discard the liquid. Then cover the coffee with water again and proceed as you normally would. The first liquid contains as much as half the caffeine and the second will have about half as much as normal brewed coffee. (Tip: I save the liquid from the first time and freeze it in an ice cube tray. These cubes can be put in a zip top bag to use later in iced coffee drinks. This method prevents iced coffee drinks from getting watered down!)
What are your favorite ways to enjoy coffee?