Coffee is Definitely Good For You
Coffee is healthy Again. It may not be news to many of our readers, but it does reinforce the new-ish trend in research that’s gradually been revealing that coffee is actually and definitively good for you. The new data is putting to rest the debate that’s been around as long as coffee cherries have been dried, roasted and added to water: is it positive or negative for your health?
The most recent study comes from Europe, published in the “Annals of Internal Medicine.” It looked at 10 European countries for the relationship between coffee consumption and mortality.
Coffee was initially considered almost a wonder drug by many, becoming popular for its energizing effects and replacing the dulling, traditional alcohol people used to drink water.
Different Ideas Of What Coffee IS and Does
One headline from the 1500s links coffee consumption to “illegal sex.” A 1600s headline is more mixed, claiming that coffee can cure alcoholism but as long as one is willing to endure a terrible side-effect: impotence.
In the 1700s, it was pushed by capitalists and industrialists as a means to getting workers to work longer, often existing as their only source of energy from the start of the shift until they finally made it home in the evening.
In the 1800s, in light of a coffee shortage, one headline claimed coffee could get you go blind.
The claim I grew up hearing came about in 1916, alleging that coffee stunted your growth. This is why my parents didn’t let me drink it until I was in high school. The 1900s was also the time coffee began to be linked with heart-palpitations, anxiety or “nervousness,” indigestion and insomnia. Of course, all of those are faithful to some degree depending on the person and the consumption habits.
A 1927 headline claimed that coffee was at the root of badly-performing students. And in the 1970s and 80s, coffee was being linked with hypertension and an increased risk of heart attack.
Even into the 2000s, coffee has been claimed to cause urinary tract and esophageal cancer, lung disease. In the 200s, however, the positives started to outweigh the negatives, with coffee reportedly lowering one’s risk of stroke, prostate cancer, heart failure, and heart disease. Finally, in 2015: “Coffee is practically a health food.”
Then & Now – The Positive Lifestyle Coffee Has Taken On
And now, there’s more research to back this positive shift up even more.
According to that European study, I mentioned a long time ago (at least five paragraphs), “people who drank two to four cups a day had an 18 % lower risk of death compared with people who did not drink coffee.” Again, this isn’t necessarily news, but this was the biggest study of its kind, looking at at least 520,000 subjects across 10 countries.
Another study recently out takes a more accurate look at the connection between mortality and coffee consumption. “After surveying over 185,000 African-Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites, the researchers found that coffee increases longevity across various races.”
Even accounting for differences in lifestyle, dietary habits, and even health susceptibility, the patterns remained relatively consistent.
Here Comes the Coffee Health Study
“The new study shows that there is a stronger biological possibility for the relationship between coffee and longevity and found that mortality was inversely related to coffee consumption for heart disease, cancer, respiratory illness, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.”
The European study also showed that coffee consumption was linked with lowered occurrences of liver disease, suicide for men, cancer for women, digestive and circulatory diseases across the board. “Those who drank three or more cups a day had a lower risk of all-cause death than people who did not drink coffee.”
What makes these studies distinct are that they looked at such a diversity of people and still found the same patterns, lending strong credence to the belief that coffee is the connection to the mortality and longevity and health differences. It’s not just one or two countries, or one or two races; it may very well be coffee itself.
What is Giving Coffee the Health Kick?
Coffee, as I’ve written before, has a lot going for it. It is full of antioxidants, which is one of the strongest likely reasons for its link with cancer-prevention and risk reduction. Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cells that become cancerous cells and tumors.
Much of recent medical science has also been investigating the link between inflammation and a variety of chronic diseases or disorders, including mental health issues. Coffee is also an anti-inflammatory. For a while, it was commonly and medically used to treat headaches, for example, which can be associated with inflammation.
One of the most impressive results of the above studies came when the researchers controlled for smoking versus non-smoking; “smoking is known to reduce lifespan and is linked to various diseases.” They found that smoking did not “seem to blunt the effects of coffee,” and still had “inverse effects on mortality for smokers too.”
That’s not to say that you should take up smoking or continue smoking, it’s just to say that coffee is healthy, and very may well be the miracle drug, superfood, health extravaganza all us addicts have long hoped it was.
Doctors and experts responding to the study caution smokers especially that drinking coffee is healthy, yet increasing coffee consumption, shouldn’t be used to counteract the tremendously adverse effects of smoking. It may help, but it shouldn’t be thought of as a cure, especially while the research and scientific investigation of this phenomenon is still essentially in its toddler stage.
It should always be noted that it is ideal to drink black coffee, sugar, and cream and the like do not necessarily have super-positive effects on your health and mortality. Do some research on your own, as with our recent article about dairy and sugar alternatives for sugar drinkers. Even sugar-replacements like Splenda have been linked with increased cancer and even diabetes risks, and nonfat milk tends to have higher sugars, meaning that what you think may be an okay, healthy alternative may not actually be.
New Information Changing Our Understanding of Coffee & Our Dietary Options
Of course with new information changing the way we understand our dietary options with a seemingly new and often contradictory revelation with each passing day, it can feel impossible to keep up with exactly what is and isn’t good for you. It can also seem, as with the recent revelations about coconut oil, that what is “good for you” now will probably not be 10 years from now.
Coffee is healthy, for now, & this seems to be a good option, black if you can, in moderation and, of course, if you don’t have a caffeine allergy. For me, I know that I have to be careful because I take medicine for ADD (an amphetamine) that affects my blood pressure; that is exacerbated both when I don’t eat enough before I take it and if I have too much coffee throughout the day.
Know your body, do your research, ask your doctor, maybe skip the extra whipped cream, and embrace the “curative” powers of the (kind of) “fountain-of-youth” that is coffee!
- 8 Reasons Why Coffee Is Good for You
- New Studies Say Coffee is Good For You, So Drink Up
- Study suggests coffee helps prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and much more