Many Baby Boomers grew up thinking coffee was a guilty pleasure, and were warned it would stunt their growth, give them the jitters, and cause cancer and miscarriages. But almost every single study has shown coffee — black coffee — to have surprising health benefits in many different areas of health.
Check out some of the ways coffee is good for you:
• Cardiovascular disease. A review of 36 studies involving more than 1,270,000 people found that those who drank three to five cups of coffee daily had the lowest risk of cardiac problems. Another study found that drinking two to six cups of coffee daily was linked to a lower risk of stroke. Coffee also lowers the risk of heart failure: The lowest risk of heart failure was found in people who drank four cups of coffee a day.
• Cancer. A Swedish study found that drinking two cups of coffee daily decreased the risk of recurring breast cancer by half in patients who were also taking the cancer-fighting drug tamoxifen. Researchers believe that coffee activates tamoxifen and makes it more efficient. Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that men who drank at least four cups of coffee daily lowered their risk of recurring prostate cancer by 59 percent. Another study found that consuming two cups of coffee a day lowered the risk of liver cancer by 40 percent. A study published in a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research found that drinking four or more cups of coffee daily reduced the risk of endometrial cancer by 25 percent. "Laboratory testing has found that coffee has more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables," said Harvard researcher Dr. Edward Giovannucci.
• Diabetes. Sipping four or more cups of coffee throughout the day may cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 30 percent, says a study of 42,659 people published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Regular or decaffeinated coffee provided the same benefits, which researchers believe are due to antioxidants and magnesium found in coffee. A recent study involving more than 1.1 million people found that the more coffee people drank, the less likely they were to have diabetes.
• Weight loss. An Australian study gave volunteers either coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or a caffeine tablet and then monitored them until lunch time for feelings of hunger and satiety. They found that those who drank regular coffee with breakfast felt less hungry than those who drank decaffeinated coffee or took caffeine tablets.
• Alzheimer's. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that drinking at least three cups of coffee a day could delay the onset of the mind-robbing disease. Scientists from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami studied people aged 65 to 88 who had mild cognitive impairment (MCI). They found that 100 percent of patients who had high levels of caffeine in their blood (the equivalent of drinking several cups) did not develop full-blown Alzheimer's during the follow-up that lasted two to four years.
"The results from this study, along with our earlier studies in Alzheimer’s mice, are very consistent in indicating that moderate daily caffeine/coffee intake throughout adulthood should appreciably protect against Alzheimer’s disease later in life," said the study lead author, neuroscientist Dr. Chuanhai Cao.
• Liver. A couple of cups of coffee every day cuts the risk of risk of dying from cirrhosis of the liver by 66 percent in patients whose cirrhosis was caused by non-viral hepatitis, says a new study published in the journal Hepatology.
• Longevity. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health tracked 400,000 men and women ages 50 to 71 and found those who drank coffee — either caffeinated or decaf — were less likely to die from heart disease, diabetes, infections, stroke, respiratory disease, and accidents. And the more coffee they drank, the lower their risk of dying "We found coffee consumption to be associated with lower risk of death overall, and of death from a number of different causes," said Neal Freedman, Ph.D.
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