If you usually start your morning with a mug or two of coffee, you’re not alone. At least 54 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 18 do so as well. And according to a multitude of research studies, you’re all doing something good for your health. From heart disease prevention to improved cognitive function, here are five great reasons to indulge in a cup of Joe.
- Coffee improves heart health. A recent study in published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that consuming three to five cups of coffee per day could reduce an individual’s risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by as much as 21 percent. The scientists attributed this to coffee’s anti-inflammatory properties and the antioxidants found within it.
- Coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, participants who upped their daily coffee intake lowered their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 11 percent. Those who decreased their coffee intake increased their risks by 17 percent. The researchers speculated that the antioxidants in coffee may influence metabolic pathways, specifically glucose metabolism.
- Coffee improves kidney and liver health. The caffeine in coffee increases urinary flow—thus all those late-morning trips to the bathroom. While this can be moderately inconvenient, it decreases your risk of developing kidney stones. It also balances liver enzyme levels. According to one study, participants who drank three cups of coffee a day were 25 percent less likely to have abnormal liver enzyme levels than were those who abstained.
- Coffee reduces the risk of some cancers. Both regular and decaf coffees appear to be beneficial in preventing certain cancers. A study published in Breast Cancer Research found that women who drink at least five cups of coffee each day are 57 percent less likely to develop estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer than women who drink a mere cup or less a day. For men, another study found that four or more cups of coffee per day could reduce prostate cancer recurrence or progression by 59 percent.
- Coffee improves cognitive function. Caffeine may help you feel more focused during the early hours of the day, but coffee consumption can have even greater effects on long-term cognition. Scientists speculate that it prevents the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. These buildups of protein are indicators of Alzheimer’s disease but can be combated by coffee’s free radical-destroying antioxidants. In fact, one study found that adults over the age of 65 who were already experiencing memory problems were able to delay onset of the disease by two to four years, just by drinking three cups of coffee each day.