The Secret Health Benefits of Coffee

Those in the industry don’t need any convincing when it comes to how awesome the humble coffee bean is, but just in case you needed another reason to indulge in one of the world’s most beloved drinks, here are the secret health benefits of coffee that you and your customers might not be aware of.

Among the advantages of consuming a couple of cups or more of coffee daily are a lower risk of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, cognitive impairment, and heart disease. There’s also some good evidence that coffee has a beneficial effect on your gut microbiome.

What’s in that coffee?

Caffeine The amount can vary depending on the type of coffee, how it’s roasted and how it’s brewed so an average cup can contain anywhere from 95-200 mg.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that’s found in more than sixty plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts (the flavouring for colas), and the cacao pods used to make chocolate.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 0.01 mg

Niacin (vitamin B3): 0.7 mg

Potassium: 92 mg

Magnesium: 8 mg

Antioxidants

The caffeine, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in a cup of coffee all contribute to health, but perhaps the most important contribution comes from the many different organic compounds found in coffee.

Many of these function as antioxidants, quenching the damaging free radicals your body constantly produces as part of its normal metabolism. Free radicals are a major cause of inflammation—and inflammation is the underlying cause of many chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cognitive impairment, and other issues.

Brain Benefits

In 2015, researchers from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study looked at the relationship between caffeine intake from coffee and the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia in women aged 65 and older.

They found that the women who consumed the most caffeinated coffee (the equivalent of more than two cups a day) were about 25 percent less likely to develop dementia or cognitive impairment compared to the women who consumed the least (less than a cup a day).

Microbiome Benefits

Having a diverse range of bacteria is key to a healthy gut microbiome—the vast community of bacteria and other microorganisms found mostly in your colon. In general, coffee drinkers seem to have more diversity in their gut bacteria compared to non-coffee drinkers—and the more coffee you drink, the more diverse your microbiome.

A 2019 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology shows that heavy coffee drinkers have higher levels of anti-inflammatory gut bacteria and lower levels of potentially harmful bacteria. An interesting aspect of the study is that the heavy coffee drinkers had healthier gut microbiomes regardless of how healthy their diet was in general.

So, you can mark International Coffee Day today with a delicious brew you don’t have to feel guilty about, or enjoy one covered in whipped cream – it is a celebration after all.