Are There Newfound Health Benefits to Coffee?

Health Benefits To CoffeeIsn’t it great when something you love turns out to actually be good for you? Last year we waxed poetic on the many health benefits of drinking black coffee. And this year, the news just keeps getting better. It seems like every few months, there are more reports touting the health benefits to coffee drinking, as opposed to its risks. Some experts even go so far as to categorize caffeine as a nutrient, not a drug. That’s good news for us coffee lovers.

So go ahead and pour that second – or sixth – cup as we take a quick look at the most recent findings.

Coffee Linked to Reduced Type 2 Diabetes Risk

“There have been many metabolic studies that have shown that caffeine, in the short term, increases your blood glucose levels and increases insulin resistance,” Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition has said. In a 20-year study, coffee consumption was linked to an eight percent decrease in type 2 diabetes in women and a four percent decrease in men drinking regular coffee and seven percent who drank decaf.

So what’s the magic inside the cup? Caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and caffeine — the three most common components in coffee – seem to be the culprits, with caffeic acid leading the bunch in terms of benefits. The fact that caffeic acid is in higher concentrations in decaf may mean that the health benefits of decaf are even greater.

Does that mean you should switch to decaf? Experts say not yet, but it’s fine to have another cup.

Brewing Up a Fresh Pot of Pain Relief

If you work at a computer and have neck, shoulder or back pain, consider drinking more joe before you punch the clock. In a recent study, people who drank coffee before work exhibited less pain throughout the day.

More studies still need to be done on the impacts of pain relief and caffeine, however, so don’t through away that Ibuprofen yet.

…And So Much More

Aside from those hot topics—and the sheer fact of its deliciousness—there are a bunch of other reasons to drink your daily cup. The antioxidants in coffee have been linked to the reduction of risk of coronary artery disease and stroke, reduced symptoms of depression, and (surprise, surprise) increased levels of awareness while driving on long road trips.

And perhaps our favorite health benefit of all: The New England Journal of Medicine found that people who drank coffee lived longer than those who didn’t. We’ll drink to that.

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