The Health Benefits of Coffee

In the past, coffee has been linked to many health problems. We all know that coffee can cause insomnia, tremors, and increase our trips to the bathroom.

Pretty blonde healthy looking woman savors a cup of coffee by smelling it; has a satifised smile on her face

But don’t put down that carafe yet! Did you know:

That recent evidence shows coffee has more benefits than we ever imagined, and that people should be drinking more coffee, not less? Good news for those of us who have shares in Starbucks or grind our own coffee at home.

With this data, and inverse relationship was found between coffee and liver cirrhosis. It turns out that coffee lowers the blood level of liver enzymes, and the more people drink, the less chance they have for developing liver cirrhosis. Each cup you drink a day reduces your risk of developing cirrhosis by 20%.

Researchers are still not sure the exact mechanism by which coffee reduces damage to the liver, but they believe that it extends to other diseases which also affect the liver. Recent studies in both Europe and Japan show that people who drink at least several cups of coffee a day have less than half the chance of being diagnosed with liver cancer than those who don’t ingest coffee.

The odds dropped by 23% with each daily cup. Researchers believe that coffee causes liver enzymes to become stronger, and prevents liver fibrosis.

It gets better:

One of the great health benefits of coffee for men is a reduction of prostate cancer. A study in 2009 by the National Institute of Health found that men who drink six or more cups of coffee reduced their chance of developing prostate cancer by 60%.

It works by effecting insulin and glucose metabolism which in turn interacts with sex hormone levels, both of which play a part in the development of prostate cancer.

…men who drink six or more cups of coffee reduced their chance of developing prostate cancer by 60%.

Another remarkable health benefit of coffee was found by Harvard School of Public Health, regarding Type 2 diabetes. Men who regularly drink six or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day reduced their risk by 50%; women who drank the same amount reduced their risk by almost 30%. It was also found that each additional cup of coffee consumed reduced the risk by another 7%.

That’s pretty impressive stuff from a little coffee bean. Even decaffeinated coffee creates a reduction in the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Four or more cups a day of decaf for men netted a reduction of developing diabetes by 25% and in women by 15%.

Most theorize that the difference from men to women is due to women’s hormones which might mitigate some the benefits.

A long term study by Harvard, and published by the American Heat Association, investigated a link between coffee and strokes in women. Since coffee can stimulate the heart, it was proposed that women who ingested large quantities of coffee could end up with very dangerous heart conditions.

The study surprised researchers when it was found that coffee had just the opposite effect. 83,000 women were followed for 24 years, and it was discovered that women who drank two or more cups of coffee a day had a decreased risk of stroke by 19% compared to their non drinking counter parts.

The women who never smoked had an even greater benefit, reducing their risk by 43%. Those are pretty good numbers for a simple cup of coffee.

Another study published in 2008, in the Journal of Internal Medicine, included 40,000 men that were followed for 18 years. The results were astonishing. Men who drank five cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by 44%, and were actually 35% less likely to die from any cause. It was later found that women who drank between four and five cups a day reduced their risk of mortality by 26 percent.

…women who drank between four and five cups a day reduced their risk of mortality by 26 percent.

For most people, coffee can be very beneficial and can be a great health benefit. But before you make that run to the closest coffeehouse, please remember that coffee can have its drawbacks too. It can be very dangerous for people with cardiac arrhythmias; it can worsen heartburn, and increase blood pressure.

Pregnant women need to be especially careful as drinking two or more cups of coffee a day has been linked to miscarriage, and may result in lower weight babies.

Here’s the bottom line:

If you enjoy coffee, and can tolerate it, then some very good studies indicate that you might reduce your chances of disease by enjoying an extra cup or two a day. So if your significant other is after you about your Stabucks habit, show him or her this article or better yet you can grind your own and save some cash and have a lot better flavor right at home!

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About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

62 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of Coffee”

  1. As a coffee lover, this is great news! I had no idea coffee had been studied so extensively and could help in so many ways. 5 cups a day is too much for me but I usually have 2 or 3. It’s always good to hear something you enjoy can provide health benefits.

    • You’re got to be careful with coffee though. Depending on the variety you use, caffeine and other compounds can vary drastically in amount which can skew the results compared to what studies show. I know that I consider myself a cup-or-two-a-day drinker, but when compared to a standard “cup” used in these types of studies, I’m more like a 3-4 cup drinker.

      Also just because coffee has some protective effects on some parts of your body, doesn’t mean it is benign elsewhere. Overconsumption of caffeine can cause ulcers, high blood pressure, and a host of kidney issues as caffeine is a very effective diueretic. As with anything, moderation is key!

  2. It’s good to know coffee isn’t bad for you and has good qualities. I do enjoy coffee, but am not an addict. I would rather have a nice espresso than a mug of weak coffee. As I only drink black, it also has no real calories and I only drink caffeinated and can tell the difference!

    Actually the smell of roasted coffee has a feel good effect on me as well.

    • I would rather have expresso as well, but I can’t do expresso all the time. I love the smell of coffee as well. It’s actually what got me into drinking coffee. I would see my parents and older sister making coffee in the morning and the beans always smelled so good. Coffee can be good for you.

    • Personally I can’t start my day until I’ve had my coffee and it’s good to know that it has its benefits. Especially on the liver side of things, if you know where I’m going with this. Also I was afraid for a while that my habits where harming me (since I usually have one or two in the morning and one or two in the afternoon), but I’ve only been doing myself a favor this whole time. Furthermore, I don’t use milk and sugar in it, which I know is a plus. I might be an addict. Although I hope I’m not.

  3. I cannot wait for my fresh coffee each morning. I have known about some of these benefits for a while and drink two coffees each day. Like with anything you need to take it in moderation, and also be sure to drink good quality coffee.

    And like Bella said, the smell and aroma of fresh coffee is just divine.

  4. I love my coffee, and I can’t function properly early in the morning without it. I had no idea that coffee could have such good advantages as everyone seems to think it’s just bad. I used to drink 6-7 cups per day, and I’ve gotten myself down to 4 now. I was going to try and cut down to 2 or maybe even 1, but after reading this article I think it would be beneficial for me to stay at 4 cups per day.

    This is really informative, and I’m grateful to you for highlighting the advantages of my favorite beverage!

  5. I’m glad to see that coffee has some health benefits. Now I don’t have to feel as guilty for -needing- to have that cup first thing in the morning 😉 I really want to try using a french press sometime soon. Right now I just use a standard coffee maker and a Keurig coffee machine, which saves me time in the morning since I’m always rushing :p

    • French presses, or cafetieres as they are sometimes called are so easy to use. You just pour the water on the ground coffee and plunge a few minutes later. Really simple and well worth trying.

  6. That diabetes risk research is interesting. I love coffee but I cannot imagine drinking 6-7 cups a day. Maybe if I had unlimited pumpkin spice lattes! I am trying to get used to drinking my coffee black so I can get the benefits without the sugar or artificial sweeteners.

  7. I recently relocated from overseas and had to set up my kitchen from scratch. I don’t have a large amount of money to waste on kitchen appliances, but I did invest in a high quality coffee machine. Before doing so, I researched the latest coffee pod machines as everybody was recommending them. The coffee tasted good, and the machines were under $50. This is a big saving compared to $500 for a decent coffee machine. But I did the maths and discovered that I would be better buy a $500 coffee machine as the pods cost you a lot more compared to ground coffee. Another deciding factor is that the coffee pods are plastic and go into landfill, whereas ground coffee can go on the garden as fertilizer.

  8. Nice article. Very helpful. Yes, I personally believe Starbucks is overrated. I mean, it’s good to visit it once in a while but I believe the best coffees are the ones brewed at home through your very own coffee maker. I also have a particular preference for certain coffee beans over the others. The taste is basically the same, if you ask me. Money-wise, you can save more when you brew your own coffee. Just buy whip cream if you like a Starbucks feel.

    • I’m in agreement here. Starbucks isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I genuinely feel like the little boutique cqfés are so much more quaint, original and the coffee is normally some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I used to be a 5-6 cups a day kinda gal but I’ve cut it down to two at the most and I have them both in the morning! I have noticed that I sleep better and all if I stay away from any caffinated drink during the day and I try and stick to green tea and water.

      I was trying to cut coffee out altogether but with facts like these I now have scientific proof that there is no need for me to !

  9. I always knew I was drinking coffee for a reason. I personally love the coffee I brew at home, but everyone has their own preferences. Interesting that coffee can help reduce the risk of diabetes and prostrate cancer. I’ll have to pull up some more articles to read more in depth. Thanks for the info!

  10. I’m a coffee lover. Actually, I’m a having it right now. It’s a brown rice flavor with stevia leaves extract. But I limit my intake up to two cups a day because if I have too much caffeine my heart palpitates faster than normal. It scares me though. I’ve read a lot about it and it has really a great advantages for us coffee addicts. One way, I’m sure it relaxes me sipping a hot coffee during rainy afternoon.

  11. This is amazing! I am not a big coffee drinker, but I always though coffee seemed healthier than they let us believe! 🙂

  12. Wow, I didn’t know all of this. I know my mom drinks caffeinated coffee because she was told it would help with her gallbladder issues. And so far she says it has. But she also tries to eat sunflower seeds everyday because the caffeine in coffee gives her insomnia and heart palpitation. She was told that a lot of food allergies come from a low amount of Vitamin E in the body, and was advised to eat Sunflower seeds. The combination of sunflower seeds and coffee has worked out very well for the last year.

  13. Oh coffee…I cannot start a day without it! I usually have 1 a day in the morning and my favourite way of brewing it is : a freshly ground arabica golden roast with hot boiling water in a french style caffetiere. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes, the push the filter down and you will have the most flagrant, well rounded tasting cup of black joe. This is a ritual for me to indulge into those weekend mornings off from work. During the week it’s instant coffee on the go!
    Anyway it gets and keeps me going, couldn’t do without it.

  14. You really don’t want to know what i do to my yoghurt nowadays and its yummy!…It always makes me want to have more and more, being a chocolate and coffee lover, lot of things do happen in my cup or yoghurt in that regard. Glad to have gained knowledge in regard to health benefits pertaining to coffee! 🙂

  15. Wow I’ve been drinking coffee all wrong! I have been drinking 2 cups a day, I need to drink like 6 cups a day!
    Just kidding, but this is very good news to coffee lovers everywhere! I have also heard somewhere that caffeine helps you lose weight. I feel like that even drinking 6-7 cups coffee could reduce your risks of diabetes and prostate cancer, it might increase a lot of other things like insomnia. All good things come at a cost!

    • 6 cups and i ‘ll be shaking like one who has held on to a live electric wire!…and sleep would elude me immediately!…hey that’s new…caffeine helps in weigh loss? {raised eyebrows}..don’t make me change my diet immediately in that regard 🙂

  16. Coffee is a beautiful thing. I mean it is just beautiful; the smell, the taste, the smoke wafting off of a freshly poured hot cup, the dark, rich color. I could take a BATH in a tub full of coffee beans and roll around like a crazy person and even that would not convey how much fondness I feel for coffee.

    I like the health benefits listed in this article. Over the years, I have read several articles touting the goodness of coffee drinking. I have thought for some time now that coffee can be really good for certain people.
    Of course not all people are going to be into drinking coffee no matter what the health benefits may be, but for those of us who really enjoy a good cup of coffee, it’s good to read various studies that prove this wonderful drink can actually be beneficial.

    • I see we share the same thought…i couldn’t help but smile and chuckle a bit at your hilarious comment in regard to coffee, i especially love the smell in the morning…just true Heaven!…Thank you on the idea of bathing with coffee, it just might get realized 😉

  17. This is amazing I really didn’t know that coffee was so good for you for so many different things. I thought each time I had a cup I was putting bad into my body and I was really trying to limit myself but hey, ill let myself drink as much as I want to now! If only I could cut back a bit on the sugar I am sure that would help! What an amazing thing coffee is!

  18. Well that is great news. I’m glad coffee has some benefits to our health. I drink coffee a lot I love the stuff. I would drink it either way. My mama was a big coffee drinker as well. I guess I got the habit from her of drinking it all the time.

    I hope this doesn’t gross you guys out to much. Coffee enema yes that is right. I know nasty well I’ve done my research on it, and it to is very beneficial to our health. They are actually given to cancer patients.

    • I don’t think i have the courage to do an enema, much less a coffee enema, all power and might to those courageous enough to tread down that path, am guessing coffee enema is the latest fad in my area currently… no thanks, am not joining in that band wagon, a cup of coffee will suffice, thank you very much.

  19. I love that coffee has so many health benefits since it is a staple in so many households! I think it would be really interesting to see if coffee has psychological or mental health benefits as well. Many people enjoy the company of family or friends over a cup of coffee and college students use coffee to survive entire nights of studying. Maybe coffee benefits our happiness or even our brain function.

  20. It is worth noting that not all coffee is the same. Just like all foods, the more processing is done, the more the food loses its beneficial components. So if you are blending your own organic beans at home, you are getting more benefit than if you are drinking instant coffee or low quality coffee like Folgers.

  21. Everything in moderation. Even things that have benefits, if consumed too much, can have drawbacks. Coffee can contribute to kidney stones. Many of the coffees on the store shelves have chemicals from the processing.

  22. Well, I started drinking coffee to counteract my thyroid issues. I don’t particularly like coffee but as I stated, I need it to stay awake a little longer. I drink it straight, no sugar or cream because I noticed that the sugars in drings was bothering me, too. It’s good to know that my drinking this strong stuff; I’m a tea drinker by nature, will help my heart in the long run.

  23. Its always a good day when you hear that coffee is good for you! I never really drink more than 3 or 4 cups per week but thoroughly enjoy everything about it. Thanks for posting. This only enhances my experience.

  24. I heard some good things but I learned a lot of new stuff reading this. I did not know it could reduce the risk of stroke in woman. That is interesting. I drink 1-2 cups a day. Only when I am sick I don’t touch it much since it just makes me thirsty. Since it is Christmas soon I now drink 1 cup of coffee and 1 cup of hot chocolate most days

  25. I always drink 3 cups a day, sometimes 4, so I’m please d to hear that there is some benefit. I don’t feel particularly guilty about my coffee consumption, I enjoy it far too much! Grinding your own beans is infinitely preferable to instant or machine coffee, for both taste and health reasons.

  26. Although I have been a anti-coffee man all of my life, some of these do sound like real benefits of drinking coffee. I still cannot bring myself to drink a cup of coffee in the morning- EVER. It just sits in my stomach in an unusual way, and I prefer water.

  27. I drink a lot of coffee–more than 3 times a day on hectic work weeks. I don’t get palpitations and I think that’s because my body is already used to drinking coffee in large amounts. If I don’t get to drink or miss a cup however, I get headaches and become lethargic. I suppose these are the symptoms of withdrawal kicking in.

  28. This information is encouraging. I drink a LOT of coffee, as in a pot of caffeinated in the morning and usually a pot of decaf at night. I just love the taste of it, and now I can see that it helps in a few areas. Especially encouraging to me is the lowering of liver enzymes and the lowering of stroke risk. I have had elevated liver enzymes in the past as a result of a medication I have to take. It’s good to know that I can potentially combat this problem in the future with my coffee consumption. Also, my family has a strong stroke history, so this is good news for my future. I need to share this information with my mother since she likes coffee and has a higher risk of stroke based on family history.

  29. This is amazing, I did not actually know this! It is good to know that my love for coffee is actually good for my health! I do think it is amazing that is can help prevent liver cancer to, that is good news for coffee lovers everywhere. It is good to think what a little research can do!

  30. Hurray! I should be very well protected against Type 2 Diabetes!! I make my own drip coffee, but I’m lucky enough to live in an area (southern Oregon) where these is a drive-through coffee stand every few blocks. Non-fat latte is my usual. Iced or hot. I love my espresso drinks.

  31. My family’s medical history is riddled with strokes. It’s actually a relief to know that my chances are lowered by something I do everyday, anyway.
    In my household, there’s also the benefit for anyone who speaks to me early in the morning. If I didn’t have my coffee I don’t know what would happen, lol

  32. I wasn’t aware of the studies showing positive liver results, which is nice to see. I don’t drink much alcohol, but I do take pain medication, so I worry about my liver. Maybe the coffee I drink is actually helping with that issue. I don’t think I could ever quit drinking coffee, because I love the smell and taste, when mixed with half n half and sugar, so I’m happy to read something positive about it!

  33. Wow! This is a shock for me to hear that coffee is more good for us than bad. I always find myself telling my partner don’t drink coffee more than once a day as caffeine is bad for you. I guess I was wrong. This is wonderful news though, as a coffee lover myself it is great to hear I will benefit from more coffee than if I didn’t drink it. Thank you for this article, now I have my excuses of why I NEED to drink it haha.

  34. I’m a coffee lover myself and also did extensive research as to the pros and cons of drinking it. Yes, there are so many benefits that drinking coffee can provide us but I decided to just drink one cup a day. Why? Because it really affects my sleeping pattern. No matter how I try to think that I’m ‘immune’ to its effects, I always end up sleeping late. But there’s no denying though that coffee has these substantial benefits that help improve our lives.

    • Yes my whole downside is the sleeping pattern, and I really have to be careful when I drink coffee at night, which I have gotten pretty good at avoiding lately I have to say. It is harder in these winter months though, when the temperatures fall, but I have learned that hot cocoa and tea can do much of the same without the caffeine. Love my morning coffee though, and it is always good to see the benefits.

  35. Interesting article, especially after reading the one on how this morning beverage can lower the risk of liver cancer. Very intriguing, and it makes me feel even more confident about allowing myself a cup of joe once in a while. I’ll pass this article along to my coffee-loving friends and family, I’m sure they’d appreciate these benefits more than I do.

    I wonder based on these findings though; would it be more beneficial for me to begin sipping java more often, or do any health risks involved with regular drinking weigh out the benefits? I’m still iffy and unsure. It is a topic I’d like to learn more on, and I’d love to see more on it from Foodal in the future.

  36. Finally! Someone is telling me something I want to hear! My boyfriend, a very health conscious individual, loves coffee but feels all guilty about it when he drinks too much. I, on the other hand, have practically given up trying to drink less coffee…I’ve been drinking coffee since I was 14 years old; been hooked since day one. I’m interested to learn more about how coffee affects the relationship between insulin and sex hormones. I’ve always felt that, if there are negative health aspects of coffee drinking, and you don’t already have a heart condition, they are counteracted by a healthy diet and regular exercise- my cures to every illness!

  37. Coffee from my state comes from Ghana which is leading in production in the continent. For that reason, i have always loved locally(within the continent) manufactured coffee. I’m glad to hear that it has lots of benefits.

  38. Thank you for this article, it elates me to know that my coffee habit is actually not as bad as I have believed. I enjoy anywhere from two to four cups of coffee a day and on occasion more. Although, these studies are great news for us coffee lovers, it does make me wonder what size are the cups used in the studies? Also, where there any side effects? I mean when I drink four cups a day, I know I feel a bit jittery and sometimes dehydrated. I can’t wait for my morning coffee tomorrow 🙂

  39. Wow, I did not realize how many health benefits there were to drinking coffee. I occasionally drink a cup, but after hearing about all of these benefits I will be making sure to have some every morning. I have always used the caffeine just to wake me up. Now I know that it can help with cancer, diabetes and more!

  40. Feels like I’m constantly hearing about everything that’s wrong with coffee, so it’s nice to read an article like this for a change. Like most people in capitalist societies, I’m addicted to drinking it. Sometimes it’s the only thing that makes me wake up in the morning, and survive hard day at work. Being mentally ill sucks.

  41. Another benefit of drinking coffee (or tea) is that it helps reduce asthma, although I don’t really know the specifics :3 But it’s really nice to know that coffee helps avoid liver cirrhosis, cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. Although it should still be noted that one should drink in moderation! ^_^

  42. Well now! I must say that as I sit here waiting for a blizzard to hit and sipping my newly brewed coffee, I’m very happy to hear this! I’ve heard the reports, of course, and I realized when I first heard that it’s like so many other foods and drinks that are good for us, bad for us, rewind and repeat, over the years.

    Some of the things that were thought most healthy when we were growing up eventually got on the “bad for us” list (case in point, liver…. eggs, etc.) and then many of them eventually ended up back on the “good” list again (eggs for one.)

    I’ve just lived by the belief that most things in moderation are fine in the “healthy” or at least “not harmful” department. Eating too much of *anything* is never a good thing. Moderation is my motto. 🙂

  43. I can not say enough about coffee. It can easily be my favorite….however I practice much self control though. There are many good health benefits with consuming coffee on the regular..which I do every morning. If I am not sipping my favorite tea I have my favorite cup of Joe not to far away. A benefit that I love…is it helps to keep you regular. Coffee is known to promote bowel movements. It is safe to consume a maximum of two cups a day.

    • Maximum two cups, huh? Oooops. I think I’ve been a bad girl. 🙁 Really though… years went by that I was satisfied with one cup a day… always in the morning, and that was perfect for me.

      But then got a machine and started using kcups… and started discovering all the wonderful roasts and blends and flavors. And then I found sample packs of many different kinds in the same box and… well, I couldn’t keep to a cup a day any longer, and sometimes not even two. It’s simply too much temptation! hehe

      Guess I should find a way to go back to that, but I’m not 100% sure that I’m emotionally ready! 🙂

  44. It’s great to hear the coffee has so many medical benefits. I drink around 2 cups a day, so I would consider myself pretty addicted. However, since you mentioned that you should be drinking a maximum of two cups, that makes me feel a lot better about my habits. Recently I was thinking of cutting back, but had I known about these benefits, I wouldn’t even consider it…maybe I’ll cut back a little.

  45. well then this means that my fathers prostate is quite healthy as he drinks at least two cups of coffee for hthe day. I find that I am enjoying coffee more and more these days too.

  46. I certainly wonder if this specific article means any coffee at all. I’ve been told that to get the benefits at all you need to drink it with as less additives as possible, that means less sugar and cream. On another hand, I generally enjoy my coffee with some coconut milk. It is good to know that my daily cuppa is helping me out with not only a daily boost of energy but a long list of health benefits, especially with my liver, since I’ve abused that poor guy one too many.

  47. I started drinking coffee regularly about two years ago. For me, it has lessened the symptoms of anxiety and depression (some people have an opposite reaction). Oh if I could have known that earlier. I drink 1-2 cups daily (without milk) and that’s the optimal amount for me. Yippee for coffee!

  48. The fact that a cup or two of coffee can actually keep away diseases is mind boggling! It is almost as if coffee contributes to the level of immunity in the body. And I reckon it is more likely to strengthen innate immunity than acquired immunity. A very insightful article Lynne Jaques, thanks.

  49. It’s been widely talked that coffee doesn’t have any good benefits but apparently it does! I think that you should only drink coffee as coffee if you want it to be beneficial though, not those extra fat-free milk cappuccinos that people usually drink. What more you have ingredients that have sugar and milk in them, the less your body gets the good stuff.

  50. I had to come back and read this one again, because I couldn’t remember all the good things that were listed. I remember being excited about this article and some of the similar ones, because I just knew coffee couldn’t be bad, ha ha. I felt the same way about chocolate, and lo and behold…

    I like that these studies were conducted over a long length of time. They seem to have more weight.

    I linked this article in a post I just made. I hope others will find it and enjoy reading it as much as I have.

  51. This is a great and extremely informative post, I was actually getting kind of worried and really thinking about cutting off my cup of coffee that I drink in the morning, because I’ve read in several blogs about coffee addiction and I don’t really want any addictions in my life, but I guess that it actually depends on how you look at that habit, I guess. On the other hand, I had no idea about those facts, as you’ve said, you can have a lot of benefits just by drinking a cup or two of coffee at day, and as a coffee lover I think that’s amazing.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  52. This is the first time I’m hearing about coffee being ‘healthy’ or good for you. Every other article I’ve read has told me to stay far away from coffee and I was actually thinking about giving it up one day. Thank you for that amazing and informative article.

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