Cup Of Joe: 5 New And Improved Health Benefits Of Coffee, Backed By Science

Woman taking coffee from barista
Sip on this and learn the new and improved perks of coffee — from warding off diabetes to gum disease — for a clean bill of health. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Your morning cup of Joe has been a longstanding victim of health experts who warn about the risks of excessive consumption. Its bad rep has at one time or another led you to say “I will give up coffee,” to show a health-conscious effort. While many coffee drinkers most likely won’t switch their mugs for tea cups, or give up caffeine altogether, recent studies suggest your hot morning brew may be just what the doctor ordered — in moderation.

Coffee is a beverage that contains hundreds and hundreds of different compounds that can lead to different health outcomes — some good and some bad. The very complex nature of this beverage is what leads scientists to encounter conflicting findings, which is why there are studies on coffee that focus on very specific health effects. Studies are continuously conducted to better reflect the overall health effect of America’s most popular beverage.

Corresponding to the numerous literature on coffee and health, Dr. Rob van Dam, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, suggests the overall evidence is coffee is good for people in general — outside a few populations, such as pregnant women. In general, coffee is one of the good, healthy beverage choices. So, coffee lovers, you can have your cup of java and drink it, too. 

1. Decreases Type 2 Diabetes Risk

As obesity continues to be a national epidemic and a major contributor to some of the leading causes of death in the U.S., it’s important to take preventive measures against weight-related diseases like type 2 diabetes. A recent study published in the journal Diabetologia found higher coffee consumption was associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk. Participants who increased their coffee intake by more than one cup per day over the course of four years, had an 11 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next four years. The average coffee consumption was about 1.69 cups per day.

Dr. Jeff McCombs, a chiropractic in Ventura, Calif., and expert on candid and the negative effects of antibiotics, believes coffee consumption can impact conditions affiliated with diabetes. “Since diabetes, is associated with obesity and Alzheimer's disease, there is a possibility that coffee consumption may impact these conditions,” he told Medical Daily in an email. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found caffeine served as a protective factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  

2. Prevents Eye Damage

Coffee contains antioxidants, specifically chlorogenic acid (CLA), which may help protect the retina and prevent retinal degeneration. A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found when mice were penetrated with chlorogenic acid, it actually did not end up developing any retinal damage. The study warrants further investigation to determine whether chlorogenic acid crosses the blood-retinal barrier. Optometrists like Dr. Jeffrey Anshel in Encinitas, Calif., president of Ocular Nutrition Society, suggests taking this study with a grain of salt. “It might be the "additives" to coffee that affect its antioxidant potential, but the jury is still out on those effects,” he told Medical Daily.

3. Prevents Tooth Loss

Drinking a cup of coffee — caffeinated or decaf — can actually be good for your dental health. The antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory factors in the beverage are suspected to help reduce the number of teeth with periodontal bone loss, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology. The potential health benefits of these antioxidants is contingent on how the body absorbs and utilizes them.

4. Prevents Parkinson’s Disease

Drinking coffee appears to reduce, or delay, the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD), making caffeine the casual factor. A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE found individuals who had the variant of the GRIN2A gene and consumed caffeine had significantly lower chances of developing the condition. It is believed that caffeine is able to integrate with a dopamine receptor that is needed to regulate the flow of calcium into the cell. However, people with Parkinson’s who have certain genetic variations cannot reap the benefits of a cup of coffee.

5. Prevents Tinnitus

A noise or ringing in the ears can be burdensome to those with the most sensitive of ears. Female patients with tinnitus, a condition characterized by ringing, swishing, or other noises that tend to originate in the ear, or head, can be prevented with just drinking one to two cups of coffee, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine. Researchers found the more caffeine was consumed, the less tinnitus was diagnosed in women. However, drinking about five cups of coffee a day was associated with a 15 percent more likelihood of developing the condition.

Remember, drink your coffee responsibly.

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