Having a cup of coffee in the morning is as natural to most people as opening their eyes and getting out of bed. Studies show that 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of java a day.
While previous research has touted the dangers of coffee — like stomach ulcers and heartburn — over the last few decades, more and more health professionals are now exposing the good that a cup of joe can do for you.
Coffee drinkers have an 11 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than non drinkers, according to a study. Regular coffee consumers who drink between two to four cups a day can also lower their risk of stroke. That makes sense, according to heart experts, because of coffee’s positive effect on blood vessels. They keep them open, healthy and flexible, thus reducing the risk of the illness atherosclerosis, a disease that causes both plaque buildup in and hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis has been directly linked to heart attacks.
Those who drink coffee have also been found to have a lower risk of liver cancer. That is due in part to coffee being high in antioxidants. Antioxidants work within the body to fight oxidative damage which can cause cancer. Also, those who opt for the brew are also known to have longer lives. Another study found that coffee drinkers were less likely to die prematurely than those who didn’t drink coffee.
Naturally occurring chemicals in coffee have been know to reduce inflammation in the body that is linked to age-related health issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The metabolic process that influences and accelerates aging is also known to be slowed down by drinking coffee.
This is not to say that people should chug down gallons of coffee a day, because the amount of caffeine contained in each cup — 95 mg — could cause those who overindulge to be prone to headaches, irritability and fatigue. Too much consumption has also been known to cause irritation and disruptions to the body’s digestive tract.
But much of the previous bad health news on coffee was unfounded. Despite caffeine providing a significant boost to the heart and bloodstream, recent studies found no significant link between caffeine and irregular heartbeats, heart attack or stroke. Also, there was no link that showed coffee drinkers were at higher risk for diseases like cancer or heart problems overall.
Like with everything in our diet, it’s best to imbibe this deep, rich beverage in moderation. Studies have shown that most Americans only drink one cup a day, but the amount of coffee which is in the safe range to drink daily is actually between two to four 8-ounce cups. This is because, according to these individual studies, each cup after your first could possibly bring you closer to better health.
Ronke Idowu Reeves is a writer and journalist who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her news and entertainment stories have appeared on WABC-TV-New York, Fox News Channel, VH1, BET.com plus in Sundance Film Festival’s Sundance Daily Insider and People Magazine.