Coffee Is Healthy? - The Health Benefits Of Coffee

by Bill Jamison

Coffee isn't just one of the world's favorite beverages; there is a mounting body of evidence that it may have health benefits - as well as health risks.

The link which was once thought to exist between coffee, heart disease, cancer and other diseases may have been largely due to the participants in earlier studies on coffee being smokers as well as coffee drinkers.

Coffee, in many circles is now thought to be beneficial to your health.

Caffeine is the best known psychoactive substance in coffee and caffeine is responsible for many of the effects of coffee, for both good and ill. Individuals who consume four or more cups of coffee daily may experience side effects including anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping, although these effects are largely limited to people who are sensitive to caffeine. The results of the studies performed thus far seem to indicate that in order to derive the maximum benefits from coffee, consumption should be limited to two or three cups daily and that the beverage should be taken without milk or sugar.

One of the benefits of coffee which is well known is heightened alertness; an effect which can be helpful when performing many common tasks. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology revealed that students who had consumed caffeine were better able to spot grammatical errors in text, particularly subject-verb agreement and tense errors, although their ability to spot misspellings was not affected.

Caffeine has also been linked to a lower risk of depression. A Harvard University study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that drinking 2 - 3 cups of coffee daily decreased the incidence of depression in women by 15%, with participants drinking 4 or more cups daily having a 20% lower risk. The results of this study indicate the beneficial effects of caffeine over the release of mood-affecting neurotransmitters.

In animal studies, one of the many chemical compounds found in coffee was shown to increase levels of Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor, a hormone thought to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The study, which was published in The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, involved amounts of coffee equivalent to 4 - 5 cups for humans.

Coffee may also be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, according to the results of a Harvard School of Public Health study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Men who drank at least six cups of coffee per day were found to have a risk of developing the most deadly form of prostate cancer which was 60% lower than that of the control group. These participants were also found to have a 20% lower risk of all forms of prostate cancer.

Drinking coffee on a daily basis might also reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common forms of cancer. A joint study by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that drinking 3 or more cups of coffee per day resulted in a 20% lower risk of basal cell carcinoma in women and a 9% lower risk in men. The study's findings were presented to the American Association for Cancer research.

About the Author: