Coffee might actually be very good for you.
You’ve probably heard some of this online in the last couple of days, but not the full story. That’s unfolded over two years, and Facebook and News sites don’t have that kind of memory.
Here’s a litany of documented health benefits of drinking coffee.
Before I go into the list, there are two one big caveats.
- If you drink overly hot beverages of any kind — hot enough to burn the lining of your throat — you can be setting yourself up for Barrett’s Syndrome and esophageal cancer. Aristotle extolled the virtue of moderation, and moderation in this case includes temperature.
- It is possible to overdose on caffeine. I knew someone in college who had to be hospitalized due to excessive consumption of caffeine via a carbonated soda, Tab. In fact, caffeine overdose was cited as the cause of death of a teenage in May of this year. (1) That case was also related to soda, not coffee. Aristotle is correct again. Moderation includes caffeine consumption.
However, there are a number of important documented benefits from drinking coffee:
- People who drink coffee appear to live longer. In an analysis by researchers at the University of Southern California,
Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites.(2, 4)
Previous research by USC and others have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.(4)
According to one of the lead researchers,
“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” Setiawan said. “If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”(4)
- Coffee-drinkers have better sex. According to a report from the University of Texas in 2015, males consuming two to three cups of coffee per day reduce their risk of erectile dysfunction.(5)
- She might actually remember it. Seriously, another study from 2016 supports a role of caffeine helping reduce the risk of dementia among women.(6)
So, enjoy coffee but skip the decaf (unless your doctor says otherwise). Caffeine might actually be good for you.
- Marc J. Gunter et al. Coffee Drinking and Mortality in 10 European Countries: A Multinational Cohort Study. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2017 DOI: 10.7326/M16-2945
- Song-Yi Park et al. Association of Coffee Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Among Nonwhite Populations. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2017 DOI: 10.7326/M16-2472
- University of Southern California. “Drinking coffee could lead to a longer life, scientist says: Whether it’s caffeinated or decaffeinated, coffee is associated with lower mortality, which suggests the association is not tied to caffeine.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170710172118.htm>.
- David S. Lopez, Run Wang, Konstantinos K. Tsilidis, Huirong Zhu, Carrie R. Daniel, Arup Sinha, Steven Canfield. Role of Caffeine Intake on Erectile Dysfunction in US Men: Results from NHANES 2001-2004. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (4): e0123547 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123547
- Ira Driscoll, Sally A. Shumaker, Beverly M. Snively, Karen L. Margolis, JoAnn E. Manson, Mara Z. Vitolins, Rebecca C. Rossom, Mark A. Espeland. Relationships Between Caffeine Intake and Risk for Probable Dementia or Global Cognitive Impairment: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2016; glw078 DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glw078