For several years, it was commonplace to hear only about the dangers of drinking coffee. This was unwelcome news for many of the 108 million Americans (over fifty percent of the population) who regularly drink coffee for the increased energy during the workday. In fact, nearly one-fourth of homes have automatic coffee machines programmed to wake them up to a cup every morning.
Fortunately, many recent studies have shown that coffee may be more healthful than previously thought. Research conducted at the University of Scranton shows that coffee is America’s primary source of antioxidants, which are well known to protect the body from cancer, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. A study from Harvard showed that three cups a day could reduce diabetes by up to ten percent, and six cups may reduce risk by almost fifty-four percent. Regular coffee drinkers are twenty-five percent less likely to develop colon cancer, and half as likely to get gallstones.
Many coffee drinkers use it for the faster reaction time and better verbal memory and short-term recall, and recent studies show that mental benefits may extend far beyond the immediate stimulation. Regular coffee consumption may reduce the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease as well as reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Even the old belief that only the caffeine in coffee was energizing has been challenged by recent research which suggests that it also causes cortisone and adrenaline levels to rise in the body.
Besides being less of a danger than was thought, coffee might actually help to mitigate the effects of other dangerous habits. For instance, heavy drinkers could see an eighty percent drop in the risk of liver cirrhosis and smokers have a reduced chance of heart disease and cancers of the mouth and throat. Coffee may even help stop headaches and prevent cavities thanks to trigonelline, the chemical compound that gives coffee a bitter taste.
So get those coffee machines brewing for that extra cup of java or espresso this morning, America, and drink to your health.