Health Benefits Of Black Coffee
Coffee is definitely not a new invention – people have been drinking it for the past few centuries, if not longer, especially black coffee. It got to the point where plenty of people can’t imagine themselves surviving the morning without a cup of this brewed beverage first.
However, despite its popularity, not many know that aside from being a great way to start the day, black coffee is also very beneficial for one’s health, as several studies have shown before. Although not all the benefits of dark coffee are known to humans, as there’s still a lot of research going on, the list that we do have is already pretty impressive. So, let’s just get into it.
Reduced Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
Alzheimer’s is a disease that affected more than 6 million Americans in 2021, and the number will only grow in the following years. What’s more, it is estimated that around 60 to 70% of dementia cases are actually caused by Alzheimer’s.
Recent studies showed that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is lower in those who drink coffee regularly when compared to those who don’t. What’s more, black coffee also decreases the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease.
One of such studies was performed by the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto – the researchers used three different samples of Starbucks VIA instant coffee and analyzed their chemical compounds. Next, they exposed extracts from those samples to two proteins that form clumps in the brain during the progression of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The samples prevented the clumps from forming. What’s more, researchers also noticed that dark roast and decaffeinated dark roast coffee worked more efficiently than light roast, which led them to believe that phenylindanes are responsible for this result and not caffeine, as there was no difference between regular and decaffeinated coffee.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Another health benefit of coffee is that it might prevent a person from developing some forms of cancer, such as oral cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, or prostate cancer. Unfortunately, it is still not fully known why that is the case – some suggest it might be due to the fact that coffee is high in antioxidants, while others think caffeine is responsible for it.
What’s more, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2015 looked at the connection between malignant melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) and coffee intake. Researchers involved over 450,000 non-Hispanic white participants, asked them questions about their coffee intake, and then followed them for about 10 years to see whether they developed malignant melanoma or melanoma in situ (the non-invasive type).
The results showed that those who drank at least four cups of coffee per day (especially black coffee) had a lower risk of developing malignant melanoma than those who didn’t drink coffee at all. The research also showed no connection between melanoma in situ and drinking coffee.
Drinking black coffee can help in losing weight. It is important to remember, though, that just drinking black coffee is not enough – a healthy diet and regular exercise are also important factors. There are a few reasons why black coffee works perfectly as a boost to your weight loss. Black coffee:
- Contains chlorogenic acid, which decreases the amount of glucose produced by your body.
- Contains caffeine, which stimulates your metabolism and increases your energy levels – that’s why many people drink it before their workout. Simply speaking, coffee helps you burn body fat more quickly.
- Does not contain fat or cholesterol. What’s more, it is also very low-calorie, which means that you don’t gain weight from drinking it – one cup of regular coffee brewed from ground coffee beans contains about two calories.
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
A person suffering from diabetes has too much glucose in their body, as the disease influences how the body processes it. Their organism becomes resistant to insulin and is not able to uptake glucose into the cells. There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are chronic. Gestational diabetes usually affects women during pregnancy, and contrary to the two other types, it usually goes away after the child is born.
So, what is the relation between diabetes and coffee? Well, some suggest that coffee helps in type 2 diabetes prevention – the statement was confirmed by researchers from Harvard in a study published in 2014. The researchers selected a group of over 100,000 people and tracked them for around 20 years, sending them a food-frequency questionnaire every four years or so.
The results showed that those who increased the amount of coffee they consume by more than one cup a day were 11% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, those who decreased it by the same amount were 17% more likely to develop it. What’s more, there was no difference between those who drink tea.
It is not clear what is the reason behind it. Some thought it might be caused by caffeine; however, that is unlikely as caffeine has been shown to actually increase insulin and glucose levels.
Liver cancer might not be the only liver disease that coffee can help prevent. Liver cirrhosis is a disease that ultimately leads to the death of liver tissue, and some studies suggest that black coffee might be able to prevent it. Especially worth noting is a study performed on people with liver disease – according to the results, those who drank at least four cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop liver cirrhosis than non-drinkers.
This is one of coffee’s health benefits that still needs some research. Although the current information is very promising, some further studies still need to be done to understand to what extent drinking coffee protects the liver.
Improved Mood and Energy Levels
This one is probably a no-brainer. After all, there’s a reason why so many people start their morning with a cup of hot, brewed black coffee. The main reason for the energy boost is caffeine, which, technically speaking, is a drug enhancing brain function and affecting your central nervous system.
The first effects of caffeine can be felt within 5 to 30 minutes of drinking coffee and can last even up to 12 hours. However, it is important to notice when and for how long you will experience the effects is heavily influenced by factors such as weight or coffee tolerance. For example, a person who weighs 150lb and never drinks coffee will experience its effect more intensively than a person who weighs 260lb and drinks at least one cup of coffee per day.
An interesting study was performed on a group of 59 people. It compared the effects of regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and a placebo drink on the participants’ mood and brain function. According to the results, regular coffee was more effective in increasing awareness and decreasing reaction time compared to the placebo drink. It was also better at decreasing tiredness and headaches compared to decaffeinated coffee.
What’s more, decaffeinated coffee also increased awareness and decreased reaction time in comparison to the placebo drink. There are two possible explanations of this result – either decaffeinated coffee can have a placebo effect, or there is some other component responsible for coffee’s cognitive effects and not caffeine.
Coffee and Depression
One of the less-known health benefits of black coffee is its connection with depression symptoms. Depression is a mental health condition that affects millions of people all over the world every year. Some common symptoms include losing interest in things that used to bring joy, low energy levels, and concentration issues.
The most commonly used treatment when it comes to depression is medication. However, according to research, people drinking coffee are more likely to experience less severe symptoms of depression than those who don’t drink it at all. Of course, coffee is not a magical potion and will not make all the symptoms disappear, but it can make living with depression more bearable.
What’s more, coffee consumption has been linked to decreased risk of depression, and a recent research review, published just a few years ago confirmed that there is a relation between the two, and those who drink black coffee are less likely to become depressed.
Boosted Antioxidants Levels
Another one of black coffee benefits is the increased level of antioxidants. To put it simply, those are molecules that fight free radicals, which can cause significant harm to your body if there are too many of them. Free radicals have been linked to plenty of different diseases, including cancer, asthma, senile dementia, inflammatory joint disease, and more.
Antioxidants are produced in our body – however, those quantities are not enough, which is why we still get the majority of them from food and drinks. Black coffee is one of the best ways to boost their level in the body.
Additionally, black coffee contains some other nutrients that are essential for the human body to function correctly. Some of those include Vitamin B2, B3, and B5, as well as Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese.
Coffee drinkers urinate more often than those who don’t drink it. While it might be annoying for some, as it means more frequent visits to the bathroom, this is actually a good thing, as it helps keep the body clean. After all, urination allows it to get rid of all harmful bacteria and viruses. As a result, coffee drinkers also get sick less than their non-coffee drinking friends.
Decreased Risk of a Heart Disease
Coffee drinkers are less likely to experience heart failure. A research review published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation: Heart Failure analyzed the results from three different studies – the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, and the Cardiovascular Health Study. Combined, these studies analyzed over 21,000 people in their adulthood who drank up to three cups of coffee a day, with an average follow-up period of 10 years.
The results showed that coffee drinkers had a lower long-term risk of heart failure when compared to non-coffee drinkers. To be precise:
- the Framingham Heart Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study showed a 5 to 12 percent lower risk of heart failure in those drinking one cup of coffee a day compared to those who don’t drink it at all
- the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study showed a 30% lower risk of heart failure in those drinking at least two cups of coffee daily
- decaffeinated coffee increased the risk of heart failure in the participants of the Framingham Heart Study.
What’s more, black coffee is generally good for cardiovascular health as it increases your heart rate. Drinking a few cups of black coffee has the same effect as going on a walk, which keeps you in good shape.
However, just like with weight loss, this does not mean that you can completely skip exercising just by drinking coffee – there needs to be a balance. Besides, regular exercise is better for your body and mental health than coffee ever could be.
The Bottom Line
Without surprise, coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world – just in the United States, over 400 million cups of coffee are consumed every day. For many, a good hot cup of joe is the only right way to start the day – we can’t blame them, as even research confirms that coffee does have a positive effect on the brain and energy levels.
However, as you can see above, this is not the only benefit of drinking black coffee daily – there are plenty of other health benefits of coffee. Unfortunately, not all of them are known yet, as scientists continue to perform research as the years go by and find more and more evidence of how beneficial coffee is for the human body. Will we ever learn the full extent of black coffee’s health benefits? Only time can tell.