5 Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee

The next time you enjoy a cup of coffee, enjoy the fact that it may be protecting your health.

If you're sensitive to caffeine, there's no doubt that drinking coffee, especially multiple cups of coffee, may have some adverse effects, such as nervousness, restlessness, stomach upset and insomnia.  And if you're a long-time, heavy coffee drinker and you suddenly quit, you may experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, confusion, and mild depression. These are all symptoms associated with caffeine, however, and they are likely to affect you only if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Coffee contains many chemicals other than caffeine, including some that appear to be good for you, such as disease-fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. If you drink several cups a day without suffering side effects, you may well be reaping a variety of health benefits. Coffee does a few things you may not know about, such as:

Lowers blood sugar. And as a result, at least eight clinical studies have shown that heavy coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nondrinkers and those who limit themselves to just one or two cups.

Protects against dementia and Parkinson's Diseases. Since type 2 diabetes is linked to dementia and coffee lowers the risk of developing diabetes, this may be the link.

Increases your resting metabolic rate. Your resting metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn calories when you're doing nothing more than sitting around breathing.

Lowers your risk of developing liver and colon cancer. And at the same time, coffee is unlikely to increase your risk of developing any type of cancer.

Fights cell damage. Coffee naturally contains more antioxidants than green tea, and roasting the beans brings out even more beneficial substances.  Antioxidants interfere with a normal body process known as oxidation, which damages and destroys healthy cells and leads to disease.

And here's a bonus: Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees contain substances known to raise both total and LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels. But if you use a filter when you brew, coffee won't raise your cholesterol because the filter catches these substances before they drip into your cup.  So if you're concerned about cholesterol on the rise, stay away from espressos, lattes, and instant and pressed coffees.




Harvard Medical School: Health Communications



Kansas State University: Nutrition News



Oregon State University/Linus Pauling Institute: Coffee