Is coffee good for you?

by Alex Chapman

For many people, a daily cup of coffee is non-negotiable. There's something to be said about the familiarity of a morning ritual spent nursing a hot mug of freshly brewed coffee. Plus, the enjoyable experience of drinking a smooth and full-bodied quality coffee is second to none.

While the pleasure of consuming coffee is undeniable for enthusiasts of the drink, the question of how healthy coffee actually is is often posed. To answer this question, we've broken down evidence-based facts about whether drinking coffee is good for your health. Spoiler alert: coffee drinkers are going to be happy with the answer.

Shallow Focus of Coffee Beans on White Ceramic Cup


Drinking coffee helps with heart health

The heart is one of the most vital organs of the human body, pumping blood to hundreds of trillion cells. So, the importance of maintaining its health is of utmost importance. That's where drinking coffee can come in. Many studies have linked improved heart health to consuming coffee, and the caffeinated drink is proven to lower the risk of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease.

An American study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found that people who drink coffee each day can reduce their risk of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease by 7%, 8% and 5%, respectively.

However, it's important to note that these studies have all been linked to caffeinated coffee. So, if you're a decaf coffee drinker, you won't reap the same heart health benefits. These studies are also linked to black coffee, including creamy and sugary products in your cuppa may negate these benefits.

People who drink coffee have improved physical performance

Coffee drinkers will have no doubt experienced the adrenaline kick that comes with consuming coffee: primarily attributed to its caffeine levels. However, coffee doesn't just provide a boost in focus, but it has also been found to enhance athletic performance.

Both coffee and caffeine have proven to be ergogenic aids in humans. The athletic performance properties of caffeinated coffee have been studied for over 100 years and have shown that the drink can increase muscular strength, improve circulation and endurance.

Increased physical performance is stimulated by caffeine through the adenosine receptors in the brain, these receptors lead to an increase in the production of adrenaline, this triggers energy production and as a result, blood flow to the muscles and the heart is improved.

Another study has shown that consuming a rich caffeinated coffee along with some carbohydrates coffee post-workout can increase muscle glycogen by 66%. What better excuse do you need to kick back with a smooth, fragrant cup of coffee paired with a delectable croissant after a strenuous gym session?

person making latte art

Coffee can help liver health

The good news just keeps coming for coffee drinkers: coffee consumption has been linked to increased liver health and the prevention of liver cancer.

A study, published in June of this year, has produced some damning evidence linking liver health and coffee intake. The research found coffee drinks had a 21 percent reduced risk of liver disease and a 49 percent lower risk of death compared to non-coffee drinkers. The study also found that the benefits were much more highly evident in those who drank ground coffee, rather than instant coffee.

Coffee consumption was also found to not only help prevent liver problems and liver cancer but also help those who already have liver problems. Studies found that coffee drinks that already have liver disease have lower odds of developing cirrhosis.

Coffee beans are packed with anti-oxidants

Anti-oxidants are essentially substances that negate the harmful effect of free radicals that can cause damage to cells within the body. Anti-oxidants are hugely beneficial for the body because they neutralize these molecules and allowing the cells and tissues to maintain their health.

Coffee beans are rich in several powerful disease-fighting antioxidants, in fact, a single cup can contain up to 200 to 550 milligrams. A 2010 review that studied the number of antioxidants in over 3000 different foods and beverages, found coffee to be the 11th highest consumable packed with the free radical fighting substances.

By blocking the harmful effects of free radicals, antioxidants can help your immune system function more effectively, help repair DNA and cell membranes, and alleviated chronic inflammation, a driving force for many health problems.

Consuming coffee can increase brain function

It's unlikely that you needed another reason to enjoy a fresh brew of exceptional, velvety expresso, but, just in case you did: the magic effect of quality coffee beans can actually make you smarter. Of course, all coffee drinks know that caffeine is a primary ingredient in the beverage.

Caffeine consumption allows for the levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine to increase. Neurotransmitters are essentially chemical messengers in the brain that create beneficial reactions, like improved mood and increased alertness.

In fact, caffeine consumption has been linked to improved mood, memory, vigilance, reaction time and energy levels. Time to pop your kettle on and grab your coffee beans from the cool, dark place you've been storing them to preserve their expertly crafted flavour notes. [insert hyper link to how to store your coffee article]

Drinking coffee is proven to help prevent Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease affects 10% of the Australian population over 65 and is a devastating condition for both the patient and their loved ones. It's a form of dementia that affects the brain and causes memory loss, amongst other symptoms. Many studies have linked coffee consumption to a dramatic reduction in developing the disease. These studies have shown that people who consume three to five cups of coffee per day in middle age can reduce their chance of developing the disease by a massive 65%.

Coffee can also help prevent Parkinson's disease

With its myriad of health benefits, sipping on a warm, aromatic cup of java isn't just enjoyable - it's actually a conscious move that you can make to improve your overall health. Along with the number of benefits listed above, coffee drinkers can also list lowering their risk of Parkinson's as one of the health benefits they're actively assisting their bodies with.

Parkinson's disease is essentially caused by the loss of nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine produces pleasurable, excited and europhoric feelings. A compound called Eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide is found in coffee, and research has shown that when it's paired with caffeine it can slow down the progression of neurodegeneration. In relation to Parkinson's disease, this means that these two substances can help stop the degeneration of dopamine, helping to prevent the disease.

person holding white ceramic cup with hot coffee

Are there any negative health benefits of consuming too much coffee?

The health benefits of coffee are indisputable and that it's been proven to help prevent many different diseases. However, not all coffee is created equal - and excessive consumption can actually be unhealthy. Below, are a few factors to keep in mind when consuming coffee, so that you don't negatively affect your health.

Bad quality coffee can be toxic to your health

While coffee certainly has a number of positive health benefits, these health benefits will only be enjoyed if the coffee you're consuming is of good quality. There are many sub-par brands on the market that can actually be toxic to your health. Some cheaper coffees may use lower quality beans, which amplify toxins. Similarly, when a bean isn't harvested properly, there may be impurities like dirt, twigs and sticks in the product. Both of these scenarios can cause negative health effects like headaches, bloating, nausea and general sickness.

At Glass House Mountains Coffee you can trust that we only provide the highest product. We grow our beans in cool mountain temperatures all over the world, this produces a slower growth cycle, ensuring that the bean is fully matured and at its highest quality. Our coffee picker's skills are similarly refined, and many of the coffee nurturers are third-generation families with coffee in their veins.

Too much coffee can be determinantal to your health

As the saying goes, "all good things in moderation", and it applies to coffee consumption, too. While the delectable taste of a high-quality, well-refined coffee can make it easy to knock back cup after cup - especially when you find your perfect blend - drinking too much can have some negative health effects.

The caffeine component of coffee has many health benefits, but excessive caffeine consumption can also be bad for your health. Excessive caffeinated coffee drinking can cause increased heart and breathing rate, increase blood pressure, cause stomach upset and nausea and increase your risk of heart disease.

But how much coffee is too much? An Australian study has found that it's unhealthy to consume more than six cups a day with the healthy intake sitting at around 3 cups per day. If you're a coffee devotee and love to sip cup after cup all day long, you can switch over to a decaf coffee once you've reached a healthy limit per day.

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