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Maintain your sanity as well as your health: Coffee is full of antioxidants
You might joke that you can’t function without your morning coffee, but there could be more truth to that statement than you think. That’s because coffee is full of antioxidants that benefit your health in a surprising number of ways.
In fact, beverages are a far bigger source of antioxidants for most people who consume a Western diet than food. Research published in the Journal of Nutritional Science showed that women get 79 percent of their dietary antioxidants from beverages and just 21 percent from food; coffee was the biggest source in that study. A different study showed that coffee provided 64 percent of people’s total antioxidant intake.
Another study that looked at various foods’ antioxidant content by serving size placed coffee at a respectable 11th on the list, outperformed mostly by various types of berries. However, given the fact that many people don’t eat a lot of berries yet lots of people drink several cups of coffee a day, the total antioxidants contributed by coffee end up being far more than those from berries.
Antioxidants can protect your body from diseases caused by oxidative stress, such as cancer, as well as the aging process, so it’s well worth seeking out coffee if you struggle to consume enough antioxidants otherwise. In particular, it is rich in polyphenols that help prevent several diseases.
How else can coffee benefit your health?
Coffee has been shown to reduce people’s risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 50 percent, with each cup consumed per day linked to a seven percent reduction in risk in a study involving more than 450,000 people. Coffee drinkers have also been shown to have a lower risk of liver cirrhosis, with those who drink four cups or more of java each day enjoying an 80 percent lower risk.
Coffee can also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, liver cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine doesn’t increase your blood pressure by much; the rise tends to be around 3 to 4 mm/Hg, and this small effect tends to dissipate among regular coffee drinkers.
It’s also quite good for your brain, reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 65 percent and Parkinson’s by up to 60 percent. In the case of Parkinson’s, it appears the caffeine also plays a role as the effects aren’t seen in those who drink decaf. It can also enhance your mental health, with women who drink coffee showing a lower likelihood of being depressed or dying by suicide.
As if that weren’t enough, some observational studies have shown that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of death, with two large studies associating drinking coffee with a 20 percent lower risk of death in men and a 26 percent lower risk of women. Should you drink more coffee?
Coffee has been shown to be people’s biggest dietary source of antioxidants in many countries around the world, so consider drinking it if you don’t already. Just be sure you’re not adding sugar to it as this can decrease its beneficial effects. Drinking it black is ideal, but if you add milk of any type, make sure it’s organic and free of fillers and other chemicals.
Although coffee may just be one of the healthiest beverages you can drink, its antioxidant profile isn’t the same as whole plant foods like vegetables and fruits, so don’t rely on it as your only source of antioxidants. A well-rounded diet is always the way to go, but coffee can certainly help ensure you’re getting plenty of polyphenols.