Fifty-four percent of Americans drink coffee daily. And no wonder. It tastes great and gives you a kick start in the morning. Of course, coffee has many health benefits as well.
Let’s look at some of the most recent research into six great benefits of coffee — and, more specifically, caffeine.
No. 1: Drinking coffee = lower colon cancer risk
In a 2016 observational study, researchers compared the coffee-drinking habits of more than 9,000 adults. They found coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. Plus, the more coffee consumed, the lower their risk.
Drinking coffee may also improve your chances of surviving colon cancer. In fact, according to a 2015 study, colon cancer patients who regularly drink caffeinated coffee have lower risk of tumor recurrence and death.
In this observational study, people with advanced (stage 3) colon cancer who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day lowered their risk of having a recurrence of the disease, or dying from it by a whopping 52 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers. Even those who drank just two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 31 percent less likely than nondrinkers to have a recurrence or to die.
So if we really want to focus on colon cancer prevention, we should replace all the politically correct calls for colonoscopy screenings with refills of coffee instead. (I often report on problems associated with “routine” colonoscopy screenings. In my view, doctors should do more to promote the safe, effective alternatives to colonoscopy. So I have launched the Safe Colon Cancer Screenings Initiative to urge Congress and the FDA to increase public awareness of these alternatives. Please consider joining this important initiative today by visiting www.safecoloncancerscreenings.org and signing our petition, as well as forwarding it to your friends and family.)
No. 2: Sip your way to healthy, cancer-free skin
Drinking coffee may also help lower your risk for skin cancer. In a recent observational study, researchers used data from the large, long-term Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They linked higher caffeine consumption with a lower risk of developing the more common form of skin cancer called basal cell.
And in two other recent studies, researchers looked at caffeine consumption and malignant melanoma, the one truly deadly form of skin cancer. Here again, researchers linked higher caffeine intake to a lower risk of developing the disease.
Of course, the Skin Cancer Foundation quickly chimed in, lest the facts convince people. They claim that coffee or caffeine didn’t cause the reduction in risk in these studies. They claim people who drink a lot of coffee tend to work indoors and thus, they get less sun exposure than do people who drink less coffee. As if getting less sun expose is a good thing for your health!
The experts at the Skin Cancer Foundation didn’t seem to consider the health benefits of getting more vitamin D, and being outside in the sun, instead of cooped up in airless, artificially lit office spaces.
And where did they get the idea that people who work outside don’t drink a lot of coffee? Try showing up at a construction site at 5 a.m. in the cold or rain, and take a look at who is consuming how much coffee. Whenever I have a work crew come on site, I always get a big “box of joe” for them at Dunkin Donuts. By the time they finish the job, the coffee is gone.
And that point brings us to the next benefit of coffee — increased physical performance.
No. 3: Older coffee drinkers have more physical energy
In another recent study, researchers looked at 19 healthy older adults between the ages 61 and 79 who drank four cups of instant coffee or two cups of filtered coffee just before exercising.
The coffee drinkers exerted more effort in their workout compared to people who didn’t get a coffee boost. They also performed better at tasks like arm curls and a six-minute walk. Their manual dexterity also improved. (Nothing about these studies says it was caffeine specifically versus all the other phytochemicals in coffee that caused the effects.)
No. 4: Coffee drinking linked to better cardiovascular health
Studies also link drinking three to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, according to an observational study, drinking caffeinated coffee does not appear to increase your risk of developing the most common type of irregular heart rhythm. One of the myths against coffee had been that, as a stimulant, it would aggravate the heart leading to heart beat irregularities — but not according to this study.
Of course, coffee improves circulation. Especially to the heart and brain. And that mechanism may help explain why you feel more mentally alert after a cup of coffee. It also may help explain why a little caffeine often helps relieve a headache.
No. 5: Caffeine eases all kinds of pain
Many over-the-counter pain relievers combine ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin with caffeine. These combinations seem to work on headaches better than the painkiller alone. (Of course, regardless of whether it contains caffeine, you should never chose a product that contains acetaminophen, for reasons I’ve explained before.)
Many manufacturers market these products as treatments for migraine headaches or menstrual cramps. But those aren’t the only types of pain eased by a dose of caffeine…
In an analysis of four randomized, double-blind studies, researchers found that a single dose of 200 mg of ibuprofen plus 100 mg of caffeine relieved postoperative pain (and migraine pain) significantly better than a placebo over six hours.
Of course, what they should have compared is ibuprofen with and without caffeine. But regardless, you unfortunately can’t commonly find that 200 mg of ibuprofen/100 mg of caffeine combination in drug stores. (Do these researchers ever get out of their labs?)
The good news is, you can achieve the same effect by taking 200 mg of ibuprofen along with a strong cup of coffee.
No: 6: Brew up better brain health
Evidence also links caffeine consumption with better memory and better executive functioning, which includes planning, organizing and time management.
In one recent observational study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, researchers followed healthy older adults with an average age of 74. They found any amount of regular coffee consumption helped men and women boost their brain function.
Lab studies performed on mice also suggest caffeine might even help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
To learn all the other natural approaches you can take to prevent and even reverse dementia, check out my new Complete Alzheimer’s Cure online learning protocol. In this protocol, I give you specifics on how natural approaches like drinking coffee, eating right, taking supplements, exercising, and incorporating mind-body techniques have been scientifically shown to reverse Alzheimer’s disease in a whopping 90 percent of people.
In the meantime, go ahead and enjoy that second (or third) steaming cup o’ joe. Just make sure to skip the artificial sweeteners.
“Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance),” Journal of Clinical Oncology (www.jco.ascopubs.org) 8/17/2015
“Increased caffeine intake is associated with reduced risk of basal cell carcinoma of the skin,” Cancer Res 2012 Jul 1;72(13):3282-9
“Coffee Drinking and Cutaneous Melanoma Risk in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study,” JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst, 2015, 1-9
“Single dose oral ibuprofen plus caffeine for acute postoperative pain in adults,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (www.cochrane.org) 7/14/2015
“Caffeine and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Women at High Vascular Risk,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2013; 35(2): 413-421