When I was in medical school and residency training, my classmates often relied heavily on a 25-cent “pick-me-up” to get them through the long, grueling days and nights.
Nowadays, that tried-and-true habit may cost you anywhere from $1 to $5 per cup…if you don’t make it at home.
Of course, I initially avoided it because of a misguided reputation that had labeled it a harmful, potentially addictive “crutch.”
But once I started learning about its astounding health benefits, I went ahead and added it to my daily regimen (as many of my classmates had done years earlier).
In fact, modern science has linked it to four MAJOR health benefits…
FOUR major health benefits of drinking coffee
Traditional, brewed coffee contains hundreds of natural, bioactive compounds—most notably, caffeine. And together, these compounds have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects in the body.
Of course, many factors affect how many of the compounds make their way into your coffee cup…
For example, the roast of your coffee (light, medium, and dark) and the way you brew it (standard drip, French press, espresso, and cold brew) can determine which (and how many) compounds you wind up drinking.
But most studies show drinking any type of coffee can help protect you against these FOUR health problems…
1.) Colon cancer. In a 2016 observational study, researchers compared the coffee-drinking habits of more than 9,000 adults. It turns out, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. (Plus, the more coffee consumed, the lower their risk.)
Drinking coffee may improve your chances of surviving colon cancer, too. In fact, according to a 2015 study, colon cancer patients who regularly drank caffeinated coffee had a lower risk of tumor recurrence and death.
Specifically, people with advanced colon cancer who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily, lowered their recurrence and death risk by a whopping 52 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers. Even those who drank just two to three cups a day were 31 percent less likely than non-drinkers to have a recurrence or die.
2.) Skin cancer. In a recent observational study, researchers 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.
3.) Cardiovascular disease. Studies link drinking three to four cups of caffeinated coffee a day to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Of course, some experts used to think that coffee could lead to heartbeat irregularities. But according to a recent observational study, that’s just not true.
Plus, we know that coffee actually improves circulation, especially to the heart and brain. That may help explain why you feel more alert after a cup of coffee. It also may explain why a little caffeine helps relieve a headache.
4.) Brain disease. Evidence also links caffeine consumption with better memory and executive functioning, which includes planning, organizing, and time management. In fact, in one recent observational study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, researchers followed healthy older adults (aged around 74) and found that any amount of regular coffee consumption helped them boost their brain function.
In another recent study, researchers examined the link between coffee consumption and cognitive decline in nearly 600 elderly men. They found that those who drank coffee regularly over the 10-year study had less cognitive decline than those who didn’t. And those who drank at least three cups of coffee a day had the greatest protection against cognitive decline.
Go ahead and pour yourself another cup
Even though some studies on coffee show benefits from drinking decaffeinated coffee, I always encourage you to stay away from it, as manufacturers sometimes use chemical solvents to artificially remove the caffeine.
I also recommend drinking your coffee black or with just a little bit of full-fat, organic milk or cream. This will save money and your health!
(Just say “no” to those overpriced, popular, sickly sweet, coffeehouse concoctions…and to those artificial sweeteners that come in every possible flavor. Instead, you could add a touch of honey or cinnamon to your home-brewed coffee for extra sweetness—or even a dash of cayenne pepper for some extra flavor and heat!)
In other words, go ahead and enjoy that daily “pick-me-up.” And while you’re at it, pour yourself a second (or third) cup, too!
To learn more about the MANY health benefits of coffee, check out the August 2014 issue of Insiders’ Cures, my monthly newsletter (“Coffee: a jolt of good health”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to become one.