1. Coffee Energizes
Caffeine is an adenosine-receptor antagonist that prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter, from binding to receptors. Normally, adenosine slows neural activity and causes sleepiness; by blocking adenosine, caffeine keeps you awake.
Also, caffeine signals the body to produce adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone that increases energy levels and attention. Caffeine signals the pituitary gland to produce hormones, and those hormones signal the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline. Next time you're craving coffee, it's probably because you need the energy boost it provides. (The Brain From Top To Bottom)
2. Coffee Helps You Lose Weight
According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, caffeine speeds up the process of thermogenesis (the dissipation of energy through the production of heat) and thus the process of burning fat, though scientists have not yet discovered how caffeine stimulates thermogenesis.
During the study, participants were given either a placebo or 100, 200, or 400 mg of oral caffeine. Those who were given more caffeine had a higher level of caffeine in their blood plasma, higher energy expenditure, and a higher thermogenic response. It looks like a cup of coffee may be just the thing you need to kickstart your weight loss journey! (Oxford Academic)
3. Coffee Reduces the Risk of Depression
A study by scientists at Harvard University found that daily consumption of caffeine reduced the risk of depression in women. Another study found a similar link between higher caffeine consumption and lower rates of depression, and several studies suggest that drinking caffeinated coffee also reduces the risk of suicide.
The authors of the Harvard study, though, point out that more research on this subject is needed before any strong conclusions are drawn. And the study did not show how caffeine may prevent or treat depression. (JAMA Network)
4. Coffee is Used as a Coping Mechanism
Stress causes a variety of symptoms, like fatigue and anxiety, and coffee is one of many substances to which people turn during times of stress.
Many people use coffee as an emotional aid during times of stress because it raises energy levels and combats fatigue, and because it's a familiar, comforting drink. (Healthline)
5. Coffee May Prevent Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
Three out of five studies reviewed in a 2010 article in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease showed that coffee can protect against dementia and Alzheimer's disease. This is certainly good news! One study in particular, the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study, found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day during midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/Alzheimer's disease by about 65% in late life.
Additionally, two studies showed that drinking both tea and coffee can have a positive effect on cognition. Studies that involved drinking only tea showed less evident protective effects against cognitive diseases. (PubMed)
6. Coffee Has Lots of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a super important part of our diets. They can help reduce inflammation and maybe even prevent cancer.
Coffee contains lots of antioxidants, including hydrocinnamic acids and polyphenols. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can be harmful in large amounts, by "donating" electrons to the free radicals. This keeps the free radicals from damaging our proteins and DNA. (Healthline)
7. Caffeine Strengthens Human DNA
A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that daily consumption of dark roast coffee stabilized participants’ DNA by decreasing spontaneous strand breaks. This is important because strand breaks can cause health issues like cancer.
During the study, half of the participants consumed cold brew every day for four weeks, while the rest of the participants consumed water every day for four weeks. After the four weeks were up, the participants who’d been assigned to drink coffee had significantly fewer DNA strand breaks. (PubMed)
8. Coffee Reduces Hunger
It looks like a coffee craving can help reduce food cravings. According to researcher Matt Schubert, “Anecdotally, people have reported feeling less hungry after consuming a coffee," so he set out to study how the drink affects your appetite.
During trials, some research participants were given caffeinated coffee during breakfast and lunch, while others were given decaf coffee or caffeine alone (not in coffee). Researchers found that hunger decreased and fullness increased among those who drank caffeinated coffee, and not among those who consumed decaf coffee or just caffeine, suggesting that caffeinated coffee plays a special role in appetite regulation. (GriffithNews)
9. Coffee Reduces the Risk of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that usually affects people over age 60 and that affects more men than women. It involves tremors, slowed motor functions, and other symptoms, and is caused by the destruction of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.
While no treatment is currently available, many studies and meta-analyses have shown that caffeine consumption reduces or delays the development and risks of Parkinson's disease in men.
The effect of caffeine on Parkinson's disease in women is not as clear, though one study has suggested that coffee is just as protective in women who aren't taking post-menopausal hormones as it is in men, and that caffeine consumption is still protective, but less so, in women who are taking hormones. (Coffee & Health)
10. Your Genes Might Make You Crave Coffee
During a study published in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers confirmed the role of the AHR and CYP1A2 genes in coffee consumption and located six new genetic variants that predict whether you will be a heavy coffee drinker. Next time someone asks why you're craving coffee, it looks like you might be able to blame your genes!
To find these genes, researchers analyzed the genomes of over 120,000 people of European and African-American ancestry. Knowing which genes impact coffee consumption could be important for future research on the health effects of drinking coffee. (Nature)
11. Drinking Coffee May Make Us Happier
By blocking adenosine receptors, caffeine enhances dopamine signaling. Dopamine is one of the hormones responsible for happiness.
Before a 2015 study published in Translational Psychiatry, it was unclear whether caffeine actually stimulated the production of dopamine, or if it just increased the availability of dopamine receptors by blocking adenosine receptors; the study found that the latter is the case. (Nature)
12. Coffee Reduces The Risk of Gout
More good news for your health: a cup of coffee can prevent gout! Gout is a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood, which leads to uric acid crystals being deposited in joints. It's a very painful condition, but fortunately, a study has shown that coffee reduces the risk of developing this disease.
In a study of 46,000 men, researchers found that consuming one to three cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of gout by 8% and that consuming four or five cups a day reduced the risk of gout by 40%. Consuming six or more cups per day reduced the risk of gout by nearly 60%. (WebMD)
13. Coffee Can Cause Caffeine Dependence
Many people say that caffeine is "addictive," but this isn't quite correct. Your body can start to depend on caffeine once you've gotten in the habit of drinking it every day, but coffee withdrawals are much less severe than drug or alcohol withdrawals, so doctors don't consider caffeine dependence an addiction. If you stop consuming coffee, you could have symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating for a few days. Caffeine dependence certainly causes many people to develop a coffee craving! (WebMD)
14. Caffeine Reduces The Risk of Mortality
Caffeine reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions that can cause death. One study published in Circulation, a journal run by the American Heart Association, found that drinking one to five cups of coffee per day was associated with a lowered risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease, neurologic diseases, and suicide. Even high consumption of decaf coffee was associated with less risk of death. (AHA Journals)
15. Coffee Can Give Relief From Headaches
Caffeine can help get rid of headaches because it narrows the blood vessels surrounding your brain and because it reduces inflammation. In fact, some over-the-counter pain relievers contain caffeine; caffeine can make pain relievers up to 40% more effective.
Caffeine is also very useful in treating a rare condition called hypnic headache, which comes on during sleep, causing the person to wake up. Drinking a cup of coffee before bed can prevent these headaches. (WebMD)
16. Coffee Has a Positive Effect on Short-Term Memory
Coffee doesn't just have long-term positive cognitive effects. A study by Johns Hopkins professor Michael Yassa and his team, published in Nature Neuroscience, showed that caffeine can improve memory for at least up to 24 hours after consumption.
During the study, participants who didn't usually consume caffeine studied a series of images and five minutes later were given either a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine. The next day, participants were tested on the images. Participants who'd been given caffeine were better at identifying new images during the test, which suggests that the caffeine improved their short-term memory. Maybe you should drink coffee while studying for your next exam! (Johns Hopkins University)
17. Coffee Improves Concentration
Researchers at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, found that caffeine promoted increased activity in areas of the brain that are involved in planning, attention, monitoring, and concentration. By doing fMRI scans on people who had consumed caffeine, researchers discovered that caffeine stimulated the anterior cingulate and the anterior cingulate gyrus in the prefrontal lobe of the brain.
Another study, published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, found that athletes who consumed caffeine before a training exercise had improved concentration, particularly after a poor night of sleep. (LIVESTRONG)