Health Benefits of Coffee: At Least One Will Surprise You!

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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It seems every time I turn around, someone is either telling me that coffee is bad for my health or that I should drink more to be healthy. My thoughts? None of these people have truly spent time researching the health benefits of coffee!

It seems every time I turn around, someone is either telling me that coffee is bad for my health or that I should drink more to be healthy. My thoughts? None of these people have truly spent time researching the health benefits of coffee!

Since I have no plans to ever stop drinking coffee, I did some research so I could come up with useful information to offer in reply to my accusers. After all, they grow tired of my smart remarks and sometimes even get offended.

Is Coffee Healthy?

A person holding their coffee up in the air from their bed

Wow, that’s kind of a loaded question … one that’s both subjective and relative to each person. When it comes down to it, there are indeed health benefits of coffee. However, like all good things, it must be consumed in moderation.

At the end of the day, coffee is healthy when it benefits you and unhealthy when it doesn’t. I know that’s a funny way to answer this question, but isn’t it kind of obvious!

When Is Coffee Healthy?

This is actually a great question! I’m so glad you asked. I like to look at people as holistic beings, so my answer involves physical, mental, social and emotional aspects.

For me personally, coffee does three really important things within the parameters of my day. First and foremost, it helps me wake up in the morning and stay alert when I need to work into the night.

Second, coffee is a very social drink that I enjoy sharing with others. I’m no doctor, but I’ve heard many experts promote the importance of social relationships for our overall well being.

Which leads me to my third point, coffee is enjoyable and drinking it is comforting. It reduces my stress, which many believe to be the number one killer. Emotional stress sets people up for all kinds of negative impacts on their health. Here are just a few I’ve read about:

  • Cancer

  • Dementia

  • Heart disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Liver damage

  • Reckless driving

  • Respiratory issues

  • Personal injury

  • Suicide

So, in my book, since enjoying coffee helps prevent me from having to battle these things, I’m all for drinking it!

When Is Coffee Unhealthy?

A woman with her head down on her desk next to a cup of coffee

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. There are definitely times when coffee is unhealthy, which not only has to do with the anatomy of coffee, but also our personal habits and sugar additives and creamers we put in our coffee.

Anatomy of Coffee

A cup of coffee sitting on a bed

Coffee is a natural substance that is created by mixing water and coffee beans that have been grown using a variety of farming methods. Coffee beans are the core part of coffee cherries and have to be processed before they can be used.

The steps taken in farming and processing can introduce compounds that are bad for our health. A coffee grown using lots of fertilizer, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides carries harmful chemicals into our bodies.

Likewise, chemicals are also present during the roasting of coffee. Some of these are natural byproducts of the roasting, while others are added to aid in the process, such as with some decaf coffee. Check out my article on decaf coffee methods for more information on that.

Regular coffee has caffeine of course. Both decaf and regular coffee are also acidic, which can cause acid reflux and stomach issues. Caffeine and acid can lead to an upset stomach.

Personal Habits

A person working late at their desk with coffee while contemplating the health benefits of coffee

It would be easy to blame coffee for many problems that are merely the result of destructive personal habits. Drinking too much coffee, for example, will affect one’s sleep because of overdosing on caffeine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day. Taking in more than that can create a cycle of sleepless nights, which will take a toll on your health.

Those who are sensitive to the acid in coffee are in a similar boat. Consuming too much acid can cause negative consequences for their digestive system.

Then there’s the pitfall of using coffee to stay awake so we can work long hours. We’ve all done it and it’s really bad for our physical fitness.

Sugar Additives & Creamers

A man holding his fat belly

Without a doubt, there’s a world of difference between black coffee and coffee that has sugar and creamers added in. Processed sugar, in its many forms, contributes to obesity and diabetes.

Sugar alternatives do have their benefits, but how many years did people promote aspartame before it was generally accepted to cause cancer? Mark my words, the day is coming when some of the products that are touted as healthy right now will be labeled as deadly.

Unhealthy Coffee creamers that reduce the health benefits of coffee

Milk, whether it be whole, two percent or skim is overall okay, just so you don’t have too much of it. However, fancy flavored creamers are loaded with a cocktail of compounds, many of which regular people can’t pronounce. So, be wary of any creamers that have an ingredient list that sounds like it was written by wordsmiths and scientists.

All of the above to say, you’re best to drink coffee in moderation. When you do, it’s important that you purchase coffee beans from a roaster who procures their coffee from a known source. While many privately roasted coffees are not certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the farming practices used are often quite favorable.

You also need to stay away from adding sugar and sugar alternatives to your coffee. At the very least, limit how much you add. Avoid artificial creamers as well.

Medical Benefits of Coffee

Let’s beat cancer sign

In addition to the daily health benefits of coffee, you’ll likely be surprised to learn that coffee is being used by some to treat cancer. It’s all very controversial because it’s not profitable to drug companies like chemotherapy and radiation, but the concept of using coffee to treat cancer has been around since the 1920s.

A German doctor named Max Gerson found that using coffee to stimulate the liver in our bodies would detoxify our systems. The Gerson Method, as it’s called, has been used to treat cancer, tuberculosis and numerous degenerative diseases by focusing on the root causes (aka toxicity and nutritional deficiency).

The downside is that you don’t get to drink the coffee the normal way with this method, as it must travel north instead of south. Instead, you eat a plant based diet of vegetables and drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices.

It’s all quite fascinating and definitely worth reading up on. I’ve heard many positive things about the method over the years and believe there’s value to it.

That said, should you choose to explore treatment in this way, I recommend you consult with your doctor and seek counsel from the Gerson Institute as well. They will better be able to guide you than this coffee loving former barista, for sure.

Verdict: The Health Benefits of Coffee

So, there you have it! Coffee can definitely have a positive impact on your health. Keep in mind as you enjoy it to pay attention to your body. You know yourself better than anyone and will be able to determine when coffee is helping and when it is not.

Health Benefits of Coffee FAQ

Yes, coffee has many health benefits, so long as it’s enjoyed in moderation. That said, each person should listen to their own body. If you get a negative reaction from drinking coffee, it’s best to limit or avoid it.

It’s fine to drink coffee on a daily basis. Just keep in mind that the caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that might keep you awake. It also can increase your blood pressure.

Like with all parts of your diet, coffee consumption should be evaluated in light of your overall health. If you have concerns, seek the advice of a licensed health professional.

Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can increase your metabolism, which in turn means you’ll burn more calories.

Numerous studies have shown that coffee drinkers have up to a 65% less chance of developing Alzheimer’s and a 60% less chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, both of which are forms of dementia. Drinking caffeinated coffee is essential in this case, as decaffeinated coffee drinkers did not see the same results.

A lot of studies have been done on this topic. The results show that drinking reduces your risk of getting type two diabetes by up to 67%.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article on the health benefits of coffee. Should you have any questions or comments, please let me know below. 

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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