Every year, National Coffee Day falls at the end of September. The actual day has passed–it was yesterday. Reading about all the free coffee that was to be given away in honor of the tasty beverage’s special day not only made me thirsty, it also got me to thinking about “what makes coffee so awesome?” A lot of things actually.
Coffee is more than just caffeine. And research is showing that is actually does a lot more than just wake us up in the morning. Coffee contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium as well as antioxidants (substances that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which damage your cells).These additional ingredients in your morning cup of java are proving in research studies to have really positive effects in preventing heart disease diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
When someone has type 2 diabetes, their body has lost the ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively. The magnesium and chromium found in coffee helps the body use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar (glucose).
When it comes to Parkinson’s disease, it seems that the caffeine in coffee decreases one’s risk of Parkinson’s. But researchers are still not sure the how and why of it.
A long term 20 year study in Finland and Sweden showed that out of 1,400 people followed, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers.
For women coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke. A 2009 study showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in women who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all. That pattern held regardless of whether the women had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes.
So remember when putting that little cup of java to your lips in the morning, it is capable of pretty amazing things besides making you do things faster with more energy. Research is showing that coffee is actually a protective factor (anything that prevents or reduces vulnerability for the development of a disorder)for certain diseases. However, in order to receive all of the health benefits of coffee, avoid the milky, high calorie sugary “coffee” drinks (which aren’t really coffee anyway) and stick to plain old “cup of joe”.
For more information on the health benefits of coffee and the studies done visit: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food