Enjoying a cup of coffee while reading this story? Well, keep sipping away because several studies have proven that there is several health benefits associated with coffee.
These studies have revealed that coffee is a good source of antioxidants, an important compound that protects your body from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses' Health Study (in Australia) showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in those 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.
Another growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to non-drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and dementia. According to a recent Australian study of nearly 458,000 people, the results revealed a 7% drop in the odds of having type 2 diabetes (for every additional cup of coffee drunk daily). There were similar risk reductions for decaf coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. This is attributed to the fact that coffee also contains minerals such as magnesium and chromium, which help the body use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar (glucose). In type 2 diabetes, the body loses its ability to use insulin and regulate blood sugar effectively.
Coffee has also been known to lift your mood, make you happier, make you feel better and can help alleviate depression. Have a headache? Drink a cup of coffee. It's been shown to help people get rid of their headaches.
However like all the good things in life, moderation is the key. Caffeine raises your blood pressure so if you are going to drink a lot of coffee, think about switching to decaf. Remember just because you are drinking decaf it does not mean you are getting less antioxidants. Rather the contrary, because decaf has the same antioxidant benefits as regular coffee. Doctors have recommended not more than two cups of coffee a day to realise the true health benefits that coffee has to offer.
Ladies, if you are worried about your diet, fear not because you won't break your calorie budget on coffee - until you start adding the all the little extras. According to the web site myfoodapedia.gov (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Centre for Nutrition Policy and Promotion), a 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories. Add some half & half and you'll get 46 calories. If you favour a liquid non-dairy creamer that will set you back 48 calories. A teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories.