Coffee’s origin dates back to 10th century AD, somewhere in Ethiopia where a couple of farmers found out about the energising effect of the local coffee plant. The leaves of the so called ‘magical fruit’ were boiled in water and the beverage was thought to have medicinal properties. Slowly, Coffee travelled across the middle-eastern world and evolved in various ways we have it today.
Originally consumed for its medicinal benefits, in recent years coffee has been at the center of many studies and the results have been quite interesting. Here are a few of them:
1. Coffee is great for your liver
Coffee is said to work wonders for alcoholics, it is said to have protective properties which can curtail liver cirrhosis. Coffee can also prevent people from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A research study led by Duke-NUS graduate Medical school asserted that about four cups of coffee may prove beneficial in preventing the development of Non Alcoholic Fatty Disease.
2. Lessens the risk of Type 2 Diabetes Regular intake of coffee can ward off the risk of Type 2 diabetes, a research conducted by Harvard scholar proved that for each daily cup of coffee taken, risk of diabetes decreases by 9%. A decaf cup lowers the risk by 6%. A diabetic’s body loses its ability to use insulin, thereby failing to regulate glucose or blood sugar effectively. Coffee is also rich in minerals like magnesium and chromium which helps the body use insulin which controls the glucose in our body.
3. Coffee has proven to reduce depression and suicide risk
In a study conducted by the Harvard school of Public Health it was revealed that drinking about four cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of suicide and depression by almost 50 percent. Coffee acts as a mild anti-depressant. It aids the production of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, these neurotransmitters help in bringing down tendencies towards depression amongst people.
4. Protects you from Parkinson’s disease
A study conducted at the McGill University in Montreal indicates that coffee consumption can help people with Parkinson’s disease in controlling their movement. The report further states, "The study is especially interesting since caffeine seems to block a malfunctioning brain signal in Parkinson's disease and is so safe and inexpensive," said Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who penned an accompanying editorial to the study.
5. Reduces the risk of Alzheimer's Disease
People older than 65 years of age who had higher blood level of caffeine were found to develop Alzheimer’s disease about two to three years later than those who were low on caffeine consumption as per a study conducted by researchers in University of South Florida and Miami. In another research conducted in Finland on about 1400 people, it was reported that those who consume 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as compared to non-drinkers.
6. Could reduce chances of skin cancer among women
In a period of study conducted over the span of 20 years by Harvard Medical School in collaboration with an American based medical college, it was revealed that women drinking about 3 cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop skin cancer.
7. Promotes healthy heart functions
People who consume coffee regularly were found to be at a lower risk of heart rhythm disturbances and heart strokes as per a study. The study reported that daily consumption of about 3 cups of coffee are less likely to be hospitalised for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) than nondrinkers.
8. Increases mental sharpness
Caffeine addicts rejoice, those cups of coffee you rushed for to get rid of a brain jam was not a waste. When you are sleep deprived, everything from vigilance, attention, reaction time takes a hike with a cup of coffee. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, a molecule which directs our brain to feel tired.
Also read: (6 Expert Tips to Overcome Mental Stress at Work)
If you are still skeptical, you can give a shot to green coffee as an alternative. Green coffee beans are the unroasted seeds of the plant Coffea Arabica. It is true that many of the natural antioxidants present in coffee beans are lost in the process of roasting, thereby hampering the overall benefits, one can expect from coffee beans. But green coffee beans are not roasted thus are able to retain great amount of Chlorogenic Acid (CGA), which makes them rich in strong antioxidant properties.
However, Dr. Anju Sood, a renowned nutritionist from Bangalore would like to caution.
“Green coffee, is sure very high on antioxidant properties. But coffee, be it regular or green, causes a lot dehydration. Essential vitamins and water soluble minerals are also flushed out of the body because of this dehydration. When natural hydrating process of the body is impeded, it also gives rise to bloating. If you must consume green coffee, it should be in moderation.”
Also read: (Green Coffee Benefits: Just Another Healthy Reason to Drink Up)
The Chlorogenic Acid present in the green coffee beans also works as a metabolism booster. By increasing the Basal Metabolic rate, it minimizes excessive release of glucose from liver into the blood. Our body tends to start burning the stored fat cells, to fulfill its glucose requirement. CGA puts a check on excess glucose being released in the blood, thereby raising our fat burning capability.
Green coffee can have multiple benefits to your skin as well. Because they don’t undergo roasting, the levels of volatile materials like Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid and Theophylline are retained to a great extent. These components prevent appearance of wrinkles. For its richness in fatty acids like Oleic acid and Arahidic acid, green coffee beans also prevent our skin from sagging and discoloration.
Apart from weight loss and skin benefits, green coffee beans also work wonders for blood circulation. Experts have observed, the presence of an active aspirin-like component in the green coffee beans, which prevents our platelets from getting clustered, thereby ensuring our arteries aren’t hardened, which in turn ensures a smoother flow of blood.
Ah coffee! The name itself is enough to create a rush of excitement among caffeine lovers. You need it when you are low, you need it when you are happy, you need it when you are tired, you need it first thing in the morning, you even need it late in the evenings. And then there are those who speak against the excess intake of the beverage. No matter which side of the debate you are on, the popularity of coffee is not something to scoff at.
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.