In the UK, around 55 million cups of coffee are drunk every day to wake us up, complement a meal or give us a mid-afternoon energy boost. The good news is that as well as tasting and smelling delicious, coffee has many other hidden benefits. Here are just five of them:
1. Coffee could lower your risk of Type II diabetes
Type II diabetes is characterised by increased blood sugars as well as insulin resistance or the inability to produce insulin. Studies suggest that people who regularly drink coffee have 23-50% lower risk of contracting Type II diabetes. A 2009 review of collected data on almost half a million individuals concluded that each daily cup of coffee was linked to reducing that risk by an impressive 7%.
2. Coffee may protect you from Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease most commonly found in people over 65 years old. There is no known cure but it is generally accepted that a healthy diet, regular mental and physical exercise can prevent the disease. Several studies described in the European Journal of Neurology (2002) have added drinking coffee to the list of habits that can reduce your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Coffee makes you happier!
Although many of us do not need a scientific review to tell us that, in 2011 a Harvard study concluded that women who drank at least four cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of depression by 20%. A 1996 study also revealed that 208,424 people who drank that same amount of coffee were 53% less likely to commit suicide.
4. Coffee may help your heart
Coffee is not, as has been suggested, linked to heart disease. The myth came about because caffeine is known to slightly and temporarily increase blood pressure; this is not a problem to anyone who does not suffer from existing high blood pressure. A Chinese study in 2008 did, however, find that coffee is linked to a diminished risk of coronary heart disease in women, whilst the American Heart Association published data that high coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and having a stroke.
5. Coffee could be good news for your liver
The liver is a very complicated, important and often abused organ which carries out hundreds of functions. But the good news is coffee might well help to protect this vital organ. An American study published in 2006 concluded that drinking four cups of coffee a day is associated with a decrease in risk of cirrhosis (disease of the liver) and can help mitigate liver damage caused by alcohol. Not a reason to drink more alcohol - but surely another incentive to have another cup of coffee!