Coffee lovers rejoice: 4 reasons why coffee is good for your health
By Lisa Mulcahy
Love that cup of joe? It's OK to indulge — new science shows that black coffee has excellent benefits, including:
1. Lowering your disease risk. A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study published in the American Heart Assn. journal Circulation found that drinking as many as four cups of coffee a day cut subjects' odds of dying from heart attacks, strokes, Type 2 diabetes and neurological diseases. Scientists think this is because naturally occurring compounds in coffee beans have a positive effect on disease prevention. "Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee contains similar amounts of polyphenols, antioxidants and minerals that may have beneficial effects," says the study's author, Dr. Frank Hu.
2. Improving liver function. Numerous studies recently analyzed by researchers in the United Kingdom found that coffee reduced the risk of liver cirrhosis by 44%; more research is needed to confirm the precise compound that does the trick.
3. Preventing cancer. A study by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that drinking four or more cups of coffee a day (the equivalent of 460 milligrams of caffeine) "may be associated with significantly reduced cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon cancer," perhaps because caffeine cuts inflammation. Previous research indicates that coffee may also reduce your risk of reproductive, breast, bladder and prostate cancer, plus other forms of the disease.
4. Maintaining your weight. A University of Copenhagen study found that coffee consumption was linked to a "low risk" of obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.
So drink up — just go easy on the sugar and cream.