Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, after water and tea, of course.
For centuries, coffee has greased social interaction and improved productivity. And, because it’s so heavily consumed, coffee is also one of the most researched foods — and the science shows that it can actually be good for your health.
Many people may believe that coffee causes cancer, but that’s incorrect — although, 30 years ago the World Health Organization did classify coffee as possibly carcinogenic. But since then, they’ve reviewed over 1,000 studies on coffee and cancer risk, and reversed their classification in 2016.
Officials found that drinking coffee is not a source of breast, pancreas or prostate cancer, and even said that there was evidence that coffee actually reduced the risk for liver and endometrial cancer.
The source of the potential protective benefits of coffee lies in the biologically active plant chemicals.
Related: Your first cup of coffee might not be helping as much as you think. Here’s why.
Coffee also appears to have an impact on brain health, particularly when it comes to the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Several studies have shown a decreased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in people who routinely drank coffee — although, in some studies, it was difficult to tell if the caffeine alone was producing the benefit.
While the caffeine might be protective against Parkinson’s disease, it is also responsible for many of the negative effects that some coffee drinkers experience. Caffeine can produce an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, irritability, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn and insomnia.
The caffeine in more than 2 cups of coffee per day has also been linked to some adverse pregnancy issues.
Given caffeine’s effect on our cardiovascular system, you might think that coffee would be bad for your heart — but several studies have shown that isn’t true. Drinking coffee actually appears to lower the risk of both heart disease and stroke. Black coffee has also been shown to decrease the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type two diabetes.
The overall effect of drinking coffee appears to be quite positive. One study found that, compared with non-coffee-drinkers, those drinking 6-7 cups each day had a 16% lower risk of early death.
More: Black coffee linked to reduced risk of heart failure, data shows
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