Like red meat, which I discussed in a previous post, coffee is yet another substance that has unfairly gained a bad reputation in many circles, often from concerns over adrenal issues and old wives' tales about coffee stunting growth. This is unfair because multiple studies have shown that coffee carries many health benefits; however, the quality of the coffee influences whether the findings are positive or negative because poor quality coffee can contain mould toxins.
One of these health benefits is an overall reduced risk of dying. A meta-analysis (often deemed the highest quality of evidence) involving a grand total of 997, 464 participants across the studies analysed found that four cups of coffee daily reduced the all-cause mortality rate by 16%! Three cups per day reduced the cardiovascular disease mortality rates by an average of 21%. This means that out of 100 people who would have all died in a given year, 16 get to live at least another year.
Coffee may also be protective against certain types of cancers. For example, a study in the journal Gastroenterology found that increasing coffee consumption by 2 cups per day can reduce the risk of liver cancer by 43%. A meta-analysis once again showed that regular coffee intake may cut the risk of liver cancer, this time by 50%, with men enjoying a 62% risk reduction. This may be because of coffee's influence on liver detoxification, with its diuretic effect possibly helping to flush out toxins and their metabolites. It is not just liver cancer either: other research has found that four or more cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 59%, and five can cut breast cancer risk by 29% overall, but by 59% for oestrogen receptor negative types. This seems like a lot of coffee, but one of my friends once drank about ten cups every day, and cup size does not seem to be specified.
On top of this, research from the University of Illinois has shown that caffeine may block the brain-based inflammation implicated in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. It can inhibit an enzyme known as caspase-1, which triggers production of interleukin-1beta, a pro-inflammatory chemical. Caffeine's ability to block adenosine receptors is associated with cognitive improvement and protection against Alzheimer's disease. Would Alice Still be Alice? I don't know, that movie is far too depressing for my tastes. Additionally, drinking at least two cups of coffee daily can cut your risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%, but tea, soft drinks and fruit juice have no effect on cirrhosis mortality rates. For best results in any of these benefits, do not drink coffee with an excess of milk and sugar. All of the studies discussed here can be accessed on GreenMedInfo.