Not too long ago, coffee wasn't thought of as particularly healthy. That was then; now, the list of its benefits keeps growing.
A group of researchers looked at the SUN Project — a decades-long study that looked at the relationship between diet and health in more than 22,500 university graduates in Spain — and analyzed 19,896 participants whose average age was 37.7. Participants completed a questionnaire that gathered information such as their coffee consumption, lifestyle, and previous health conditions.
The results showed that participants who drank more than four cups of coffee per day had a 64 percent lower all-cause mortality rate than those participants who never or almost never drank coffee. If you knock back four cups at breakfast alone, you can lower your all-cause mortality risk by 24 percent with every two cups!
Researchers also noted that during the follow-up, there was an association between participants who were at least 45 years old and a 30 percent reduced risk of mortality. The relationship between younger adults and coffee consumption did not produce the same association during follow-up.
"Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people," study author Dr. Navarro wrote.
This is just one of the many studies linking coffee with health benefits — even if you're a decaf girl. In no particular order, here is what every cup of joe will get you:
1. Coffee can extend the lives of diabetic women.
According to 2017 research presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, diabetic women could live longer by drinking coffee. But before you run off to tell your husband, know that researchers did not find the same association between a longer life and coffee for men as it did for women — sorry, guys!
Over the course of 11 years, researchers studied more than 3,000 diabetics, instructing them to record their coffee, tea, and soda consumption in a diary. What they found was that diabetic women who regularly drink caffeine (about 100 mg) — whether in coffee or tea — were 51 percent less likely to die as a result of any disease compared to their caffeine-less counterparts. Those who upped their caffeine intake from 100 mg to 200 mg saw that 51 percent figure jump to 57 percent less likely to die.
Maybe you're not a java fanatic? Tea drinkers reduced their risk of cancer-related death by 80 percent compared to those who abstained from tea. That said, researchers said the portion of tea drinkers in the study was too small to draw broad conclusions about the benefits of tea as a cancer fighter.
2. Coffee's anti-aging properties are numerous.
According to a November 2015 study published in Circulation higher coffee consumption — including both caffeinated and decaffeinated — was associated with a lower risk of mortality. People who drank three to five cups of coffee a day were less likely to die prematurely from a host of diseases —including Parkinson's — than non-coffee drinkers.
Researchers only found an association, so it cannot be said that coffee consumption causes a your mortality risk to decline. That said, this is the perfect excuse to say yes to that second (and third) cup of joe!
3. It can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In a study from October of 2015, researchers in Denmark found that two ingredients in both decaf and caffeinated coffee — cafestol and caffeic acid — can help regulate blood sugar and insulin production, protecting you against diabetes, according to researchers in Denmark.
4. Coffee drinkers will feel less neck pain from computers.
Take note if you work in an office: In one 2012 study published in BMC Notes, researchers in Norway set out to prove whether coffee had any effect on chronic neck and shoulder pain. They found coffee drinkers experienced less intense pain in their neck and shoulders while completing office-related tasks compared to participants who abstained from coffee.
5. Help prevent skin cancer with coffee.
In a 2012 analysis of data from the Nurse' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, researchers sought to determine whether there was a relationship between coffee consumption and skin cancer.
The results, which were published in the journal Cancer Research indicated an inverse association between caffeine intake and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer. Essentially, the more caffeine a person drank — whether that comes from coffee, tea, or hot chocolate — the lower their BCC risk.
Again, we must caution that this study found only an association rather than causation.
6. Coffee is a mood-boosting food.
Here's where caffeinated brews also have an edge. In a long-term study involving 50,000 women, researchers followed up with participants from 1996 to 2006 to gauge whether there was a relationship between caffeine and depression. The results, which were published in JAMA Internal Medicine indicated "depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption."
7. Java drinkers can see a reduced risk of dying from heart disease.
Over the years, dozens of studies have showed a link between coffee consumption and heart health.
In November 2017, researchers at the University of Colorado analyzed results from the Framingham Heart Study, a study that has tracked the eating patterns and cardiovascular health of more than 15,000 people since the 1940s. Their analysis showed that for every cup of coffee a person consumed, their risk of heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease decreased by 8, 7, and 5 percent.
Another study from August 2017 showed drinking coffee reduces your risk of death by various causes. The research, which was released in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed more than 521,000 people across 10 European countries, indicated an inverse association between coffee drinking and circulatory disease mortality. Examples of circulatory diseases include heart failure and coronary artery disease.
Researchers followed up with participants after 16 years and found that women who drank three or more cups of coffee per day had reduced their risk for conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, and stroke by 8 percent.
8. And they'll also notice a reduced risk of dementia.
A September 2017 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease recorded the protective effect against dementia for those who drink between one to three cups of joe a day.
Those who maintained higher coffee plasma levels were associated with a reduced risk or delayed onset of dementia, especially for those who already displayed signs of mild cognitive impairment.
9. A cup of coffee can reduce your risk of strokes.
In a 2012 study published in the journal Stroke, researchers studied 82,000 Japanese citizens and found that just one cup of coffee cut your risk of stroke by 20 percent.
10. Drinking three cups a day can protect against deadly heart problems.
Guilty of drinking multiple cups a day? Before you bow your head down in caffeine-laden shame, take heart: A new study conducted by experts at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found that caffeine intake blocks the effects of adenosine — the cranky little chemical that increases patients’ risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat. One study of 228,465 people found that the risk of atrial fibrillation decreased by six percent in regular coffee drinkers. Another study, which involved 115,993 people, showed a 13 percent risk reduction.
This doesn’t mean you can go on about your day guzzling coffee like it’s water; researchers found that when patients consumed nine or more cups per day, their risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat increased. (Note: People with pre-existing heart conditions should consult their healthcare providers before increasing the amount of caffeine they consume.)
Could your coffee use a health makeover? Learn how to brew a better cup of joe in the video below.