For many years, the idea that coffee may have health benefits was a controversial one. Research seemed to show that those who drank a lot of coffee experienced worse health outcomes than those who didn’t. However, we now know that this is because those who drink a lot of coffee often have unhealthy lifestyle behaviors like smoking.
When this is accounted for, the results no longer show that coffee has a negative impact on health. In fact, it is now clear that there are many positives to drinking coffee. So what are the health benefits of coffee? Here we examine the effects drinking coffee may have on Parkinson’s Disease, Mental Health and Hepatitis C.
Coffee and Parkinson’s Disease
Perhaps one of the most well-known health benefits of coffee is its role in helping to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Those who regularly drink coffee have only a third of the risk of developing Parkinson’s as those who do not. Drinking tea has been shown to have the same effect, suggesting that the caffeine may be responsible. This is supported by the fact that decaffeinated coffee does not have the same benefits.
Coffee can also be used to help treat Parkinson’s. Studies show that regular coffee-drinking helps to alleviate symptoms of the disease.
Coffee and Mental Health
In general, one of the most well known health benefits of coffee seems to be its positive effect on mental health. Those who drink coffee are less likely to be depressed than those who do not.
This translates to an improvement in suicide risk. Those who drink two or more cups per day are only half as likely to commit suicide as those who do not. Drinking 6 or 7 cups reduces the risk even further — by 80%. However, drinking 8 or more cups is associated with increased risk of suicide. Again, these effects only occur when the coffee is caffeinated.
It’s worth bearing in mind that coffee may not be good for all mental health conditions. For example, consuming a lot of caffeine may worsen symptoms of anxiety. Sufferers should, therefore, limit coffee or stick to decaf.
Coffee and Hepatitis C
Coffee has been shown to reduce the DNA damage caused by hepatitis C. It also has many other benefits for sufferers: it can slow the scarring of the liver and speed up the clearing of infected cells.
And there’s more good news. If hepatitis C leads to liver disease, drinking coffee can help to slow the progression of the disease.
More Health Benefits of Coffee
This is just a sample of the health benefits of coffee. There are more. For example, drinking coffee regularly has been shown to lower overall cancer risk by 3%. Coffee is also considered to be the joint second-healthiest beverage, along with tea. They come second only to water.
Coffee may not be for everyone, however. Those with conditions such as epilepsy and glaucoma are advised to avoid it, so always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
But if you are not affected by these conditions, there is no need to worry about consuming coffee in moderation. Enjoy this drink and all the amazing benefits it brings.