Does coffee help you live longer?
The World Health Organisation used to have coffee on their carcinogenic list, but this was taken off 2 years ago.
Studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits including protecting against liver disease, Alzheimer’s, respiratory disease, stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s and type 2 diabetes.
However, the benefits do not appear to be attributable to the caffeine because both decaffeinated and regular coffee have the same effect. Coffee contains hundreds of different compounds some of which are beneficial to health. Many of these compounds are antioxidants which protect our bodies from oxidation, a process that involves free radicals which can damage molecules in the body. It is thought that the process of oxidation is one of the mechanisms behind ageing, cancer and heart disease. In the Western diet coffee is one of the biggest sources of antioxidants.
However, the research does seem to show some risks. High intake of unfiltered coffee has been associated with a slight increase in cholesterol levels. Individuals with a genetic heart mutation that slows the breakdown of coffee in the body can also increase the risk of heart disease.
There are also studies showing that coffee may make you happier and reduce the incidence of depression by 20% and suicide by 53%. Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain called Adenosine, which in turn increases norepinephrine and dopamine. These two help to give us a feeling of increased energy, mood, concentration and cognitive function.
Coffee may reduce our appetite by stimulating thermogenesis, heat and energy. This may help to burn more fat. Cholinergic acid slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and suppresses our hunger hormone. This hormone is stimulated by carbohydrates sitting in our stomachs and tempts us to feed it more and more. Carbohydrates also shut off our leptin response, the hormone that tells our brain that we are full. Some coffees contain Chlorogenic Acid which could still suppress the appetite and slows down the absorption of carbohydrates.
So, it seems that there are benefits to drinking coffee every day but remember it’s not all good.