Is Coffee Healthy?

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While coffee has so far mainly been classified as harmful to health, recent studies have revised this view considerably and discovered a large number of positive effects of coffee consumption.

It was around 200 years ago that Carl Gottlieb Hering (1766–1853) composed the well-known canon "C-a-f-f-e-e, don't drink so much coffee!", Which warns of the negative consequences of coffee consumption. Some medical professionals are still of the opinion that coffee is harmful to health because it increases insulin levels, blood pressure and blood sugar, draws water from the body and also damages the entire cardiovascular system. However, new studies show that the general statement “coffee is harmful” is no longer valid today.

This is also emphasized by the German Coffee Association e.V. and in a current press release highlights the positive effects of coffee consumption on health. The association is naturally interested in a positive presentation of coffee, but can base its statements on the results of various scientific studies that have dealt intensively with the topic.

For example, the dehydrating effect of coffee is a misconception - coffee is part of the fluid balance and makes "for many people (...) an essential contribution to the total daily water supply", explained the German Nutrition Society (DGE).

Coffee reduces the risk of diabetes.
In addition, scientists have found in several large-scale studies with up to 120,000 participants that the regular consumption of coffee can protect against type II diabetes. "Various studies came to the conclusion that the risk of diabetes is lowest in people who drank up to seven cups of coffee a day," explained Prof. Dr. Stephan Martin from the West German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf Drinking more than six cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of type II diabetes by around 50 percent, and women who also drink a corresponding amount of coffee reduce the risk by around 30 percent, according to the researchers that it is the antioxidants, polyphenols or minerals that it contains that have the protective effect, not the caffeine, because the effect was measurable in the same way with decaffeinated coffee.

Coffee protects against Alzheimer's.
Coffee also has a positive effect on the brain and can protect against Alzheimer's. Enjoying a cup of coffee invigorates and increases concentration. In addition, information can be absorbed and processed more quickly by the brain after consuming coffee. According to Prof. Jürgen Vormann, head of the Institute for Prevention and Nutrition (IPEV) in Ismaning, lifelong coffee consumption significantly reduces the age-related decline in mental performance in women and men. "A recent Finnish study observed the coffee consumption of middle-aged people over many years. The researchers found that coffee drinkers were less likely to develop dementia than coffee abstainers. In people who drank between three and five cups a day, the risk was to suffer from Alzheimer's dementia decreased by 65 percent ", explained the expert Prof. Vormann. Since the caffeine in the brain also promotes the release of encouraging messenger substances such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, coffee also has a positive effect on the mood of the consumer.

Coffee reduces the risk of liver disease

The likelihood of suffering from a liver disease also decreases with the daily consumption of coffee, although it is not clear whether the positive effect is due to the caffeine contained or also to the antioxidants. However, the results of the research relate exclusively to people who are already at an increased risk of such diseases (e.g. alcoholics, overweight people).

In a ten-year study, scientists from the “National Cancer Center” in Tokyo also came to the conclusion that statistically only 214 people out of 100,000 coffee drinkers develop kidney cancer. Since the number of cancer cases in non-coffee drinkers was more than twice as high (547), the researchers assume that coffee can prevent kidney cancer. According to the results of the study, the contained antioxidants, which protect against carcinogenic oxygen radicals, are essentially responsible for the positive effect.

Coffee can also increase physical fitness, as "caffeine (...) not only increases the ability to concentrate and motivation, but also increases endurance," explains the sports physician from the Hessian Sports Physicians Association, Dr. med. Wolfgang Grebe. "Coffee has, with its vascular protection Ingredients thus find their place in competitive and popular sport "and have an effect (...)" especially in endurance sports where the load lasts longer than five minutes, "explained the expert.

The German Green Cross has also come to the conclusion that regular coffee consumption has a positive effect on numerous organs and body functions and can even have a preventive or protective effect on some diseases. From a health point of view, there is usually nothing against the daily consumption of three to five cups of coffee, but certain risk groups (e.g. pregnant women) should talk to their doctor again if in doubt. (fp)

Also read:
Coffee does not cause cardiac arrhythmias
Study: coffee and tea are good for the heart
Coffee fear

Image: Martin Schneider,

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Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Health Benefits of Coffee

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