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Coffee (A.K.A. That stuff most of us need to get through the day) has been branded unhealthy for years. Ever since its discovery, the coffee bean’s stimulating effects were assumed to have harsh consequences on the body and mind.
In 1511, coffee was nearly eradicated from Mecca because the govenor believed that it induced radical thinking and would encourage his opponents to revolt and challenge his power. When coffee entered the European market in the 16th century, clergymen labeled it “Satanic” and demanded that it be banned, a plan which was derailed when Pope Clement VIII fell in love with the caffeinated beverage. In 1746, Sweden began to heavily tax coffee, leading to the development of a black market complete with speakeasies for caffeinated drink lovers. In response to this criminal behaviour, the Swedish government began confiscating mugs, dishes and other coffee related paraphernalia, but as with all prohibitions, outlaws simply conspired to continue drinking what they wanted.
Today, many people opt out of drinking coffee because they believe it can cause stress, stunt growth, and have other negative impacts on their health, however, the Harvard School of Public Health recently conducted a study and found that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day is not associated with increased risk of death from any cause, including cancer or cardiovascular disease. In fact, (good news for us coffee drinkers), other studies have found that coffee might have some wonderful nutritional benefits. All coffee lovers pick up a cup and rejoice!
Outdated folk wisdom would have us believe that coffee causes anxiety, but science actually tells us that if you’re feeling down, picking up a cup of coffee can help improve your mood. A study done by the National Institute of Health found that those who drink four or more cups of coffee per day were less likely to be depressed than those who didn’t touch the stuff.
To further coffee’s case as a source of good vibes, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health determined that drinking between two to four cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50%. They propose that coffee acts as a mild antidepressant by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. In other words, coffee is both a big warm hug and a shoulder to lean on. Remember, though, not all caffeinated beverages are created equal—many sugary soft drinks loaded with caffeine are actually linked to depression. Stick to coffee if you are looking for a friendlier, cleaner buzz.
Antioxidants are like little gifts you can give your body: they prevent heart disease, protect cells and help with inflammation, among other things. Studies from the American Institute for Cancer Research have found that antioxidants may help in reducing the risk of developing cancer. More good news for coffee-lovers: coffee is loaded with an all-star line-up of antioxidants. In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, nothing comes close to providing as many antioxidants to the human body—so, drink up if you know what’s good for you!
Do you have an upcoming exam, important meeting, or scheduled appearance on Jeopardy anytime soon? It turns out that drinking coffee could help you perform better. A study conducted by a team at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopskins University discovered that caffeine has a positive effect on long-term memory. Their research found that caffeine can boost memories for up to 24 hours after it is consumed.
The American Institute of Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund International contribute to the Continuous Update Project (CUP), an ongoing program that analyses global research on how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight affect cancer risk and survival. Their 2015 report found that drinking coffee lowers one’s risk of liver cancer. Coffee is now further being studied for it’s anti-cancer potential.
But remember, this is black coffee we’re talking about here. These wonderful nutritional facts do not justify drinking a sugary blended coffee beverage or other sweet milk-based coffee drink every day!