By Marisa Mostek
The debate over whether coffee is detrimental or beneficial seems like a constant tug-of-war among health professionals. However, new reports appear to surface daily on media outlets about the positive effects of coffee. Sorry- caramel lattes topped with whipped cream and sprinkles don’t count. The studies refer to the benefits of moderate amounts of black coffee.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, moderate consumption of coffee helps prevents depression and cancer. There are drawbacks to too much caffeine, however, so limiting yourself to three cups a day is important. Otherwise, warns the Harvard Health Publications, you could be at risk of increased cardiovascular problems such as increased heart rate or irregular heartbeats.
Despite any potential risks of over-consumption of caffeine, experts agree that the benefits far outweigh the risks. According to a Harvard study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk of developing depression. This is due, noted Dr. Albert Ascheiro, to the modulated release of mood transmitters triggered by caffeine.
Women aren’t the only ones who benefit from increasing their coffee consumption. Another Harvard study showed that men who drink six cups of coffee daily lower their risk of developing a dangerous form of prostate cancer by 60 percent, and all forms by 20 percent. For guys who find the thought of six cups daunting, the same study tells us that even one to three cups can lower their risk by 30 percent.
For both men and women, drinking around four to five cups of coffee seems to promote greater levels of a growth factor in the brain known to fight off Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease observed that something in coffee beans, along with caffeine, causes increased levels of granulocyte colony stimulating factor which fights the disease in mice. The journal also published research that consuming two to three cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by as much as 25 percent.
New research at Harvard Medical School saw a decrease in their risk of basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer, when men and women consumed caffeinated coffee daily.
…And the list goes on! Drinking coffee decreases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 7 percent. With figures like that, who can resist hitting the nearest coffee shop?