Digestive health

Unveiling the surprising health benefits of your daily cup of coffee

Last reviewed:
January 9, 2024
Next review:
January 9, 2026

Many of us savour the ritual of coffee, perhaps opting for the decaffeinated variety after lunch. But have you ever considered the potential health perks hidden within your favourite brew? Let's explore the lesser-known health properties of coffee that go beyond being your morning pick-me-up.

The coffee story: from 15th century discovery to modern wellness

Surprisingly, coffee is a more recent entrant compared to tea, with roots dating back to the 15th century. It officially arrived in the UK in 1650, sparking both fascination and controversy, facing bans during different periods until 1823. Today, we embrace coffee for focus, socialising, and the sheer joy it brings to our daily lives.

But is your daily cup of Joe genuinely a healthy treat or could your caffeine habit lead to long-term harm? Let's uncover the truth!

1. Coffee's link to longevity

Evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption may reduce the risk of all-cause mortality. When comparing coffee drinkers to non-drinkers over time, the former tend to have a lower risk of death in general. The sweet spot? A steady three cups per day.

2. Prevention of chronic conditions

Numerous studies link regular coffee consumption to a decreased risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease. High caffeine levels in the blood are associated with a lower BMI, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Studies found an association between drinking between three and five cups of caffeinated coffee a day and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with each cup appearing to cut the diabetes risk by 7%.

3. Cardiovascular health and stroke risk reduction

Moderate ground coffee consumption (up to three cups per day) consistently correlates with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Compared to non-drinkers, three cups per day lead to a 12% lower overall mortality risk, a 17% reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality, and a 21% lower mortality risk from stroke.

4. Lower risk of cancer

Recent shifts in perception deem coffee not a carcinogen. Strong evidence supports its role in reducing the risk of liver and womb cancers, along with potential benefits against mouth, pharynx, larynx and skin cancers. Coffee's compounds, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects, contribute to this protective effect.

5. Liver health boost

Regular and moderate coffee consumption lowers the risk of negative liver outcomes, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. It can also slow the progression of liver disease, reducing the risk of developing liver cancer, as confirmed by the World Health Organization after reviewing over 1,000 studies.

Balancing your coffee routine

While the evidence points to an optimal coffee intake ranging from half a cup to three cups per day, consider a few caveats:

  • Opt for ground coffee over instant for maximum effectiveness
  • Be mindful of added sugars, syrups, or cream that can negate health benefits
  • Recognise that caffeine affects individuals differently; limit intake for children and pregnant women
  • Embrace decaffeinated coffee, which offers benefits similar to caffeinated counterparts
  • In conclusion, your daily coffee can be more than just a ritual—it can be a path to unexpected health benefits. Enjoy it mindfully, savouring both the flavour and the wellbeing it brings to your life

Useful resources*

BMI and coffee

Type 2 diabetes and coffee

Heart health and coffee

Cancer and coffee

Liver health and coffee

Pregnancy and coffee

Coffee - all-cause mortality and risk of death

*Phlo Clinic are not responsible for the content of 3rd party research cited in this article.

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