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Drink Up! Coffee’s Surprising Health Benefits

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Drink Up! Coffee’s Surprising Health Benefits

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Lining up at your local coffee shop or sitting in the drive-through line at Starbucks has become a daily ritual for a large portion of Americans. Even more are brewing their morning joe at home before heading into the office or dropping off the kids at school.

America is the leader in coffee consumption with the majority of Americans—about 83 percent—drinking coffee every day. Coffee gives you that much-needed morning boost, but many studies have shown that being a regular coffee drinker has health benefits and may help you live longer.

Benefits of “the bean”
Coffee has numerous health benefits in addition to the energy jolt you need to get going in the morning. It may help you lose weight by curbing your appetite; it can sharpen your mental focus, improve your mood, and improve your performance when exercising.

When it comes to overall health benefits, coffee stacks up pretty well. According to nutrition experts from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, these are some of the top benefits of drinking coffee:

● Regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

● Drinking one to two cups of coffee a day may help ward off heart failure.

● Additionally, coffee seems to have a protective effect on your liver, with research showing that regular coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzymes within a healthy range than those who don’t drink coffee.

● Coffee contains antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage and may help lower risks for certain types of cancers. Dark roasts have shown to decrease breakage in DNA strands, which occur naturally but can lead to cancer if not repaired by your cells.

● Coffee may lower your risk of colon cancer. Research shows that coffee drinkers were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

● Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that women aged 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop dementia in general.

● Drinking at least one cup of coffee per day is also associated with lower stroke risk, especially in women.

● Both regular coffee and decaf have been associated with a lower risk of mortality, including deaths linked to heart disease, nervous system diseases, and suicide.

Take it black
Men and women can safely consume three to five cups of coffee per day to reap the benefits, but this means only black coffee. Coffee’s many health benefits are negated if you add too much sugar and cream, or if you choose to drink popular fancy coffee drinks (we’re looking at your pumpkin spice lattes and macchiatos) that are chock full of sugar and loaded with calories.

Healthy coffee habits
Keep your coffee habit healthy by following these tips:

No coffee after 2 p.m. To keep caffeine consumption from interrupting your sleep, drink your coffee early in the day and definitely no later than early afternoon.

Go easy on the sugar. Adding heaps of sugar or flavoring to your coffee will cancel out any health benefits. If you only like your coffee sweetened, choose a natural sweetener like Stevia, and stay away from flavored creamers and fancy coffees with added sugar, whipped cream, and other flavorings. If you really want some flavor in your coffee, add some cinnamon.

Drink in moderation. While consuming as much as three to five cups of coffee per day is not harmful, it’s best to stick with one to two cups per day to reap the health benefits and not overload on caffeine.

Avoid low-fat and artificial creamers. Many commercial creamers are highly processed and contain many questionable ingredients. Opt for full-fat or low-fat cream or milk instead.

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