Let's Settle This Once And For All: 9 Ways Coffee Benefits Your Health

by Carola Lovering

While many nutritionists, health advocates and tea drinkers enjoy claiming that coffee is terrible for you, an increasing number of studies are revealing the overwhelming benefits of it.

Sometimes I worry that my tolerance for coffee is unhealthy, but recent studies are now supporting coffee addicts all over the world.

Here are nine reasons why drinking coffee is good for your health and well-being.

1. Coffee drinkers live longer.

The New York Times recently discussed a new study that reveals coffee drinkers are at lower risk for dying prematurely.

This was no small study, either; researchers followed more than 200,000 doctors and nurses for 30 years.

Data shows that those who drink a moderate amount of coffee (“moderate” equals 3 to 5 cups a day) are at lower risk for cardiovascular disease.

Coffee consumption is also linked to a reduced risk of death from stroke, diabetes, neurological diseases and suicide.

2. Coffee makes your skin glow.

Not only does caffeine help reduce swelling and inflammation, therefore getting rid of puffy eyes, but it can also be used to smooth your skin.

One dermatologist recommends making an exfoliating homemade scrub out of coffee bean grounds for silky skin.

Additionally, the antioxidants in coffee prevent premature skin aging.

3. Coffee makes you smarter.

CNN reports that coffee allows your brain to work in a more efficient and smarter way.

It blocks the neurotransmitters that cause a sleepy feeling in the brain.

A number of famous geniuses were said to be coffee addicts, including Beethoven, Bach, Benjamin Franklin and Voltaire (who drank 40 to 50 cups of joe a day!).

4. Coffee is full of antioxidants.

Forget dark chocolate, forget blueberries. Nothing comes close to providing as many antioxidants as coffee, according to a 2005 study.

5. It gives you an energy boost.

That glorious morning jolt or afternoon second wind coffee provides sends you into a spiral of productivity.

Controlled trials in humans show that coffee improves functions including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels and reaction time.

Plus, coffee is a socially acceptable beverage around the clock, so you can get that extra lift whenever you need it.

6. Coffee helps prevent cancer.

A study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reports that regularly consuming four or more cups of caffeinated coffee can help prevent colon cancer recurrence, and can also reduce the likelihood of dying from cancer.

But this benefit only applies to those who drink four or more cups a day. So drink up!

7. It’s a stress buster.

While most people rely on coffee for the energy boost, scientists are discovering that coffee also has the potential to reduce emotional and physical stress.

One study showed that even just the scent of coffee can trigger stress-relieving activity in the brain.

8. Coffee improves physical performance.

The common claim that “coffee is dehydrating” is a myth; the opposite is true.

Caffeine is actually one of the best-tested ergogenic aids (substances, devices, or practices that enhance an individual's energy use, production, or recovery) and is known to help athletes train harder and longer.

The average improvement in performance is 12 percent.

9. Coffee will save your teeth.

While coffee drinkers should always have breath mints on hand and be sure to brush extra well twice a day, research shows that drinking coffee is actually good for your teeth.

A study from Boston University suggests that drinking coffee can help protect your teeth from periodontal disease, the inflammation of your gums and jawbone.

Who wants a cup of coffee?