Exhale’s Chief Wellness Officer, Alex Manos spills the beans on how your morning coffee is good for you (in more ways than you might think).
Ahhh coffee. Something you enjoy so much can’t actually be good for you... can it?
Starting your day with a morning brew is surely one of life’s greatest pleasures. But, how often are those pleasures actually doing you some good?
Well, sound your klaxons because coffee could be one your healthiest habits.
Wait, coffee is good for you? I know, I know. Doctors, health websites, and many other outlets would historically have had you believe that your daily caffeine hit isn’t really one to be celebrated health-wise. And yet, most of us start our days that way anyway, believing it to be a guilty pleasure.
But, after seeing some compelling anecdotal benefits of coffee, the scientific community decided to do some research—and ask, is coffee really good for you?
The studies make for pretty compelling reading. So, grab a guilt-free coffee, and let me explain. And, because you could say we’re pretty passionate about the very best beans—I’ll also give you some hints on how to choose the healthiest coffee around.
Is coffee good for your heart?
This sounds really very bold, but in broad terms. Yes, coffee can be good for your heart.
Studies have shown that habitual coffee consumption can be associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke, as well as death associated with cardiovascular causes. It’s also associated with improvements in some conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular issues, like type 2 diabetes, depression, and obesity (1).
But how exactly is coffee good for your heart?
So, normally benefit or harm attributed to coffee would actually be because of the caffeine. But, here’s the thing. Coffee is full of other compounds. And, when it comes to heart health, polyphenols are the star players here (especially evident in the decrease in the onset of type 2 diabetes). In a 2015 study, whether the subjects enjoyed caffeinated or decaf coffee, they still enjoyed the benefits of the polyphenols on their heart health (2.)
Is coffee good for your brain?
Did you know: lifetime coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
It sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. Studies (3,4) have shown that regularly drinking coffee throughout your life may contribute to a lower risk of cognitive decline, lessening the risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke. This is because it helps to reduce pathological cerebral amyloid deposition (deposits in the blood vessels in the brain that can contribute to cognitive decline.)
It’s also been shown that coffee is good for your brain in a mental health capacity. In the past 20 years, many studies have found a close link between the consumption of coffee and instances of depression. Phytochemical studies have also found through multiple molecular mechanisms that caffeine is the component responsible for the antidepressant effects of coffee (5).
So, if you struggle with depression—as more and more of us do, perhaps caffeine could help?
Next up, is coffee good for your energy?
Aside from that “get up and go” jolt that many people rely on in the morning, coffee also has some compounds that could help support sustained energy throughout the day, as well as improving feelings of fatigue and helping with sleep quality (6).
Obviously, within reason – please don’t drink caffeine after lunch and expect to sleep well!
So while, as a health professional I certainly don’t advocate for using coffee as a way to get yourself out of bed, there is some research to support its benefits on your energy. With, or without, the caffeine component.
As an amazing source of antioxidant polyphenols, coffee can play a part in supporting energy. Polyphenols have been associated with better sleep (7) so it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to consider decaf coffee as a way to support a polyphenol-rich diet which will in turn, support sleep.
And, if you do choose to have your coffee with caffeine, many exhale drinkers report a more balanced ‘lift’ without the crash that some experience with other coffees. This is because exhale is sourced and brewed to maximise the content of naturally occurring-polyphenols – making us unashamedly proud of our ridiculously healthy coffee.
Coffee is good for you!
So, there you have it. Coffee is good for you – according to science.
And of course, as with everything, there are ways to make sure you’re choosing the healthiest coffee out there. Exhale co-founder Al shares his 9 tips for choosing healthy coffee here.
- James H O'Keefe , James J DiNicolantonio , Carl J Lavie (2018) Coffee for Cardioprotection and Longevity Prog Cardiovasc Dis ;61(1):38-42.
- Thomas F Whayne Jr Coffee: A Selected Overview of Beneficial or Harmful Effects on the Cardiovascular System? (2015) Curr Vasc Pharmacol ;13(5):637-48.
- Jee Wook Kim Coffee intake and decreased amyloid pathology in human brain (2019) Transl Psychiatry 22;9(1):270
- Astrid Nehlig (2016 ) Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients? Pract Neurol ;16(2):89-95.
- Gian Carlo Tenore, (2015) Coffee and Depression: A Short Review of Literature Curr Pharm Des ;21(34):5034-40.
- Ryuji Ochiai, Effect of chlorogenic acids on fatigue and sleep in healthy males: A randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, crossover study , Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Nov; 6(8): 2530–2536.
- Justyna Godos et al., Specific Dietary (Poly)phenols Are Associated with Sleep Quality in a Cohort of Italian Adults Nutrients. 2020 May; 12(5): 1226.