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Is Coffee Good For You And Your Brain?

People often question whether or not coffee is good for them. Some reports say coffee is good for you, while other claim it's not. In recent years, however, there seems to be more and more positive data coming out on coffee.

Me, I love coffee!  Well, perhaps love is too strong a word. Umm, on second thought, maybe not!  I do love coffee..

I started using coffee to stay awake at work back when I was in college (a lonnnng time ago!). During that time, I went to school by day and worked by night.

Nowadays, I drink a cup or two first thing in the morning (and add coconut oil). It wakes me up and gets my brain ready for the day.

I love the smell of coffee brewing! Just the smell of it helps wake me up! 

I went through a period of time when I was kind of picky with coffee. I had a special machine, special beans, special grinder, and had a certain technique on packing the coffee grounds just prior to making my espresso. Nowadays, I'm not so picky .. I really don't care where it comes from or even how it's made (..within reason).

While researching and blogging about brain health and fitness, I've come across numerous studies on coffee and it's impact on health. Some have said it's bad for you, others say it prevents bad stuff from happening.. 

As scientists do more research, their findings evolve over time. For instance, for a very long time eggs were bad for you, now they're saying it's the perfect food! 

So, what does the latest research have to say about coffee?

Coffee Helps Improve Memory

Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists found that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory for up to 24 hours after it is consumed. Their research was published in 2014 by the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Coffee Helps Lower Risk Of Dementia And Other Age-Related Cognitive Decline

To test the relationship between caffeine and dementia, Ira Driscoll, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and some colleagues analyzed data from 6,467 women age 65 and older who were followed over 10 years. Their findings were published in 2016.

The team found that the women who reported consuming the most caffeine, the amount in two to three cups of coffee of 8 fluid ounces, or five to six 8-ounce cups of black tee, were the least likely to develop dementia or impaired cognition. Overall, the higher caffeinated group reduced their risk of dementia by 36 percent, Driscoll says. The women who consumed the least caffeine, (less than a single cup of coffee), were most likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

In another study, published in 2010 by the University of Eastern Finland, it was found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day in midlife was associated with a 65% decreased risk of developing dementia in late-life.

Coffee Lowers Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

First of all, people with diabetes have been found to have:

In a report published in 2014, it was shown that increasing daily coffee consumption can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers for the report gathered data from three different studies, some lasting over 20 years. 

The study participants included:

  • 48,464 women in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-based Nurses' Health Study (1986-2006)
  • 47,510 women in the Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2007)
  • 27,759 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2006).

In these studies, the diets of the participants were evaluated using questionnaires every 4 years, with participants who reported having type 2 diabetes filling out additional questionnaires.

"These findings further demonstrate that, for most people, coffee may have health benefits," adds Frank Hu, senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

Warning – Too Much of A Good Thing May Harm You!

The Mayo Clinic states that consuming more than 4 cups of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors.

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That's roughly the amount of caffeine in 4 cups of brewed coffee.

So What Do We Do With This Information?

If you're already a coffee drinker, as long as you're drinking 4 or fewer cups of coffee a day, no worries according to the latest research. There are plenty of brain and overall health benefits to be had by staying the course.

In fact, if you want to add even more brain boosting benefit to your coffee, consider adding coconut oil to your brew. 

If you're not already one of the 50% of folks who drink coffee, you might want to give it a try!

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14 thoughts on “Is Coffee Good For You And Your Brain?”

  1. Coffee junkies unite! 

    I am interested to know if any of the studies took in the factor of the quality of coffee? Low quality coffee can contain molds that are obviously not as beneficial for health. I prefer organic beans and use the Bulletproof coffee method to add in more brain boosting oils and fats. This isa great read that pointed out some new facts for me. Good to know I am warding off dementia and am definitely under the 4 cups a day limit! 

    1. Thanks for the comment, Tanya!  The research noted did not account for the factor of the quality of coffee – specifically as it relates to inherit mold found in coffee beans. The focus was solely on caffeine and its affects. I will have to write a post on molds found in coffee in the future to do justice to the subject. However, I believe that what *you* put in your coffee is of more importance. For instance, adding sugar or sugary syrups to your coffee is obviously not going to be good for your health. Adding coconut oil or other MCTs have been shown in research to be a good for your health.

  2. I have read and shared the same great research on coffee! I'm a big fan and looking into adding MCT to my morning brew also. As long as you're not dealing with adrenal fatigue or anxiety issues, coffee and all it's antioxidants is good for your brain and I'm a fan of everyone that says so! great post!

  3. I didn't think it was possible to love coffee any more than I already do, but then I found your blog. Since following your posts, I have started adding coconut oil to my coffee and while I have to admit it took me about a week to get used to the bubbles (lol!) I'm really enjoying this new twist to my favourite morning ritual. 

  4. Being able to list the brain boosting benefits too coffee is crucial. It is a staple to our production focused society. Knowing the legitimate benefits will help spread the message.

  5. Very nice article, thank you for this. I myself enjoy coffee only in the morning before having my first big meal for the day. I am making myself on big cup of coffe and I love to drink it slowly while browsing the internet and doing some daily online tasks.

  6. I am not a coffee person, however i drank it when i was young. I was my breakfast, its maybe the reason why i don't like coffee as much. But i do have a craving once in a blue moon. i prefer tea or Coffee shop coffee or i should say sugar ?. Thank you

    1. Thank you for commenting, Mary Ann. I generally don’t eat breakfast anymore but fast until about noon each day (~16hrs fast). But I take coffee with coconut oil in the morning – Very veneficial to your health!

  7. Coffee and I have had a long and deeply committed relationship. I am happy to learn that the time we spend together each day is beneficial in many ways. I'd love to know more about the differences between the caffeine content in dark v. light roasts. I've noticed that darker roasts, due to what I assume is caffeine being burned out during the roasting process, have a smoother effect on me than lighter, more commercial American roasts that tend to leave me jittery.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Dan! I don’t know much about different roasts,I will have to research that. But what I do know, is that coffee is a good vehicle to carry coconut oil. And coconut oil has been shown to be *very* beneficial to your brain health and fitness! So, it’s like getting a bonus for drinking your coffee – which already is so beneficial for your health in the first place. 🙂

    2. Thanks for commenting, Dan!  My research has shown that, pound for pound or grain for grain, there is little to no difference between light and dark roasts with respect to caffeine content. Now, I did find that Arabica bean coffee has about 50% less caffeine than Robusta bean coffee. Arabica beans tend to be more expensive than Robusta because Robusta is cheaper to grow. Thus, most supermarket, instant and cheap ground coffees are Robusta.

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