Skip to content

 More great news about drinking coffee daily - for women. Older women (between ages of 65 to 80 at the start of the study) reporting drinking higher amounts of caffeinated beverages (about 261 mg which is about 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day) had a lower incidence of dementia and cognitive impairment over a 10 year period (as compared to the low caffeine group). The low caffeine group averaged 64 mg of caffeine per day.  Other studies also found a reduction in "cognitive decline" in older people with coffee consumption. This study, among others, is more evidence of caffeine being "neuroprotective". NOTE: an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, 8-ounces of brewed black tea contains about 47 mg, a 12-ounce can of carbonated cola contains 33 mg, and 8-ounces of decaffeinated coffee has about 5 mg of caffeine. Science Daily:

For women, caffeine could be ally in warding off dementia

Among a group of older women, self-reported caffeine consumption of more than 261 mg per day was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of incident dementia over 10 years of follow-up. This level is equivalent to two to three 8-oz cups of coffee per day, five to six 8-oz cups of black tea, or seven to eight 12-ounce cans of cola.

"The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor with very few contraindications," said Ira Driscoll, PhD, the study's lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "What is unique about this study is that we had an unprecedented opportunity to examine the relationships between caffeine intake and dementia incidence in a large and well-defined, prospectively-studied cohort of women."

The findings come from participants in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study, which is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Driscoll and her research colleagues used data from 6,467 community-dwelling, postmenopausal women aged 65 and older who reported some level of caffeine consumption. Intake was estimated from questions about coffee, tea, and cola beverage intake, including frequency and serving size.

In 10 years or less of follow-up with annual assessments of cognitive function, 388 of these women received a diagnosis of probable dementia or some form of global cognitive impairment. Those who consumed above the median amount of caffeine for this group (with an average intake of 261 mg per day) were diagnosed at a lower rate than those who fell below the median (with an average intake of 64 mg per day). The researchers adjusted for risk factors such as hormone therapy, age, race, education, body mass index, sleep quality, depression, hypertension, prior cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking, and alcohol consumption. (The original study in the Journal of Gerontology.)

 Coffee consumption overall seems to be beneficial to health in various ways, such as lowering the risk of colorectal cancer. But there are times one should limit how much one drinks, such as during the  preconception period for both the male and female, and also during pregnancy, to lower the risk of miscarriage.

From Science Daily: Coffee consumption linked to decreased risk of colorectal cancer

Researchers have found that coffee consumption, including decaf, instant and espresso, decreases the risk of colorectal cancer. Moreover, these benefits increase the more coffee you drink. The study examined over 5,100 men and women who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer within the past six months, along with an additional 4,000 men and women with no history of colorectal cancer to serve as a control group. Participants reported their daily consumption of boiled (espresso), instant, decaffeinated and filtered coffee, as well as their total consumption of other liquids.....

The data showed that even moderate coffee consumption, between one to two servings a day, was associated with a 26 percent reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer after adjusting for known risk factors. Moreover, the risk of developing colorectal cancer continued to decrease to up to 50 percent when participants drank more than 2.5 servings of coffee each day. The indication of decreased risk was seen across all types of coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.

Coffee contains many elements that contribute to overall colorectal health and may explain the preventive properties. Caffeine and polyphenol can act as antioxidants, limiting the growth of potential colon cancer cells. Melanoidins generated during the roasting process have been hypothesized to encourage colon mobility. Diterpenes may prevent cancer by enhancing the body's defense against oxidative damage. "The levels of beneficial compounds per serving of coffee vary depending on the bean, roast and brewing method," said first author Stephanie Schmit, PhD, MPH. 

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer that is diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, with nearly five percent of men and just over four percent of women developing the disease over their lifetime. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that in the United States, over 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and 39,000 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in this year alone.

Both males and females should limit coffee consumption in the preconception period to no more than 2 caffeinated drinks daily to lower the female's risk of miscarriage. From Medscape:

Even Men Need to Cut Back on Coffee Before Pregnancy

Women already know they need to cut back on coffee during pregnancy, if not sooner, to lower the risk of miscarriage. But a new study suggests the men in their lives need to limit caffeine too. Pregnant women who had more than two caffeinated drinks a day while trying to conceive had a 74% higher risk of miscarriage than their peers who drank less coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks, the study found.

When their husbands and boyfriends had more than two caffeinated drinks a day during the preconception phase, however, these pregnant women ended up with almost the same increased risk of miscarriage they would get from drinking coffee or soda themselves...."We did not find drinking one to two daily caffeinated beverages to increase the risk of miscarriage." Scientists aren't sure how caffeine contributes to miscarriage, but it's possible it affects egg or sperm production, implantation of the fertilized egg, or the ability of the embryo to grow in the uterus.

To assess how lifestyle choices may influence miscarriage risk, Louis and colleagues followed 344 couples in Texas and Michigan through the first seven weeks of pregnancy....Overall, 98 women, or 28%, experienced a miscarriage during the study, as reported March 24 in the journal Fertility and Sterility. Women 35 or older had nearly double the miscarriage risk of younger women, the study found. When women took daily multivitamins, their miscarriage risk was 55% lower than for their peers who didn't do this.

One surprise in the study is that researchers didn't find an increased miscarriage risk associated with smoking or alcohol, however. This doesn't mesh with previous research, noted Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, a reproductive health researcher at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio who wasn't involved in the study. 

 Drink coffee daily -  3 to 5 cups of either regular or decaffeinated - and live longer by lowering your risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, type 2 diabetes, and suicide. Yes, it was an observational study, but the results are similar to what other studies are finding. From Medical Xpress:

Moderate coffee drinking may lower risk of premature death

People who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don't drink or drink less coffee, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers and colleagues. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.

"Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation," said first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition. "That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects."

Researchers analyzed health data gathered from participants in three large ongoing studies: 74,890 women in the Nurses' Health Study; 93,054 women in the Nurses' Health Study 2; and 40,557 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Coffee drinking was assessed using validated food questionnaires every four years over about 30 years. During the study period, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died from a range of causes.

In the whole study population, moderate coffee consumption was associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease, and suicide. Coffee consumption was not associated with cancer deaths. The analyses took into consideration potential confounding factors such as smoking, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and other dietary factors.

A nice summary article about the benefits and risks of coffee consumption. Summary of effects of drinking coffee1) May potentially increase blood pressure, but also may lower the risk for coronary disease, and protect against heart disease. 2) May cut stroke risk by as much as 25%, 3) Linked to  improved glucose metabolism, reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, and promotion of weight loss in overweight patients. 4) May reduce the risk for several cancers. 5) Appears to slow the progression of dementia and Parkinson's disease. 6) A significantly decreased risk of developing depression. 7) Slows progression in alcoholic cirrhosis, hepatitis C, and NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). 8) May be beneficial in dry-eye syndrome, gout, and in preventing MRSA infection. 9) May increase blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, tremor, withdrawal symptoms, and potential increased risk of glaucoma. From Medscape:

How Healthy Is Coffee? The Latest Evidence

Earlier this year, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) released a report[1] stating that up to five cups of coffee per day, or up to 400 mg of caffeine, is not associated with long-term health risks. Not only that, they highlighted observational evidence that coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk for several diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and neurodegenerative disorders. The body of data suggesting that moderate coffee—and, in all likelihood, tea—consumption is not only safe but beneficial in a variety of mental and medical conditions is growing fast.

A 2012 study of over 400,000 people, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that coffee consumption is associated with a 10% reduction in all-cause mortality at 13-year follow-up.... It's important to note that much of the evidence on the potential health effects of coffee, caffeine, and other foods and nutrients is associational and doesn't prove causality—observational investigations come with limitations and often rely on error-prone methods such as patient questionnaires. However, the sheer volume of existing observational data linking coffee and/or caffeine with various health benefits—as well as, in many cases, evidence of a dose response—suggests that the most widely consumed stimulant in the world has positive influences on our health. 

Cardiovascular Disease:...However, when caffeine is ingested via coffee, enduring blood pressure elevations are small and cardiovascular risks may be balanced by protective properties. Coffee beans contain antioxidant compounds that reduce oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and coffee consumption has been associated with reduced concentrations of inflammatory markers. Moderate coffee intake is associated with a lower risk for coronary heart disease as far out as 10 years, and data suggest that an average of two cups per day protects against heart failure.

Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke: The vascular benefits of coffee are not lost on the brain. According to a 2011 meta-analysis, consuming between one and six cups per day reportedly cut stroke risk by 17%. A 22%-25% risk reduction was seen in a large sample of Swedish women followed for an average of 10 years.

Diabetes:...Numerous studies have linked regular coffee drinking with improved glucose metabolism, insulin secretion, and a significantly reduced risk for diabetes. Most recently, findings from a long-term study published this year suggest that coffee drinkers are roughly half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as are nonconsumers, even after accounting for smoking, high blood pressure, and family history of diabetes.

Cancer: ...Evidence suggests that moderate to heavy coffee consumption can reduce the risk for numerous cancers, including endometrial (> 4 cups/day), prostate (6 cups/day), head and neck (4 cups/day), basal cell carcinoma (> 3 cups/day), melanoma,and breast cancer (> 5 cups/day). The benefits are thought to be at least partially due to coffee's antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.

Neurodegeneration: Beyond the short-term mental boost it provides, coffee also appears to benefit longer-term cognitive well-being. A 2012 study reported that patients with mild cognitive impairment and plasma caffeine levels of > 1200 ng/mL—courtesy of approximately three to five cups of coffee per day—avoided progression to dementia over the following 2-4 years. On a related note, a study from last year reported that caffeine consumption appears to enhance memory consolidation....Caffeinated coffee has long been thought to be neuroprotective in Parkinson disease (PD)....—as well as in multiple sclerosis

Depression: A 2011 study suggests that a boost in coffee consumption might also benefit our mental health: Women who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had a 15% decreased risk for depression compared with those who drank less than one cup per week. A 20% decreased risk was seen in those who drank four cups or more per day. Newer work also suggests that regular coffee drinking may be protective against depression.

Liver Disease: The liver might help break down coffee, but coffee might protect the liver (in some cases). Evidence suggests that coffee consumption slows disease progression in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and hepatitis C, and reduces the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma. A 2012 study reported that coffee intake is associated with a lower risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), while work published in 2014 found that coffee protects against liver fibrosis in those with already established NAFLD.

And That's Not All…: An assortment of other research suggests that coffee intake might also relieve dry-eye syndrome by increasing tear production, reduce the risk for gout, and potentially fight infection. Coffee and hot tea consumption were found to be protective against one of the medical community's most concerning bugs, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). While it remains unclear whether the beverages have systemic antimicrobial activity, study participants who reported any consumption of either were approximately half as likely to have MRSA in their nasal passages.

And Finally, the Risks: As is often the case, with benefits come risks, and coffee consumption certainly has negative medical and psychiatric effects to consider. Besides the aforementioned potential increase in blood pressure, coffee can incite or worsen anxiety, insomnia, and tremor and potentially elevate glaucoma risk. Also, given the potential severity of symptoms, caffeine withdrawal syndrome is included as a diagnosis in the DSM-5.

More good news for coffee drinkers! A number of studies have found that coffee drinking is protective against breast cancer (coffee inhibits the growth of tumors), but now research finds it is also protective against breast cancer recurring. The beneficial effects are seen with 2 or more cups of coffee per day. Other studies have found that lifestyle changes (such as weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise) are linked to lower rates of recurrence, but apparently coffee drinking can also be added to the list. This research found that not only is coffee drinking linked to smaller tumors in the first place, but it is also linked to lower rates of recurrence in women also taking tamoxifen. The researchers said: "In summary, this study shows inhibitory effects by caffeine and caffeic acid on breast cancer cell growth." Both caffeine and caffeic acid are present in coffee. From Science Daily:

Coffee protects against breast cancer recurrence, detailed findings confirm

A number of research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer. A new study led by Lund University, has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of tumors and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with the drug tamoxifen.

The study, which is a follow-up of the results the researchers obtained two years ago, was carried out at Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, in collaboration with researchers in the UK. "Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients' lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all," explain researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström, who obtained the results in collaboration with Jeff Holly and his research team at University of Bristol.

"The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumors and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumors. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis."

In the cell study, the researchers looked more closely at two substances that usually occur in the coffee drunk in Sweden -- caffeine and caffeic acid.

"The breast cancer cells reacted to these substances, especially caffeine, with reduced cell division and increased cell death, especially in combination with tamoxifen. This shows that these substances have an effect on the breast cancer cells and turn off signalling pathways that the cancer cells require to grow.

Interesting study that definitely needs follow-up to see if it also applies to women. Nice news for coffee drinkers. From Medical Xpress:

Coffee drinkers—your gums may thank you

Coffee contains antioxidants. Antioxidants fight gum disease. Does coffee, then, help fight gum disease?  Lead author and 2014 DMD graduate Nathan Ng said, "We found that coffee consumption did not have an adverse effect on periodontal health, and, instead, may have protective effects against periodontal disease."

Coffee consumption was associated with a small but statistically significant reduction in number of teeth with periodontal bone loss. Researchers concluded that coffee consumption may be protective against periodontal bone loss in adult males—the group examined in the study.

This study was done on mice, but it would be great if it also holds true for human eyes. Another benefit from daily drinking of coffee! From Science Daily:

A cup of coffee a day may keep retinal damage away, study shows

Aside from java's energy jolt, food scientists say you may reap another health benefit from a daily cup of joe: prevention of deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, aging and diabetes.

Raw coffee is, on average, just 1 percent caffeine, but it contains 7 to 9 percent chlorogenic acid (CLA), a strong antioxidant that prevents retinal degeneration in mice, according to a Cornell study published in theJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (December 2013).

The retina is a thin tissue layer on the inside, back wall of the eye with millions of light-sensitive cells and other nerve cells that receive and organize visual information. It is also one of the most metabolically active tissues, demanding high levels of oxygen and making it prone to oxidative stress. The lack of oxygen and production of free radicals leads to tissue damage and loss of sight.

In the study, mice eyes were treated with nitric oxide, which creates oxidative stress and free radicals, leading to retinal degeneration, but mice pretreated with CLA developed no retinal damage.

Previous studies have shown that coffee also cuts the risk of such chronic diseases as Parkinson's, prostate cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and age-related cognitive declines.

Excellent reason to enjoy coffee every day. From Science Daily:

Increasing consumption of coffee associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, study finds

New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that increasing coffee consumption by on average one and half cups per day (approx 360ml) over a four-year period reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 11%. 

The authors examined the associations between 4-year changes in coffee and tea consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent 4 years.

The authors used observational data from three large prospective, US-based studies in their analysis: the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) (female nurses aged 30-55 years, 1986-2006), the NHS II (younger female nurses aged 25-42 years 1991-2007), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) (male professionals 40-75 years, 1986-2006). The final analysis included 48,464 women in NHS, 47,510 women in the NHS II, and 27,759 men in HPFS.

The authors documented 7,269 incident type 2 diabetes cases, and found that participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than 1 cup/day (median change=1.69 cups/day) over a 4-year period had a 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the subsequent 4-years compared to those who made no changes in consumption. Participants who decreased their coffee intake by 1 cup a day or more (median change=-2 cups/day) had a 17% higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Changes in tea consumption were not associated with type 2 diabetes risk.

Those with highest coffee consumption and who maintained that consumption -- referred to as "high-stable consumers" since they consumed 3 cups or more per day -- had the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes, 37% lower than the "low-stable consumers" who consumed 1 cup or less per day.

While baseline decaffeinated coffee consumption was associated with a lower type 2 diabetes risk, the changes in decaffeinated coffee consumption did not change this risk.