Why Great Coffee Leads to Better Health (and Health Care)

It may sound incredible that drinking coffee improves health—but research is showing just that. Coffee is one of the easiest and best things to consume for basic, overall health.

Health Benefits—Mortality

Coffee’s health benefits are legendary, and two recent, extensive studies provide even more evidence for this. A longitudinal study conducted in Los Angeles and Hawaii and funded by the National Cancer Institute concluded that coffee consumption over time leads to a lower risk of death. The study, which involved over 180,000 participants, found those drinking one cup of coffee per day lowered their risk of death from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, respiratory and kidney disease by 12 percent. Those drinking 3 cups a day had an even greater reduction—18 percent. A similar study tested over half a million citizens of ten different European countries, tracking mortality rates over a period of approximately sixteen years. The findings were the same— drinking coffee has a measurable, positive effect on lifespan.

Other studies have indicated a host of other health benefits related to coffee, many of them tied to the antioxidants found in coffee. Antioxidants are critical in the body’s fight against free radicals, cancer-causing agents that roam the bloodstream. The caffeine contained in coffee has the ability to increase short-term memory (the part of your brain that stores a phone number you’ve just looked up until you’re able to dial it), normalize function and prevent degeneration of the brain, and even lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

The Health Care Effect

Doctors and nurses, on the front lines of the health care system, owe a debt to coffee (and especially caffeine) as well—it increases focus and promotes stamina, two things every health care professional desperately needs. Coffee is a welcome defense against fatigue and loss of concentration that are critical to the energy needed when working long hours in a hospital.

Why Quality Brew?

So why does the quality of the coffee matter—doesn’t mediocre coffee still contain plenty antioxidants? It does, but inferior coffee often requires a lot of help to get down—namely, copious amounts of additives like sugar and cream, which are not directly tied to increased health (in fact, added sugar is one of the worst things you can consume). Great coffee already tastes great, so it stands to reason that it would need less “processing” to consume.