Coffee might be the most widely consumed drink in the world, but it’s still a mystery to many of us what it actually does to our bodies, and especially our skin. That’s because we tend to hear only about the negative effects coffee has on our skin, such as blemishes, sun damage, and dehydration. Luckily, there are some surprising benefits of drinking coffee that are just as important to know about—in fact, if you follow them closely enough, you might find that your skin looks better and younger than ever before!
1) Reduces the risk of diabetes
One study found that three to five cups of coffee daily could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 22 percent. Another study found that women who drank just one cup daily had a 19 percent lower risk than those who didn’t drink coffee at all. Researchers suspect it has something to do with coffee’s impact on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism—two factors in Type 2 diabetes—and are continuing to examine it closely. Meanwhile, check out these seven signs you’re drinking too much java.
2) Can reduce risk of heart disease
Studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers face a lower risk of developing heart disease than non-coffee drinkers. The National Institutes of Health cite studies showing that more than three cups per day lowers your risk for heart disease by up to 20%. Another study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that moderate coffee drinking can reduce a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 11% over 10 years.
A Harvard study backs up these findings, adding that it may even help prevent strokes. Can promote healthy skin: All those antioxidants you get from sipping your favorite brew can do wonders for your skin, especially if you don’t consume too many sugary add-ins with it. According to Scientific American, research shows antioxidant levels increase after caffeine intake—and when paired with exercise—increases collagen production which is essential for young, healthy-looking skin.
3) Can improve your athletic performance
There’s evidence that caffeine can improve athletic performance, especially when it comes to endurance. One study found that cyclists who consumed caffeine an hour before a race had a greater power output (i.e., more energy) than cyclists who didn’t consume caffeine.
Another study showed that athletes taking in 200mg of caffeine/day for 2 weeks had lower perceived exertion levels and completed time trials faster. To put things into perspective, one cup of coffee has about 100-200mg of caffeine. So don’t be afraid to hit up your favorite barista before hitting up those weight room gains.
4) Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s
One recent study, published in Neurology, found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee per day had a 64 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who consumed only one cup per month. Although researchers aren’t certain what it is about coffee that offers such brain benefits, many scientists are increasingly convinced that caffeine itself may be protective.
Multiple studies have shown that drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee lowers your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and even some cancers (namely colorectal cancer). Now add Alzheimer’s to that list—and don’t forget: these studies apply to caffeinated beverages like black tea and decaf coffee too. Just remember not to load up on cream and sugar, which can negate any health benefits.
And also keep in mind that high doses of caffeine can actually cause anxiety and heart palpitations; if you’re prone to either of these conditions, you might want to cut back on how much coffee you drink each day.
5) Has anti-aging properties
One of my favorite benefits of drinking coffee is that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are harmful byproducts produced by stress and pollution that can speed up aging by causing wrinkles and contribute to a variety of skin conditions.
Antioxidants help neutralize these harmful molecules. Numerous studies have demonstrated that polyphenols, including catechins—which are found in high concentrations in green tea and coffee—can improve skin health, reduce signs of aging, protect against sun damage and potentially even prevent cancer. That said, I advise adding just one or two cups per day to your diet if you already drink lots; most studies showing positive results from higher intake levels were based on rats or lab-cultured cells, not real people!
6) Can improve your mood
While it’s true that a cup of coffee can perk you up, other benefits may come as a surprise. For example, scientists have discovered drinking coffee regularly can lower your risk for depression by about 20 percent. Other studies have shown coffee may lower your risk for Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and even suicide.
As if that weren’t enough, coffee can also boost energy levels (especially in women), enhance skin health and protect against sun damage. If you’re not a regular coffee drinker or if you’re looking to add another positive habit to your life, try making it part of your daily routine. It could be just what you need to improve your overall health and well-being!
Free radicals: free radicals are damaging molecules formed when we’re exposed to pollutants like car exhaust, and power plant emissions, as well as products from cooking with nonstick cookware. Antioxidants such as polyphenols help rid our bodies of free radicals before they cause too much damage and one way they do so is by boosting blood flow—which means more blood rushes over capillaries. This is one reason why consuming polyphenol-rich foods—like green tea, and cocoa—is associated with less inflammation, says Katcher. There’s also evidence that caffeinated products like coffee may reduce brain shrinkage [another marker of aging], likely due to caffeine increasing blood flow. Oh! And keep an eye out for phenolic acids.
While it’s been long known that drinking coffee can be good for you in moderation, most people are still unaware of how a cup or two a day can benefit their skin. Most people don’t realize that excessive coffee consumption (4+ cups) can actually aggravate acne; however, one to two cups may be just what your skin needs! Coffee is packed with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and increase cell turnover. It also has caffeine which helps speed up collagen production and tighten pores and has been shown to reduce oiliness! The takeaway: drink more coffee if you have oily skin!