Health & Wellness

The Benefits of Coffee

09.26.11 coffee

Studies show the average American consumes more than 400, eight-ounce cups of coffee per year. Although many of us feel we can’t live without our daily cup of Joe, we often feel guilty about this hot and steamy morning ritual.  Cotton Candy wants you to know that in moderation, coffee can do more good than harm.  Here to spell out those nutritional benefits is Lauren Antonucci, Registered Dietitian and director of NYC’s Nutrition Energy.

No. 1 Fights Type 2 Diabetes
A number of studies report there’s a 35 percent risk reduction of Type 2 diabetes in those who routinely drink a large amount of coffee, about six to seven cups every day. A 28 percent lower risk was seen in people who drink four to six cups daily regardless of weight or gender. Interestingly, studies have shown similar results for decaf drinkers, so whether you enjoy regular or decaffeinated, you should reap the benefits. Researchers believe that a substance called chlorogenic acid, found in both regular and decaf coffee, reduces glucose concentrations.

No. 2 Possibly Decreases Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
There have been consistent studies that link a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease to higher coffee consumption. The research has been promising – at least for men. Experts are examining possible interactions between estrogen in women and caffeine to explain the difference, but for now spread the promising word to the men in your life.

No. 3 Great Source of Antioxidants
Coffee is one of the best sources of antioxidants, especially when the drink is freshly brewed. Because of high antioxidant content, coffee may lower risk of heart arrhythmia problems in both men and women – and of stroke in women. A study of 130,000 Kaiser Permanente members showed a 20 percent reduction in hospitalization due to arrhythmias – a disorder of irregular heart rate – for those who consumed one to three cups of coffee per day.

No. 4 Strong Mineral Source
Coffee contains important minerals, among them potassium, magnesium and chromium. Approximately 40 percent of the mineral content in coffee comes from potassium, a mineral necessary for the heart, kidneys and other organs to work normally.  So, coffee is often a great source of potassium for many Americans. Each cup also delivers magnesium, required for both muscle contraction and heart function.

No. 5 Great Energy Booster
Coffee provides a pleasant aroma, increased alertness and enhanced mood. Simply control the amount you are drinking.  Drinking more than four to eight cups per day can cause restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness and irritability.  But in moderation, most people can safely consume coffee in moderation without guilt.


Written by: Lauren Antonucci, MS, RD, CSSD, CDE, CDN

Lauren Antonucci is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in sports nutrition, Certified Diabetes Educator, and owner of Nutrition Energy in New York City.  Antonucci serves as a private practice dietitian, weight loss expert, nutrition lecturer and frequent health and nutrition contributor. She has been featured on Good Day New York and NY1 News.

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