This is a guest post by Marina Salsbury. Learn more about how you can guest post for Daily Shot Of Coffee.
For many people, a breakfast without coffee is no breakfast at all. Whether you need a dose of caffeine to fully wake up or simply crave a hot beverage on a cold morning, chances are you know how quickly a day can go south when you miss that first latte. But is caffeine good for you? It is, after all, a drug. The answer might surprise you.
Contrary to what you probably learned in sixth-grade health, some drugs (in small amounts) can have beneficial effects. For some people, for instance, it appears drinking one alcoholic beverage per day can reduce the risk of heart disease. The potential benefits of caffeine are less widely known but certainly noteworthy. Quite a bit of PhD research available online indicates moderate consumption can lower your chances of developing several potentially deadly conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and cancer.
For most people, the mere mention of cancer probably strikes fear in the heart. What a happy coincidence it would be if one of your most cherished daily habits could reduce your risk of this dreaded disease. It may sound far-fetched, but a recent study has suggested drinking three or more cups of coffee per day cuts the risk of basal cell carcinoma, a kind of skin cancer, by nine percent in men and 20 percent in women. If this alone doesn’t strike you, consider the following: people who drank four or more cups of coffee per day not only reduced their susceptibility to cirrhosis of the liver by 80 percent, but also decreased their chances of developing liver cancer.
Perhaps no less devastating than cancer are degenerative disorders, which slowly strip those who suffer from them of the most basic human functions. Here too, however, caffeine may offer hope. A 2009 study reported that non-coffee drinkers were two to three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, which affects some one million Americans and causes tremors, impaired mobility, and dementia. Research into a possible link between caffeine and Parkinson’s prevention and treatment is still in its early stages, but it’s thought caffeine may offer some protection against nerve cell destruction.
The role of caffeine in reducing the risk of strokes is somewhat perplexing, given that it temporarily increases blood pressure. Nevertheless, it appears that women, at least, could benefit from drinking two or three cups of coffee a day to reduce their chances of stroke by 19 percent. Women are also the beneficiaries of caffeine’s possible role in preventing depression: those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 20 percent less likely to develop clinical depression.
Of course, the news is not unequivocally good. Scientists have examined possible links between caffeine consumption and the development of breast cancer, infertility, and brain aneurysms. On the other hand, this evidence has in some cases proved insubstantial. A 2008 study found women already suffering from benign breast disease who also drank four or more cups of coffee a day were at increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, studies conducted among women in good health found no connection between the two. Studies concerning caffeine’s effects on aneurysms and infertility are slightly more worrisome, though it is worth pointing out that according to one study, in order to truly cut your risk of having an aneurysm you would also need to forgo nose-blowing and sex.
So what does all this mean for your own caffeine consumption? Probably very little. If you enjoy your morning coffee, feel free to do so without guilt. Unless you know you’re at risk for an aneurysm or heart attack, your addiction to this drug is, at worst, innocuous. At best, it might save your life.
Marina Salsbury planned on becoming a teacher since high school, but found her way instead into online writing after college. She writes all around the Web about everything from education to exercise.