The benefits of coffee

The morning pick-me-up that helps in more ways than one.

By Donna Fleming
Coffee can help memory, both short and long term, and there is also evidence it may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s. One study found women – but not men – who were over 65 and drank more than three cups a day, performed better on memory tests than those who drank just one cup.
At least four cups daily may cut your risk of getting gallstones by 25%, according to a Harvard University study.
According to a report in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, women who drink two to three cups a day are 15% less likely to suffer from depression.
Studies suggest coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and four cups daily could reduce the risk by as much as 50%. It is thought this is due to caffeine’s ability to block substances which play a part in the development of the disease.
Coffee has been associated with decreased risk of several types of cancer, including breast, endometrial, prostate and liver. A Swedish study found two to three cups a day reduced the risk, or delayed the onset, of breast cancer. Another study, in 2011, found that drinking four cups daily could result in a 25% reduced risk of getting endometrial cancer. Other research has concluded that coffee drinkers can be 50% less likely to get liver cancer, than those who never drink it.
The caffeine helps to stimulate the metabolism, which can assist with weight control. A 2006 study found that the metabolism-boosting benefits were greater in lean women, rather than those who are obese, so it may be better for maintaining weight, rather than trying to lose it.
The caffeine in coffee may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s, with people who drink two to three cups daily having 25% less chance of getting it.
Caffeine may provide support when you’re exercising. It appears to improve endurance and can help athletes perform better during strength training, if taken an hour beforehand.
A study of men aged 40 and over, found the coffee drinkers among them were less likely to suffer from metabolic disease gout. Those who downed six cups a day had a 60% decreased risk of getting the condition.
The popularity of coffee continues to grow. Annual consumption worldwide has been estimated at more than 400 billion cups per year. The US is responsible for about 35% of this.

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