Coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

Coffee contains compounds that have important health benefits. Photo credit: Shutterstock
Coffee contains compounds that have important health benefits. Photo credit: Shutterstock

It is more than just dark-colored liquid with caffeine. Coffee actually contains hundreds of different compounds, some of which have important health benefits.

Several massive studies have now shown that the people who drink the most coffee live longer and have a reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Coffee Is a Major Source of Antioxidants

When hot water runs through the coffee grounds while brewing, the substances in the coffee beans mix with the water and become part of the drink. Some of these substances are well known, including caffeine, but there are hundreds of other compounds in there as well, many of which science has yet to identify.

Many of these compounds are antioxidants that protect our bodies from oxidation, which involves free radicals that damage molecules in the body. Without getting into complicated details, oxidation is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and common diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Coffee, believe it or not, happens to be the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables, combined.

When you’re treating yourself to a cup of coffee, you’re not only getting caffeine but a whole bunch of other beneficial compounds, including powerful antioxidants.

Several Massive Studies Show That People Who Drink Coffee Live Longer Than Those Who Don’t

There are several studies showing that when people drink coffee, they have a lower risk of dying from a range of serious diseases.

A groundbreaking study, the largest of its kind, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012: Freedman ND, et al. Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality. New England Journal of Medicine, 2012. In this study, 402,260 individuals between 50 and 71 years of age were asked about their coffee consumption.

freedman-et-al-coffee-and-risk-of-death

The results were fairly remarkable. After following the people for 12-13 years, those who drank the most coffee were significantly less likely to have died. As you can see from the graph, the more coffee people drank, the lower their risk of death was.

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