We know that coffee has many health benefits, which are often attributed to its rich phytochemistry – “including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ), etc.”(1)
Many studies have documented an inverse correlation between caffeine consumption and the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and various cancers, as well as its ameliorative effects on oxidative stress.
But now there’s even more evidence that your morning cup of joe can help you stay healthy. A study from Harokopio University in Athens, Greece has found that regular coffee drinkers are over 50 percent less likely to suffer from diabetes and various inflammatory conditions.
The study, which was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, began over ten years ago. Blood tests were used to measure inflammation markers in regular coffee drinkers, as well as in those who did not regularly consume coffee.
The study started back in 2001 and 2002 when 1,300 men and women at least 18 years old were surveyed based on their diet and coffee drinking habits. Those who drank less than 1.5 cups a day were deemed casual coffee drinkers. This included 816 participants. There were 385 habitual drinkers and a total of 239 who abstained from coffee altogether. Blood tests, measuring protein inflammation markers and antioxidant levels, were conducted on all participants.
Over the following ten years, between 12 and 13 percent of the participants developed diabetes – 191 people in all. After factoring in variables like genetics, blood pressure, and smoking habits, researchers found that habitual coffee drinkers (drink more than 1.5 cups per day) were 54% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers(2).
Coffee And Inflammation
Researchers believe that the connection between coffee consumption and diabetes risk may be explained by serum amyloid levels. Serum amyloid, an inflammatory marker found in the blood, was found to be present in higher levels in non-coffee drinkers than in coffee drinkers.
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“Oxidative stress has been shown to accelerate the dysfunction of pancreatic b-cells and antioxidants intake has been shown to decrease diabetes risk,” one researcher explained(3). “So the antioxidant components of coffee may be beneficial, but still more research is needed toward this direction.”
Drinking The “Right” Kind Of Coffee
While there is still research to be done to confirm the connection between regular coffee consumption and reduced diabetes risk, it’s worth noting that simple, black coffee is ultimately your best bet if you’re looking to reap the potential health benefits of caffeine.
Coffee drinks which are loaded with sugar and fat, like Stabucks frappuccinos (some of which contain up to 400 percent of your recommended daily intake of sugar!), are ultimately not going to reduce your risk of diabetes.
In addition to this, the study showed that hot coffee may be more important for determining diabetes risk than cold or iced coffee.
So keep your coffee consumption simple – a cup of hot coffee with a little butter or coconut oil in the morning is nothing to feel guilty about. Quite the opposite, in fact, if contemporary research has anything to say about it!