The Many Benefits of Coffee

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Coffee consumption has been the center of controversial positions for a long time.

In this article I’m going to show many of the benefits of this beverage, and the research that backs up those findings.


One thing that is perfectly clear for me is that as Lucretius said, “one man’s food is another man’s poison”, so if it doesn’t make you feel good, probably coffee is not for you, and even research has shown that certain genetic profiles cannot properly metabolize coffee and its components and/or don’t get all the benefits described in this article.

The history of coffee dates back to the 6th century in Ethiopia, where a shepherd found that when his goats ate berries from a specific plant, they had more energy and didn’t sleep much at night. This shepherd shared his observations with the people of the local monastery, where they started experimenting with it and found that the bean gave them more energy and kept the awake at night during the long hours of praying. The commercialization of coffee started on the 16th century at the Arabic peninsula, and it arrived to America by the 18th century.

Coffee is the second most traded commodity around the world and that is probably related to its undeniable energizing properties and brain sharpening effects.


Coffee Benefits Mechanisms:

According to a relatively recent metabolomic study1, researchers found that 115 metabolites were significantly associated with coffee intake and observed a significant enrichment of metabolite members of five pathways:

  1. Xanthine metabolism: includes caffeine metabolites
  2. Benzoate metabolism: reflects polyphenol metabolite products of gut microbiota metabolism
  3. Steroid: novel but may reflect phytosterol content of coffee
  4. Fatty acid metabolism (acylcholine): novel link to coffee
  5. Endocannabinoid: novel link to coffee.

Coffee has several active components that include:

  • Caffeine2:
    • Prevents oxidative DNA damage.
    • Modifies the apoptotic response and reverse the cell cycle checkpoint function.
    • Suppresses the progression of HCC through the Akt signaling pathway.
    • Keeps the blood brain barrier intact45
  • Cafestol2: anticarcinogenic.
  • Kahweol2: anticarcinogenic.
  • Chlorogenic acids:
    • Clear away reactive oxygen species and confer an anti-tumor effect2.
    • Prevents degeneration of lipid rich cells (brain).
  • Polyphenols in general:
    • Modulation of cell signaling40.
    • Increases sensitivity of cellular receptors41.

As a whole, these compounds have shown to:

  • Increase the clearance of estradiol and inhibited estradiol-mediated carcinogenesis in endometrial cells3.
  • Decreased the exposure of epithelial cells to carcinogens in the colon by increasing colonic motility3.
  • Reduce the synthesis and secretion of bile acids3.
  • Increase in the metabolic activity and/or numbers of the Bifidobacterium spp. population42.
  • Decrease inflammation43.
  • Improve liver function44.



Sports Performance:

  • Coffee consumption before a 5 Km bicycle cycling time-trial, improved the time in 8 seconds, independent of habitual caffeine consumption9.
  • 09 g/kg of coffee generated the following improvements in a 1-mile race10:
    • 3% faster compared with decaffeinated coffee
    • 9% faster compared with a placebo
  • A dose of 6mg/kg of caffeine improved the low frequency force production11.
  • A dose of 8.9 grams of coffee 30 minutes before testing generated12:
    • A significant improvement in the 1RM compared to caffeine and a placebo.
    • Attenuated sprint power reductions compared to a placebo.
  • At a dose of 5mg/Kg of bodyweight of caffeine coming from coffee, performance on a time trial brought the following benefits13:
    • Time was 5% lower compared to a placebo.
    • Power was 6.5% higher compared to a placebo.
  • When matched for caffeine content, coffee and caffeine can exert similar effects on sports performance15, so it is reasonable to think that most of the research on caffeine and sports performance, can also apply to coffee.


Fat loss:

  • Coffee consumption is inversely correlated with21:
    • Adiposity (amount of fat mass)
    • Body weight
    • Body Mass Index
    • Fat mass
  • Drinking 1 cup of coffee containing 65 mg of caffeine, significantly increased (3.2%) the temperature of the supraclavicular region, which co-locates to the main region of brown adipose tissue in adult humans, and is indicative of thermogenesis22.
  • The consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee per day resulted in39:
    • Significant body weight reduction.
    • Significant body fat reduction.
    • Significant nutrient intake reduction


Blood sugar and insulin management4,5:

Coffee consumption decreases the risk of type II diabetes as follows:

  • 13% at a dose of 1 cup per day
  • 42% at a dose of 2-3 cups per day
  • 47% at a dose of 4 cups per day
  • 67% at a dose of 12 cups or more

The possible mechanisms that explain these benefits is the content of chlorogenic acid.



  • Research6 found a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality for each 2 additional cups of total coffee per day. This association was stronger for participants aged above 55.
  • Higher total coffee consumption was significantly associated with longer telomeres7. Compared with non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers had:
    • 2 – 3 cups per day: 29% longer telomeres
    • More than 3 cups per day: 36% longer telomeres
  • In an animal study8, it was found that chlorogenic acid could extend the lifespan, delay the age-related decline of body movement, and improve stress resistance, protecting from the aging effects of insulin via insulin and IGF1 signaling pathways.
  • On a Mediterranean cohort study37, the reduction in risk of all-cause mortality was:
    • 1 cup per day: 27%
    • More than one cup per day: 44%


Brain Health and Performance:

  • In an animal study15, caffeine boosted the activity flow in the brain.
  • Coffee results in heightened alertness and arousal and improvement of cognitive performance. Protects against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia16.
  • Caffeine enhances the neural processing of positive words, but not those with neutral or negative associations17.
  • 3-5 cups of coffee doubled the ketone production after breakfast on healthy adults, compared to an overnight fast18.
  • Decreases the risk of depression23, comparing the consumption of 1 or less cups of coffee per day:
    • 15% risk reduction with 2 – 3 cups of coffee per day.
    • 20% risk reduction with 4 or more cups of coffee per day.
  • In an animal model, 5 cups of coffee per day produced a memory restoration on cognitive impaired Alzheimer’s disease animals, and a reduction in amyloid-beta levels in only 1-2 months35.
  • 1 – 4 cups of coffee per day showed a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease of 43%. When the number of cups was higher than 5, the risked decreased to 60%36.



  • Coffee consumption was associated with higher circulating levels of adiponectin (regulates glucose levels and fatty acid oxidation) and lower circulating levels of leptin (regulates adipose tissue mass)19
  • Compared with nondrinkers, subjects that drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had lower concentrations of20:
    • C-peptide (-8.7%) which is an insulin production marker.
    • Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 – IGFBP-3 (-2.2%) which is a peptide than bonds to IGF-1 – Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 – mainly.
    • Estrone (-6.4%), which is one of three types of estrogen.
    • Total and free estradiol (-5.7%), (-8.1%), respectively. Another one of three types of estrogen.
    • Leptin (-6.4%) which regulates adipose tissue mass.
    • CRP (-16.6%), which is a marker for general inflammation.
    • IL-6 (-8.1%), which is aa pro-inflammatory cytokine.
    • sTNFR-2 (-5.8%), which is pro-inflammatory biomarker.
  • Compared with nondrinkers, subjects that drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had higher concentrations of20:
    • Total testosterone (7.3% in women and 5.3% in men)
    • Total and HMW adiponectin (9.3%), (17.2%) Respectively.


Cardiovascular Health:

  • Reduces blood pressure in the long term and improves endothelial function through the effect that chlorogenic acid has on the arteries24.
  • Diminishes platelet aggregation within one hour of ingestion, most probably because of the content of phenolic acids25.
  • Improves HDL at a dose of 8 cups (150 ml) of coffee per day26.
  • Decreases in 24% the risk of death from cardiovascular disease on people that drink 1-3 cups per day. The high antioxidant content of coffee led to a decrease on inflammation, with the subsequent reduction on risk of death from cardiovascular disease27.
  • Decrease in coronary calcification when consuming more than 3 cups of coffee per day28.
  • 8 cups of coffee per day, compared to cero, improved HDL by 7%43.


Reduction in the risk of cancer:

  • Diminishes the risk of DNA damage associated with cancer by 12.3% with the consumption of 800 ml for coffee per day38.
  • Oxidative DNA damage was markedly reduced and glutathione levels significantly increased with the consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee per day39.
  • Diminishes the risk of prostate cancer by 11%, with an increment of 2 cups of coffee intake29.
  • An increase in coffee intake of two cups/day was associated with a 7%-12% decreased risk of prostate cancer30.
  • Reduces the risk of liver cancer, by 54%, with an increment of 2 cups of coffee intake29.
  • Reduces the risk of endometrial cancer by 27%, and on a dose response analysis showed a reduction of 12% with an increment of 2 cups of coffee intake29.
  • Reduces oral and pharynx cancer risk by 31%, when comparing highest vs. lowest coffee consumption29.
  • Coffee was inversely associated with colon cancer, particularly proximal tumors with a 15% – 25% rate of protection31.
  • Risk reduction of colon cancer of 13%29.
  • Risk reduction of endometrial cancer of 27% with an intake of 2 or more cups per day29.
  • 11% risk reduction in melanoma29.
  • On a Mediterranean cohort study37, a 59% risk reduction of dying from cancer was evidenced for subjects that consumed more than 1 cup of coffee per day.


Other chronic conditions:

  • Chronic liver disease32Compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers showed:
    • 21% risk reduction of chronic liver disease.
    • 20% risk reduction of steatosis.
    • 49% risk reduction of dying from chronic liver disease.
    • 20% risk reduction of hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Gut health:
    • Patients who drank coffee, rather than water, after bowel surgery to remove a part of their colon experienced a quicker return to bowel movements and tolerance of solid food33.
    • 240 ml of coffee (yielding 150 mg of caffeine) stimulate colonic motor activity47.
  • Reduces office work related pain34:

Subjects who had consumed coffee before starting a pain provoking office work task exhibited attenuated pain development compared with the subjects who had abstained from coffee intake.

  • Interferes with the plaque formation process in the mouth46.


My love for coffee and its fantastic flavor and aroma, brought me to find different methods to prepare this beverage. From the 7 non-electrical forms that I have at home to prepare coffee, my favorite is cold brew and here is the recipe.

Very important to know, not all coffees are created equal. Look for organic (or certified pesticides free), light and recently roasted coffee.


My coffee providers:

Tourist Coffee is a Colombian company founded by a certified international coffee grader and a barista. They travel throughout the country finding the best and finest existing coffees and roast the beans themselves. All the process is guaranteed to have the highest possible standards. Tourist Coffee ships their products to most of the countries in the world.


I hope all these benefits will make you enjoy this wonderful and healthy beverage as much as I do!


Coach Carlos Castro



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