Health Benefits of Coffee

Another study shows that your daily cuppa joe, or four, may be beneficial to your health

Credit: Kessop

A new study shows that regular coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of death from oral cancers

Relax and enjoy your daily coffee habit — yet another study shows you could be all the healthier for it

Before you read on, here’s a conflict-of-interest disclaimer: I am a long-time four-double-cappuccinos-a-day convert who is fervently engaged in a sadly solo effort to have coffee declared the official health drink of B.C.

I believe that no other liquid comes even close to matching the health benefits that regular coffee intake can produce.

Coffee Drinkers Are Less Prone to Disease

An arsenal of pro-coffee studies has already established that regular coffee drinkers live longer and suffer less from dementia, Type 2 diabetes, skin cancer and liver cancer, while they have better outcomes after strokes and much, much more.

Now a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology provides yet another pro-coffee bullet point: regular coffee drinkers have a significantly lower risk of death from oral cancers — cancers of the pharynx, larynx, tongue, etc. — than people who don’t drink coffee.

The study followed the health of nearly one million adult Americans over about 26 years and found this reduced risk of death from oral cancers for coffee drinkers held true even for smokers and heavy users of alcohol, two long-established strong risk factors for oral cancer.

The greatest positive effect of coffee — a 49 per cent reduction in deaths from oral cancer — was seen in people who drank at least four cups of coffee a day, although the researchers also detected a potential albeit weaker positive trend in people who drank less than that amount.

Coffee Critics Contest

But the frustrating thing for me is that despite all the positives associated with coffee, there is still a large army out there, composed mostly, I think, of too-mellow tea drinkers and bloated water addicts who abhor coffee. Many consider coffee to be an evil brew that, much like tobacco, produces unwanted second-hand effects on people forced to be exposed to it, such as becoming anxious and getting palpitations by having to sit next to someone enjoying a cappuccino.

The reason those people think coffee can never be any good is that they have a totally misguided belief that coffee is merely a vehicle to deliver lots of the stimulant caffeine to an unsuspecting drinker. 

Nutritional Benefits of Coffee

In fact, coffee is also loaded with minerals and health-promoting compounds called polyphenols and anti-oxidants, and you know what darlings anti-oxidants have become in the health-food world.

Well, coffee is a bean, after all, and beans are very important in the typical healthy Mediterranean diet.

Bottom line: If you don’t drink coffee, there’s no evidence (yet) that you should do so in order to improve your health. But if you do drink coffee, you’re probably not only smart, sweet, charming and creative, but you’re also probably doing yourself a health favour. 

Treat your tastebuds to a cup of locally roasted and brewed beans at one of Vancouver’s Best Coffee Roasters.

Dr. Art Hister is a medical writer and health analyst for Global TV.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.