Often people think of coffee just as a vehicle for caffeine,” writes Dr. Rob van Dam of the Harvard School of Public Health. “But it’s actually a very complex beverage,” containing hundreds of different chemical compounds. Grown in more than 70 countries around the world, coffee has something of a contentious history with health experts, who have long cautioned that over-consumption may be detrimental to our health. More recent studies, however, paint a rosier picture for the Coffee plant’s roasted berries (they’re not actually beans), suggesting that when consumed in moderate amounts — and without heaping on the sugar and cream — the magical stuff can harbor numerous potential health benefits. A look at a few of them:
•Coffee may help fight depression.
Start your day with a smile: A joint study from the National Institutes of Health and the AARP discovered that folks who quaffed four or more cups of java a day were 10 per cent less likely to be depressed than someone who didn’t drink coffee at all. Oddly, the same mental-health benefits didn’t extend to other caffeinated beverages — particularly cola, which was linked to a higher risk of depression (perhaps because of the high sugar content). Therefore, researchers suggest coffee’s “mood-lifting effect might be traced to its antioxidants,” reports Prevention.
• Coffee-drinking adults are less likely to commit suicide
Along those lines, a massive public study from the Harvard School of Public Health found an astonishing statistic: Drinking two to four cups of coffee a day reduces the risk of suicide in both men and women by a surprising 50 per cent. Researchers combed through the health data of more than 100,000 men and women, and pegged caffeine as the main mood-enhancer in coffee.