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While doctors used to advise patients to drink less coffee to stay healthy, more and more research has revealed the incredible health benefits of our favorite morning beverage.
Coffee’s even been found to brew up better gut bacteria, which could help keep your immune system running strong.
Investigators have also found that people who drink coffee are less likely to suffer from diabetes and people who don’t have a higher risk of developing it.
Considering that 96 million (1 in 3) Americans have prediabetes, the implications could be huge. But researchers had to show more than an association and set out to do so…
Putting out the coals that fan the fire
Using massive sets of data from the UK Biobank (with 145,368 participants) and the Rotterdam Study (with 7,111 participants), the researchers were able to confirm that a simple one-cup per day increase in coffee consumption was associated with a four to six percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D).
And the underlying mechanism they were searching for?
T2D is considered, in part at least, an inflammatory disease. The researchers saw that coffee consumption resulted in lower levels of an inflammatory biomarker — C-reactive protein (CRP) — which increases when inflammation is present in the body.
From there, things got even better…
One extra cup led to:
- Lower insulin resistance. When you’re insulin resistant, the insulin key doesn’t work as effectively and can lead to high glucose levels.
- Lower levels of the hormone leptin, which regulates food intake and energy balance.
- Higher adiponectin, a hormone that regulates glucose and lipid metabolism, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects.
When asked about these results, lead author, Dr. Trudy Voortman, PhD, had this to say: “Coffee is one of the most frequently consumed beverages worldwide and its potential health effects trigger significant scientific research. Previous studies have linked higher coffee consumption to lower risk of developing T2D but underlying mechanisms remained unclear.
“Our research shows that coffee is associated with differences in the levels of inflammation biomarkers in the body, and as we know that T2D is partly an inflammatory disease, this could be one of the mechanisms at play. These findings could also support future research into the effects of coffee on other inflammation-related chronic diseases.”
Drinking coffee to your benefit
About that one “extra” cup per day…
That increase was measured against varying amounts the individuals in the study were already drinking. Among participants, that ranged from 0 to less than 6 cups per day. The study found benefits from the one additional cup regardless of whether individuals were at the lower end or higher end.
Experts consider consuming 3-5 cups of caffeinated coffee per day to be a moderate and safe amount for most adults. Of course, pregnant or lactating women should decrease that by at least half.
This research also weighed the benefits against different coffee preparations…
It turns out that drinking filtered or espresso coffee had the strongest beneficial association with lowering both diabetes risk and inflammation, compared to other types of brewed beverages.
Now, if you drink your coffee black, you can boost its ability to squelch inflammation further by adding milk. Copenhagen researchers found that adding milk creates an intersection between polyphenols and proteins that doubles coffee’s anti-inflammatory benefits.
I realize not everyone is a coffee drinker. In that case, you might want to read about how fish oil can improve blood sugar (hint: it also has a lot to do with inflammation!).
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