Why coffee is good for the body

It doesn’t always get the best press about its health benefits, but coffee can actually be very good for you – especially if you’re older.

We already know it’s great at keeping us awake, but researchers have found that for older people, a couple of cups of coffee a day may also help keep the doctor away.

[Coffee fact or fiction: Can coffee really help you lose weight and reduce the risk of diabetes?]

While we obviously still need to be careful that we don’t over-do our caffeine consumption – and you should always speak to your doctor before changing your diet – the research isn’t the first time that the health benefits of a cup of joe have been analysed.

A cup of coffee or two may also help with these health complaints…

Parkinson’s

The majority of people who suffer with Parkinson’s are over 50 (though young people can also get it) and research has shown that not only does drinking coffee help reduce the likelihood of getting Parkinson’s but can help those already suffering with it.

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease carried out research in 2010 and found that people who drink two to three cups a day are a quarter less likely to get Parkinson’s, while a North American study in 2012 highlighted that those with the disease showed a modest improvement when consuming caffeine.

 

Alzheimer’s

“The consumption of three to four cups of coffee a day, over a lifetime, has been found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 20-25%, with a pronounced effect in the elderly,” says Dr Astrid Nehlig, research director, French National Health and Medical Research Institute (INSERM).

But before you stick the kettle on, he does add; “However, the studies are varied and have limited sample sizes, therefore much more research is needed, as well as more follow-up of patients over the development of the disease.”

[Read more: 9 things that could increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s]

Type 2 diabetes

While type 2 diabetes can strike at any age, the risk of getting it increases with age and there have been several surveys – including one by the American Chemical Society in 2012, which showed that those who drink a significant amount of coffee (four or more cups) are less likely to develop the disease.

Although, given the number of cups in question, this is perhaps something you should consult your doctor before trying!

Fat

We all know that it gets harder to shift fat the older we get but caffeine helps to boost your metabolic rate. When you increase your metabolic rate, the faster your body burns calories – so, by drinking one or two cups of coffee a day, you can give your body a helping hand when trying to lose those extra pounds.

Mind you, given the number of syrups, creams and fatty extras that are often added to coffee, if you’re trying to lose weight you might want to hold off on that mocha-choca latte with extra cream and chocolate sprinkles.

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