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Coffee is a well-beloved drink all over the world. According to the International Coffee Organization, world coffee consumption increased by 4.2% to 175.6 million bags in 2021/2022 and continues to grow with the rise in demand. Given that more people are drinking coffee, it’s no surprise that it has also been among the most well-researched drinks.
In most studies, there is a consensus that coffee is good for most people. From the lower mortality risk to positive effects on certain diseases, these coffee benefits stem from bioactive compounds, particularly polyphenols— a plant compound with antioxidant properties. In this article, we’ll explore some of the health benefits of coffee polyphenols:
Weight loss and blood sugar management
Some may know that coffee can decrease appetite but may not understand the mechanisms behind it. Caffeine is one of the primary drivers behind it, but coffee polyphenols can also reduce appetite by increasing GLP-1 secretion. The hormone, also known as a glucagon-like peptide, is produced in the gut in response to food— leading to feelings of fullness.
While the body naturally produces GLP-1, it only lasts about two to three minutes upon release. Drinking coffee can increase GLP-1 levels. This helps people harness GLP-1 for weight loss as it will cause the pancreas receptors to activate and regulate insulin, which in turn helps them control their blood sugar. GLP-1 can also activate receptors in the brain, curbing appetite and messaging the gut to slow stomach emptying. This makes people feel less hungry and reduces cravings, allowing people to stick to their diets for weight loss.
With the ability to manage blood sugar, studies have shown that this effect can primarily benefit type 2 diabetic patients with insulin deficiency. Through stimulation, pancreatic β-cells can secrete more insulin. In return, this boosts the body’s ability to maintain glucose homeostasis.
Coffee can change how cancer develops, from limiting its growth to facilitating its death. A study on plant polyphenols from coffee found that these can form versatile coatings and biocompatible nanoparticles, which can be used to benefit humans. Specifically, researchers discovered that some nanoparticles, particularly copper sulfate-oxidized nanoparticles, can inhibit the proliferation of a strain of breast cancer cells. In addition, further research concludes that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of endometrial and liver cancer.
As people age, they become more susceptible to neurodegeneration and other progressive diseases. One disorder faced by individuals over 60 years old is Parkinson’s disease (PD), which causes unintended movements like tremors, muscular rigidity, and postural instability. While the underlying cause of PD is still relatively unknown, researchers have found a way to slow neurodegeneration via daily consumption of coffee.
Through coffee, people can ingest polyphenols to slow neurodegeneration. In addition to slowing neurodegeneration, patients may see improved motor and cognitive capabilities, as well as better dopamine levels. Furthermore, polyphenols have a positive effect on the gut microbiome, decreasing inflammation and minimizing symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Coffee brings many health benefits as long as you know what you’re looking for. Be careful to drink it in moderation, as caffeine and other nutrients within coffee can be harmful. For more coffee advice, do read our guide to the top 8 coffee flavors every coffee aficionado should try.