Coffee: Pain Reduction, Weight Loss, and More

For decades, it’s been a given in natural health circles that coffee is a no-no. It’s commonly one of the first things that people are asked to give up when going on a detox program, or any other recommendations for improving their health. Over the past decade or so, though, evidence has been mounting that there are actually many health benefits for that morning cup of joe.

One of the latest findings is that coffee may help to reduce pain.  In 2012, Norwegian researchers found that coffee drinkers reported about a 25% lower pain score than non-coffee drinkers in a simulated office work environment. This difference was true whether participants had chronic pain or not.

Other benefits that have been reported for coffee in recent years include:

  • decreased risk of endometrial cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes
  • enhanced muscle growth
  • assistance with weight loss (with green coffee bean extract)
The research on green coffee extract for weight loss was a small human trial, involving only 16 subjects. Doses used were in the range of 700 to 1000 mg per day.  However, the results were striking, and so far, and this supplement seems safe. It is inexpensive, and worth a try for a few months.
The main benefits of coffee seem to be related to its phytonutrient content– those health promoting compounds found in plants that have antioxidant and other beneficial effects on the human body. These benefits seem to hold true whether the coffee contains caffeine or not. So if you’re concerned about caffeine, due to its acute blood pressure raising effects, or its detrimental effects on sleep, you can drink decaf, and still enjoy the preventive medicine aspects of coffee.
One last thing to keep in mind: many of the health benefits of coffee can be counteracted if you add a lot of milk and sugar to it. The high saturated fat and empty calories would be more than enough to outweigh the phytonutrient effects.
For me, I’ll be enjoying my cup of black half-caf in the morning all the more.

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