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The health benefits of coffee

At DRWakefield, coffee is at the heart of everything we do, as we specialise in providing our roasters with the best possible beans at the fairest price we can. We've built a successful business over the past four decades centred around how good quality coffee can taste, but can the beverage have health benefits too?

Seemingly countless scientific studies have been carried out into the effects of coffee over the years, but here we're going to look at just a few of these.

It's common knowledge that coffee's high levels of caffeine can boost a person's energy levels, but what other health-enhancing qualities does our beloved drink have?

Prevents depression

We may feel like a cup of coffee wakes us up and makes us a little cheerier in the mornings, but there is scientific research to show that the beverage may in fact prevent a person from developing depression.

Doctors at Harvard University in the US conducted an investigation into coffee's effects on mental health in 2011, finding that females who consumed four or more cups every day were 20 per cent less likely to become depressed in comparison to those who only drank one or two mugs' worth a week.

Furthermore, research published last year from Harvard looked at conclusions relating to coffee from three prior studies, discovering that drinking between two and four cups of it each day could potentially reduce an adult's risk of committing suicide by 50 per cent. This was found to be the case whether the beverage was of the caffeinated variety or not.

The study authors explained that consuming any more than this daily could possibly have the opposite effect on a person's health, stating: "Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups a day or 400 mg of caffeine a day."

Lowers diabetes risk

A study carried out in 2009 by scientists at the University of Oklahoma Health Services Center found that adults who drank 12 or more cups of coffee every day were 67 per cent less likely than non-coffee drinkers to develop type-2 diabetes, suggesting that the beverage could help to regulate the body's glucose levels.

Decreases stress

While the above health effects relate to physically drinking coffee, research also shows that simply smelling the powerful aroma of a bean-based brew could significantly decrease an individual's stress levels.

This is according to a study from scientists at Seoul National University, who carried out tests on rats to see how exposure to the aroma of coffee affected their stress levels following sleep deprivation.

It was found that smelling roasted coffee made them calmer and better prepared to face the day if they had missed out on their full quota of kip.

Reduces cancer risk

There are countless studies published in the media about different foods and drinks that could potentially prevent cancer – some of which revolve around coffee.

For instance, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted a 20-year investigation into the correlation between coffee consumption and skin cancer development, finding that women who drank at least three cups every day were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

There is also evidence to suggest coffee may help to reduce a person's risk of developing liver cancer and heart disease, but only if consumed in moderation.

What do we think?

There is certainly a great deal of conflicting research out there regarding the potential health effects of coffee, with varying evidence to back this up – and we've only detailed a small snippet of this here.

However, as long as you still enjoy drinking it and your caffeine consumption does not get out of hand, there is no reason you shouldn't enjoy a few cups of the aromatic beverage each day.

And if you're after some new beans to try or serve to your customers alongside a few caffeine-related health tips, check out what we at DRWakefield currently have on offer.