I picked up a lot of things from college: a more clear sense of the person I want to be, experiences I’ll never forget, a degree to help me move forward in this world-
Oh, and an addiction to coffee of course.
Between the all-nighters, finals, and early classes, it was difficult not to grab a cup of joe to get through the day. At one point, I was surprised to find a particular emotion associated with this habit: guilt. Every time I felt I needed coffee to get through my day, I would feel as if I was doing something wrong.
Originally, I had believed that this may be because of my Asian upbringing. I grew up with the rumor that drinking coffee will stunt your growth (trust me, I definitely don’t need any more of that) and a general stigma around the drink. My parents created this idea so early on that I can still recall my first sip as a young girl. I got a thrill thinking I was doing something all the adults did (as if it were somehow as dangerous and bold as alcohol).
I then realized it wasn’t an “Asian thing” at all. Nearly everyone I met seemed to have that same sort of guilt when they had more than a single cup of coffee. How could something so good and addicting possibly be good for your health, right?
Well now we can all take a sigh of relief. Those whispered rumors that coffee may actually be good for you apparently have grounded evidence after all. Let’s all celebrate with a cup of coffee while we go through the various health benefits of coffee for women:
1) ANTIOXIDANTS GALORE
According to a study from researches at the University of Scranton, coffee is one of the highest sources of antioxidants. In fact, its the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. A single cup of coffee offers 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants compared to 294 milligrams found in a cup of tea and 76 milligrams from a banana. What does this mean? A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reports women who drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day are 25% less likely to die of heart disease (for women and men, this percentage is still a hearty 18%). The antioxidants even help prevent diseases associated with the liver.
2) A CUP OF HAPPY
Many women drink a cup of coffee as a pick me up. I’m guilty of dropping by a Starbucks to get an energy boost or simply to feel more hyper. As it turns out, the long term effects are even better. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who regularly drink coffee have a 20% lower risk of depression. In fact, the more coffee regularly consumed (up to six cups), the less likely it was for the woman to gain depression.
3) HELPS YOUR SKIN
A new study from Brigham and Women’s hospital discovered that women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily had a 20% lower risk for basal cell carcinoma/skin cancer (Men had a 9% decrease). If course this certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore our sunscreen.
4) BOOSTS PERFORMANCE
The New York Times reports that caffeine “has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream which enables people to run or pedal longer.” It is no surprise that athletes often consume coffee prior to a game/match/ etc. After all, coffee is a completely legal way of boosting one’s energy.
5) LOWERS RISK OF TYPE II DIABETES
According to Science Daily, the consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee a day was linked to a 25% decreased risk of developing Type II diabetes. The American Diabetes Association points out that this decreased risk is especially prominent with younger and middle-aged women. Of course, this is only when coffee is consumed in moderation.
6) LOWERS RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S AND PARKINSON’S
Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to 60% lowered risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia and a 32%-60% lowered risk of Parkinson’s. The lowered risk has been consistent in studies for years though researchers are still trying to pinpoint exactly why.
7) CUP OF SMART
Caffeine temporarily boosts cognition, especially when one lacks sleep. While we definitely don’t suggest swapping a couple of cups of coffee for a couple of hours of sleep before a test, caffeine will improve the performance of the sleep-deprived. CNN reports, “Reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning — most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence. And most Americans are sleep-deprived most of the time.”
(Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)