That’s because it contains a stimulant called caffeine — the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world ( 3).
After you drink coffee, the caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it travels to your brain ( 4).
In the brain, caffeine blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function — including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function ( 7, 8, 9).
Caffeine is found in almost every commercial fat-burning supplement — and for good reason. It’s one of the few natural substances proven to aid fat burning.
Other studies indicate that caffeine can specifically increase fat burning by as much as 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people ( 12).
However, it’s possible that these effects diminish in long-term coffee drinkers.
This is the fight-or-flight hormone, which prepares your body for intense physical exertion.
Therefore, it makes sense to have a strong cup of coffee about half an hour before you head to the gym.
Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make their way into the finished brewed coffee.
A single cup of coffee contains ( 21): Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI). Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI. Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI. Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.
Though this may not seem like a big deal, most people enjoy several cups per day — allowing these amounts to quickly add up.
For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet.
In fact, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia worldwide.
This condition usually affects people over 65, and there is no known cure.
However, there are several things you can do to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.
This includes the usual suspects like eating healthy and exercising, but drinking coffee may be incredibly effective as well.
Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition, right behind Alzheimer's.
It’s caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in your brain.
As with Alzheimer's, there is no known cure, which makes it that much more important to focus on prevention.
In this case, the caffeine itself appears to be beneficial, as people who drink decaf don't have a lower risk of Parkinson's ( 34).
Your liver is an amazing organ that carries out hundreds of important functions.
Several common diseases primarily affect the liver, including hepatitis, fatty liver disease and many others.
Many of these conditions can lead to cirrhosis, in which your liver is largely replaced by scar tissue.
Depression is a serious mental disorder that causes a significantly reduced quality of life.
It’s very common, as about 4.1% of people in the US currently meet the criteria for clinical depression.
In a Harvard study published in 2011, women who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day had a 20% lower risk of becoming depressed ( 38).
Another study in 208,424 individuals found that those who drank 4 or more cups per day were 53% less likely to die by suicide ( 39).
Cancer is one of the world's leading causes of death. It is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in your body.
Coffee appears to be protective against two types of cancer: liver and colorectal cancer.
Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the world, while colorectal cancer ranks fourth ( 40).
Similarly, one study in 489,706 people found that those who drank 4–5 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer ( 43).
It’s often claimed that caffeine can increase your blood pressure.
On the contrary, there is some evidence that women who drink coffee have a reduced risk ( 50).
Given that coffee drinkers are less likely to get many diseases, it makes sense that coffee could help you live longer.
Several observational studies indicate that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death.
In two very large studies, drinking coffee was associated with a 20% reduced risk of death in men and a 26% decreased risk of death in women, over 18–24 years ( 53).
This effect appears particularly strong in people with type 2 diabetes. In one 20-year study, individuals with diabetes who drank coffee had a 30% lower risk of death ( 54).