Caffeine is the drug of choice for many Americans and many people around the world. Many people refuse to start the day without a morning cup of coffee or tea — often brewed strong for that extra jolt. Some people stay away from caffeine because it causes them jitters, or keeps them awake at night. However, I’ve got good news for those who don’t wish to function without it: it seems to be quite good for you.
A new study recently published in the journal Nature Medicine identified a potential mechanism by which caffeine may help to lower inflammation. Not only that, the research has also found that regularly drinking beverages which contain caffeine may even lengthen your life. On these new discoveries, Mark David, Stanford University professor and the study’s senior author, commented:
“That something many people drink — and actually like to drink — might have a direct benefit came as a surprise to us. What we’ve shown is a correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity. And we’ve shown more rigorously, in laboratory tests, a very plausible mechanism for why this might be so.”
How caffeine may lower inflammation
For their study, researchers performed a gene analysis of 114 individuals who were already participating in a long-term study. Based on their analysis, they found that older study participants, aged 60 to 89, produced higher levels of certain immune molecules responsible for activating the molecule interleukin 1 beta, also known as IL-1B. Too much of this molecule has been associated with inflammation and chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.
When the researchers looked at the genes of just the older adults in the study, they found that some produced significantly more inflammatory molecules than others. The group that produced less were found to be healthier. They had a higher family history of longevity. They also had lower levels of adenine and adenosine (adenine plus a sugar molecule). Both adenine and adenosine have previously been found to trigger inflammation.
Since caffeine has been previously found by research to inhibit the effects of adenosine in the brain, the researchers checked the caffeine consumption habits of the older adults in the study via a questionnaire. They found that the healthier group with less inflammation indeed consumed more caffeine than the other group. On these results, the study authors wrote:
“In individuals over 85 years of age, the elevated expression of inflammasome gene modules was associated with all-cause mortality. Thus, targeting inflammasome components may ameliorate chronic inflammation and various other age-associated conditions.”
While more research still needs to be done on the caffeine-inflammation connection, these results are pretty exciting.
Other benefits of coffee
Coffee drinkers rejoice! Along with caffeine’s potential to lower inflammation and encourage a longer life, coffee itself has been found to have a wealth of benefits. The following are just a few of the many:
- Coffee contains a range of B-vitamins, plus the minerals potassium and manganese
- It may help reduce your risk of liver cancer and protect against liver cirrhosis
- Coffee may help balance your blood sugar
- Coffee may help rev up your metabolism
- Caffeine may help to improve your memory and cognitive function
Benefits of tea
Like coffee, tea is also an incredibly healthy beverage. While black tea has its antioxidants and health benefits, green tea is one of the healthiest caffeinated teas you can drink. The following are just a few reasons to drink it:
- The catechins found in green tea may reduce your risk of certain cancers.
- Green tea can help encourage healthy fat loss, along with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.
- The antioxidants found in green tea may help to support the health of your cardiovascular system.
- Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, may help to relieve stress and anxiety.
- Green tea may help to lower your risk of periodontal disease.
- Drinking green tea may help to boost immune system function.
Choose your source of caffeine wisely
To start off your morning right, choosing organic, fair trade coffee or tea is a great way to go. However, don’t ruin your cup with artificial creamers and sugar. Add some organic cream, organic almond milk or organic coconut milk instead. As an alternative to sugar, sweeten your drink with a little honey or coconut crystals.
If you love coffee, try blending it up with some organic virgin coconut oil. This makes an amazingly healthy, delightfully frothy beverage. You can add coconut crystals if you like your coffee sweeter.
– Tanya Mead