Take out your French press, creamer, and favorite mug, because today is National Coffee Day. And since java sometimes gets a bad rap, today is as good a day as any to remind the coffee-drinkers among you that their favorite drink is actually pretty healthy.
Meaning, the drink has earned its right to have a national holiday.
Though that comes with a caveat: it must be black with little sweetener to be good for you. So, those giant mugs fill mostly with sugar and creamer don't count, noted CBS medical contributor Dr. Dolly Phillips. And you must drink quite a bit every day to glean the benefits -- at least three cups a day, but no more than five.
So what comes with those five daily cups? A decreased risk of Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, even melanoma. That's because joe is packed with anti-oxidants, which can prevent damage caused by oxygen-free radicals, WebMD added. And it contains magnesium and chromium, which helps control insulin.
"We often think of coffee just as a vehicle to get caffeine into our body, but we forget that the … bean itself has a hundred different compounds and tons of antioxidants," Phillips said before the national holiday. "Some studies have even shown that Americans get more antioxidants from (it) than from fruits and vegetables."
So, in honor of National Coffee Day, here are seven health benefits to drinking up to five cups, black, daily.
Good For Your HeartAccording to Medical Daily, 36 studies comprising 1.27 million people has shown that long-term, moderate consumption lowers the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease -- that's about five 8-ounce cups. Those who had more than five didn't lower their risk any more than those who didn't drink the stuff.
It has also been linked to lower incidence of heart rhythm disturbances in both men and women, and lowered stroke risk for women. Among 13,000 people, those who drank one to three cups every day were 20 percent less likely to go to the hospital for arrhythmias than abstainers.
Keeps Strokes At BayAmong 480,000 java-lovers, two to six cups a day lowered stroke risk -- especially for women. A 2009 study of 83,7000 nurses showed a 20 percent decrease in risk compared to drank less or none. This held true even if the women had high blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Lowers Diabetes RiskRegular consumption lowered overall risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. Six to seven cups of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee tanked the chance of getting the disease by a third. All hail National Coffee Day!
CancerThe drink is most effective against liver cancer, lower the chances of developing it by almost half. There is also a link between coffee and lung cancer, but only those who got the disease because they smoked. On the other hand, drinking it was actually found to be a protectant for non-smokers with lung cancer.
Keeps the Brain SharpThat mental jolt coffee provides may extend a lifetime. Parkinson's, age-related cognitive decline, and maybe even Alzheimer's could be kept at bay by coffee. The Alzheimer's and dementia risk may be lowered by an amazing 65 percent thanks to coffee, Men's Fitness added. The most dramatic effect has been seen on Parkinson's, however, and may be due to caffeine.
Lowers Death RiskSomehow, coffee also helps lower your chance of dying from any cause, based on a meta-analysis of 20 studies with 1 million participants. Further, a National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health study showed that men can lower their chance of dying by 6 percent with just a cup a day. The more they drank, the lower that chance went -- five cups, of course, is the max recommended.
Helps You Withstand PainFinally, coffee may be the answer to mild pain relief. In a national study in Norway, office workers reported a pain-intensity level of 41, while those who abstained reported one of 55.
There you have it -- a hot, steamy cup of joe has earned its rightful place as a national holiday. Based on this information, you may want to grab another cup or two -- limit the sugar and creamer! -- and remind everyone around you that it does your body good.
[Photos Courtesy iryna1, Andrey_Kuzmin, Dima Sobko / Shutterstock]