7 Coffee Health Benefits

Roasted coffee beans in an orange mug by The Healthy RD

I do love talking about the health attributes of foods. Coffee’s health benefits are very vast and I will describe them for you here.

I also include a recipe feature with coffee, which is a true love of mine.

Here is an overview of coffee’s health benefits

  • Focus
  • Energy
  • Memory
  • Burns Fat
  • Improves exercise
  • Reduce chances of nerve diseases
  • Protects the Liver
  • Rich in Antioxidants

Coffee is in the headlines practically every day for some health-related topic or another, so here I’m going to recap this for you. My follow-up blog will examine the health aspects of coffee in depth.

1. Coffee improves energy, focus, mood, and memory

It’s no surprise to anyone who drinks coffee that these facts are now true.  It isn’t just the caffeine either.

Coffee has chlorogenic acid, which also has mild stimulating effects.  As with anything, too much of a good thing can be detrimental.

You should know your own limits, and sip it, don’t guzzle it.

2.  Coffee burns fat

This probably gets the biggest eye-brow-raising benefit, but yes, it certainly helps in a mild way to keep us thinner.

However, coffee can’t override the 1000-calorie frappe or sugar-laden boutique coffee drinks to do this.

Coffee should be consumed like it was intended to.  Roasted,  then brewed or poured over, espresso, etc.  Don’t be silly and add a bunch of calories.

3.  Improves physical performance

This is true if your genes allow it.  Some people react poorly to caffeine.  One of the factors is a gene called CYP1A2, which dictates whether or not you are able to metabolize caffeine efficiently.

About 10% of the population metabolizes caffeine rapidly and it has very little stimulating effect from coffee.

You can test your genes to determine your caffeine metabolism traits through 23andme.com or other gene testing sources.

4.  Lowers type 2 diabetes risk

Coffee is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, possibly by lowering carbohydrate uptake into the body and by improving insulin levels.

It also seems to be safe for most people related to heart.  However, use common sense;  if your doctor tells you to avoid it, please do.

Certain people with arrhythmia or heart conditions should use caution.

5.  Reduces chances of neurodegenerative disorders

Studies repeatedly show a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease with coffee consumption. And it seems to even be useful in the treatment of some of these diseases.

6.  Protects the liver

Drinking coffee may help protect the liver from cirrhosis and liver cancer.  It helps burn liver fat and helps with the energy-producing machinery in the liver cells called the mitochondria.

7.   Great Antioxidant Drink

Coffee is the richest source of antioxidants in the diets of people living in the United States.

This may be the best thing or the worst thing about coffee.  We just don’t eat enough real food to give us the antioxidants we need.

Nevertheless, coffee is an antioxidant powerhouse, beating out all other foods by a landslide in this country.

I made this last night using the crock pot adaptation, and it was extra delicious. Do your own thing.  Don’t like tomatoes?  Add in carrots.  No big deal. Flexibility and versatility are two very attractive qualities that marinades and salads bring.

Whatever you do, make it spicy! Or if spice and strong flavor aren’t your thing, this may not be your recipe.

Espresso-Chipotle Marinated Salad

  • 15 oz extra-firm organic tofu.  Use chicken, beef, or lamb if you hate tofu
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso, room temp or chilled (see below for best beans to choose). Use decaf if you don’t tolerate caffeine
  • 2 chipotles in adobo. Or ¼-1/2 tsp dried chipotle if you don’t have chipotles in adobo.
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 5 tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup small tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup onions, in slices
  • 3-4 tbs. olive oil for tomato saute
  • 3 cups romaine or dark greens, packed
  • 1 cup organic kernel corn


Cut tofu or chicken into 1/2-inch wide strips.  Cook in a skillet on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.  Remove from heat. Combine espresso, chipotle, garlic, cumin, oregano, wine, honey, 2 tbs. olive oil, water, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in chicken or tofu, and marinade for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375º. Toss tomatoes and onions with 3 tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until lightly caramelized.  Pour tomato-infused oil over greens and toss to slightly wilt. Add the tofu and corn to the salad mixture. Serves 4.

About this Recipe

Coffee choice: It is best to choose beans that grow near the equator. Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, and Brazil all rank the highest.

Switch this recipe up!  I tend to eyeball rather than measure spices and herbs.  I love oregano, so I often triple the amount in a recipe.  Make it yours.

Try in a slow cooker:

If you make this with chicken, you can slow-cook it all day, especially if you use chicken thighs.  Simply take the marinade and the chicken, and place them in the crock pot on low for about 7-8 hours.



American Academy of Neurology (AAN). “Coffee may help some Parkinson’s disease movement symptoms, research suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120801165353.htm>


Jeong JH, Jeong HR, Jo YN, Kim HJ, Lee U, Heo HJ. Antioxidant and Neuronal Cell Protective Effects of Columbia Arabica Coffee with Different Roasting Conditions. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science. 2013;18(1):30-37. doi:10.3746/pnf.2013.18.1.030.


Fukushima Y, Tashiro T, Kumagai A, et al. Coffee and beverages are the major contributors to polyphenol consumption from food and beverages in Japanese middle-aged women. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2014;3:e48. doi:10.1017/jns.2014.19.


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