7 Surprising Health Facts About Coffee

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By: , – By Amanda Greene Kelly, of Woman's Day
12/19/2011 6:00 AM   :  13 comments   :  13,147 Views

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Whether you like yours hot, iced, black or with sugar, one thing’s for sure: Coffee serves up plenty of health benefits. Not only can a cup of Joe help ward off depression, but it has even been linked with a decreased rate of skin cancer and increased fertility. Read on to learn about the unexpected heath benefits of coffee, plus other brew-related facts.

1. It may help ward off depression.
Anyone who perks up after the first sip of morning coffee will tell you that it has mood-boosting effects. Now there’s proof: A study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that women who regularly drink fully caffeinated coffee have a 20% lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers. The study, which followed a group of women for 10 years, found that as more coffee was consumed (up to six cups per day), the likelihood of depression decreased.

2. It may help promote a healthy weight.
Drinking an espresso or cappuccino after a meal is more than a relaxing habit. “When you drink coffee after a meal, it causes your body to more slowly process the meal you just ate,” says Chris Kilham, medical researcher, founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc. and author of Psyche Delicacies. According to David Levitsky, PhD, professor of nutritional science at Cornell University, “Caffeine decreases the rate at which the stomach dumps its contents into the duodenum—a part of the small intestine where digestion takes place—and also increases metabolic rate.” Keep in mind, though, that java isn’t a miracle brew: Downing it after dinner won’t make the pounds melt away; rather, sipping a cup post-meal could, in small part, help promote a healthy weight.

3. It may boost fertility in men.
“Studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on sperm motility—the ability of sperm to move toward an egg—and could increase your chances of [getting pregnant],” says John Wilcox, MD, FACOG, managing partner and reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility in California. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo found that sperm motility was markedly higher in coffee drinkers versus non coffee-drinkers. And it turns out that it doesn’t matter whether you drink one or ten cups a day: The only detectable difference was found between coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers.
 

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