Over 25 million people in the United States have diabetes. Excess weight promotes insulin resistance and is the chief risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The number of people with this disease has been increasing steadily.
You probably didn’t know that drinking coffee could cut the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study that reinforces the previously discovered ability of the caffeinated beverage to reduce inflammation and prevent the disease.
Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos of Harokopio University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in Athens, Greece, and his colleagues recruited 1,300 men and women over the age of 18 and categorized them into three groups:
- Casual coffee drinkers who drank less than 1.5 cups a day
- Habitual coffee drinkers who drank more than that
- Non-coffee drinkers.
The researchers found that the habitual coffee drinkers cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over a 10-year period by more than half compared with those who consumed less than 1.5 cups of coffee per day.
For the study, the scientists measured participants’ daily coffee consumption and monitored their blood levels to measure their antioxidant levels and amount of inflammation.
At the 10-year follow-up, the authors of the study found that while 13% of the men and 12% of the women had developed diabetes, habitual coffee drinkers were 54% less likely to do so, even after accounting for family history, smoking, and other disease factors.
Panagiotakos and his fellow scientists believe the anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in coffee beans may explain the difference. The habitual coffee drinkers’ blood tests showed lower levels of the inflammatory marker serum amyloid.
“The antioxidant components of coffee may be beneficial, but still more research is needed toward this direction,” lead researcher Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos of Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, told Reuters.
A 2012 study produced similar results when researchers found that people who drank four or more cups of coffee per day with 50% less likely to develop diabetes, and the risk decreased by nearly 7% with each cup.
Other Health Benefits of Coffee
Of course there are numerous other coffee health benefits exceeding diabetes management, including:
Preventing Skin Cancer
Drinking coffee has been shown to cut the risk of melanoma skin cancer, the most serious type of skin cancer. Women who drink coffee also have a lower risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer.
Preventing Multiple Sclerosis
People who drink four to six cups of coffee per day have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Drinking a high amount of java over the course of five to 10 years also decreases the risk of MS.
Caffeine promotes the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, and triggers the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF promotes brain health by activating brain stem cells to convert into new neurons.
People with mild cognitive impairment who had higher levels of caffeine in the blood (from coffee consumption) were found to be less likely to develop severe dementia.
Preventing Parkinson’s Disease
Those who drink more coffee have less of a chance of developing Parkinson’s Disease.