One of the first things many of us do when we first wake up in the morning is make a fresh, hot cup of coffee. It’s a daily ritual we oftentimes don’t even think twice about as we make our way to the kitchen every morning. Although we might not realize it, there are many health benefits we gain by enjoying our morning coffee, including reducing the risk for multiple sclerosis and improving cognitive health.
Different Studies, Similar Results
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that causes the immune system to incorrectly attack healthy tissue found within the central nervous system. A total of 2.3 million people are affected by this immune-mediated disorder.
Due to its widespread prevalence, Dr. Ellen Mowry, one of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s assistant professors of neurology, led a team of researchers who used the information from two different studies to determine the link between coffee consumption and MS.
The first study took place in Sweden and involved 1,629 individuals with MS and 2,807 individuals without it. The second study focused on 1,159 Americans with MS and 1,172 without it. Both studies analyzed the amount of coffee consumed one and five years before the appearance of MS symptoms in those with and without MS. The participants’ age, gender, smoking habits, body mass index, exposure to the sun and other variables were also taken into account.
Both the Swedish and the American study had similar results: the groups who consumed four or more cups of coffee a day during the year before MS symptoms appeared were far less likely to develop MS than those who did not drink coffee, who “had a greater risk of about 1.5 times of developing MS.”
Improving Your Cognitive Health
This is certainly not the first time the health benefits of coffee were analyzed, and the results from these two studies revealing the link between coffee consumption and MS are in line with other studies. Drinking coffee has been shown to improve cognitive function by reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease along with improving one’s long-term memory, but the benefits of drinking coffee seem to go far beyond these protective effects on the brain.
According to the list of new dietary suggestions given by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, drinking three to five cups of coffee reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Various studies have revealed that coffee can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including liver and prostate cancer, and can boost your endurance, meaning you can exercise for longer periods of time.
We all have those days when we are in dire need of a caffeine boost, and coffee is a great way to get that energy boost while promoting your health. But be aware of the other elements in your cup of Joe that may be cancelling out these health benefits, such as adding large amounts of milk, cream and sugar or drinking more than the recommended amount (between three and five cups or less than 400 milligrams a day).