” I never laugh until I have my cup of coffee” — Clark Gable.
Quite a few of you would probably unleash a Medusa without your cup of coffee in the morning. I know many whose brains don’t even start computing until they sip up some of that magical liquid, and then suddenly they’re whizzing about the office like an over-productive hummingbird.
Many assume that an addiction to coffee is a negative thing. Growing up, my parents would not allow me to have coffee, claiming that it kills my brain cells and stops me from getting smart (I don’t know how well that worked out for them).
While some condemn coffee, there’s no denying that it’s a great wake-up potion and mood enhancement elixir. But is there more to coffee than that, and can it actually be good for us? Let’s take a look:
1. Coffee lowers your risk of cancer
A 20-year Harvard study followed 50,000 males and found that the men who drank the most coffee (more than 6 cups a day) had a 60% lower chance of getting the deadly form of prostate cancer, while those who drank more than 3 cups a day had a 30% lower chance. And it’s not the caffeine that’s helping them to steer clear of cancer, it’s the coffee! 
There are also studies which show regular coffee consumption to lower the risk of cirrhosis (advanced liver disease) , and liver cancer — the 5th most common cancer affecting men in Malaysia .
2. There is a load of antioxidants in coffee
According to a study done in 2005, which analysed the antioxidant content in more than 100 different food items, coffee outranked the more famous sources of antioxidants like cranberries and tea. “Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close”, stated research leader and chemistry professor Joe Vinson, Ph.D .
3. Coffee may lower your chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes
Some 2.6 million Malaysians are diabetic , making it one of the most common diseases in the country. You’d be happy to know that there’s ample evidence on how consuming oodles of coffee could actually lower your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
A study which was published in April 2014 showed that those who increased their coffee intake by more than one cup a day had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t up their caffeine intake.  And this isn’t the only study advocating the benefits of coffee consumption, several other papers also noted how drinking coffee is associated with a lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes [7, 8, 9].
4. Coffee may keep Alzheimer’s at bay
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that everybody fears in their old age. Nobody really knows exactly why yet, but many studies have found coffee intake to decrease the risk of dementia / Alzheimer’s later in life [10, 11, 12].
5. Coffee may keep you happy
This is probably not a big surprise for those who can’t smile before a cup of coffee. But coffee does more than make you pleasant and approachable to the general public. In a Harvard study in 2011, researchers found that female coffee drinkers had a 20% lower chance of becoming depressed . Another study conducted by the National Institute of Health revealed that those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee were 10% less likely to become depressed, while those who drink diet sweetened beverages (like Coke Light) were more likely to become depressed .
6. Coffee could make you smarter
Sure, you need caffeine to get the cogwheels moving in your brain each morning, but coffee can do even more than that! Studies show improvement in reaction time, vigilance, and memory from habitual coffee drinkers, as well as improved cognitive function. 
7. Coffee drinking is associated with lower levels of suicide
Earlier, we mentioned how drinking coffee helps reduce your tendency towards depression. What about suicide? A Harvard study in July 2013 examined data on 208,424 men and women and found that drinking 2-4 cups of coffee can lower the risk of suicide by 50%. This is because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting the production of some neurotransmitters in the brain, like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline .
8. Coffee may improve your athletic performance
There’s probably a reason why athletes love drinking coffee. Caffeine stimulates the release of fatty acids into the blood stream and encourage working muscles to use the fat as a fuel, which can boost the performance of endurance athletes .
9. Coffee could fight Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s is another common neuro-degenerative disease that happens when cells that generate dopamine in the brain dies off. Multiple studies show that coffee drinkers face a lower risk of Parkinson’s by up to 60% [18, 19, 20].
10. Coffee may help you live longer
Because of all its qualities, from being packed with nutrients and antioxidants to staving off several kinds of diseases, coffee drinking could actually prolong your lifespan.
A study which followed more than 400,o00 men and women’s coffee drinking habits for 12 years found that those who drank the most coffee were less likely to have died. Men who drank 4-5 cups of coffee per day had a 12% reduced risk while women are 16% less likely to die prematurely .
If you’re looking for an elixir of life, coffee could be it! Let’s raise our cups to this amazing beverage. Happy International Coffee Day!
PS: While coffee is great for your health, do watch out for the overload of sugar most people like to have in their coffee.