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There are many ways in which coffee is a boon to good health, but some "coffee" products are to be carefully avoided.

There is something curative about coffee in its natural, unsweetened state.

Coffee can help you lose weight. It can blunt chronic pain. Contrary to most people's expectations, it can lower your blood pressure. Just about every coffee drinker knows that coffee can help you focus your attention and find more energy to get through the day.

Coffee often gets a bad rap from natural health gurus, and that's entirely understandable when the topic is those addictive high-calorie combinations of coffee, cream, sugar, and candy you can get at Starbucks (which, to be fair, also sells coffee in its health versions).

Coffee often gets a bad rap, especially when health-oriented people take a long, hard look at the sweet and fatty concoctions you might get at your neighborhood branch of an international chain of coffee shops. But the fact is that coffee has been considered curative for many conditions for hundreds of years. One only needs to drink the right kind (or sometimes to take the right coffee extract) in the right way.

What can coffee do for you?

  • Relieve allergies. There have been precise, laboratory measurements of decreased production of inflammatory markers in the lungs after consumption of the Middle Eastern coffee beverage qahwa (coffee flavored with ginger, saffron, and cardamom). The effects of drinking this beverage were roughly equivalent to using an antihistamine without the side effects.
  • Relieve asthma. Drinking a cup of regular (but not decaf) coffee helps asthmatics exhale a greater volume of air for about four hours. There are similar affects for a variety of caffeinated beverages, but coffee is the best studied.
  • Help you get over colds and flu. In a British clinical trial, both regular and decaffeinated coffee, drunk hot, relieved congestion, muscle pain, and fatigue in people who had colds. After care of colds and flu. A study in Iran found that coffee and honey, rather than tea and honey, was the most effective remedy for persistent cough after upper respiratory infections. In this study coffee turned out to be a better cough remedy even than steroid medications.
  • Peptic ulcers.There is some evidence that the chlorogenic acid in coffee protects against the development of peptic (stomach) ulcers.
  • Prevent gout. Drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages protects against developing gout, at least in women, a 26-year followup of 89,143 women in the Nurses Health Study found. Consumers of 2 or more cups a day were about 50 percent less likely to develop this painful, debilitating condition. Earlier, smaller studies have found a similar protective benefit for coffee against gout in men.
  • Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS). One study found that drinking decaffeinated coffee for 4 weeks lowers both total and free testosterone levels in women, slightly, which would be beneficial in PCOS. Regular coffee lowers total testosterone in women, but free testosterone levels are not affected in just 4 weeks. No similar effects were noted for coffee in men.

These findings don't mean it's always better for your health to drink coffee. For instance, drinking coffee can actually increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis—if you happen to carry a copy of a gene called ACPA, and you drink more than 10 cups of regular coffee per day. But there is one kind of coffee that should not be consumed by anyone, ever.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Ge X, Li L, Koh HL, Low MY. Identification of a new sildenafil analogue in a health supplement. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2011 Nov 1.56(3):491-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2011.06.004. Epub 2011 Jun 15. PMID: 21726974.
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