From Ethiopia, where coffee first originated, to the far shores of Japan, baristas everywhere are finding new ways to serve the basic brew. A swirl of rich dark chocolate, a dash of bitters, a splash of sparkling water, or even spiked for a drink with a slightly stronger constitution—they’re all fodder in pursuit of a great cup of coffee.
Despite the fact that most of us drink it every day (about 2.1 cups’ worth), there’s still some essential java info that not everyone knows.
The Health Benefits Go Beyond Your Heart and Your Head
You’ve read about the potential positive cardiovascular and neurological effects. But 1 cup (or 2) could also help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis of 28 studies on the topic in Diabetes Care. Both caffeinated and decaf were associated with a reduced risk, suggesting that the hundreds of other compounds found in coffee, like antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals, are providing the benefit, says Rob van Dam, PhD, a co-author of the analysis, an associate professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore and an adjunct associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s a very complicated beverage, so we don’t know exactly how it may lower the risk of diabetes, but animal research suggests that it increases insulin sensitivity and helps control blood sugar levels,” van Dam explains.