For most campers, waking up and making a fresh pot of coffee is the only way to start your morning. Unzipping your tent and getting the stove started to brew your favorite robust roast. Meanwhile, warming your hands with the flame as the water slowly begins to boil and you wait with anticipation and excitement.
The smell, ohhh the smell.
There are so many reasons to love camp coffee, and the good news is now science has given us a whole slew of reasons to keep the coffee train going. Research has now shown us the many health benefits of camp coffee, giving us 13 more scientific excuses to enjoy a steaming hot cup of joe on those crisp mornings at the campsite.
13 scientific reasons to enjoy campsite coffee
Lucky for us, according to Harvard Medical School coffee has been one of the most studied dietary supplements. There have been countless studies done in the last 20 years on the positive and negative effects coffee has on the body. Here are 13 scientifically backed reasons that you should always drink coffee, especially when camping.
1. Coffee provides antioxidants
Antioxidants are the new superfood… Well, sort of, they have become a household term over the last few years due to their fight against free radicals and inflammation. Both free radical damage and inflammation can lead to some of the most deadly diseases that we currently face, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer (source).
According to researchers at the University of Scranton, coffee is the highest source of antioxidants in the US diet. While coffee doesn’t contain the highest pound for pound amount of antioxidants, the amount we drink is what gives coffee the leg up.
It’s not every day you sit and eat a bowl of blueberries, however, 2-4 cups of coffee is a typical morning for many people.
2. Coffee is full of essential nutrients
When we think of sources of nutrients in our diet usually foods like wholegrain cereals, fruits, and vegetables come to mind. It’s easy to forget that coffee itself comes from a bean which is full of essential nutrients.
Just like other vegetables and fruits coffee is packed with nutrients. While coffee is technically a fruit, it’s the seed inside the fruit that brings us the essential nutrients in our cup of joe (source).
- Magnesium: 2% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 7% of the DV
- Folate: 1% of the DV
- Niacin: 2% of the DV
- Manganese: 3% of the DV
- Potassium: 3% of the DV
When you see the low percentages it doesn’t seem like much, however, according to a study by Statista, 44% of US consumers drink 2-3 cups per day. Every little bit counts and the numbers add up quickly when drinking 2-3 cups a day.
3. Coffee reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose levels to grow to a level higher than normal (source). People afflicted with type 2 Diabetes have insulin resistance, in other words, the body does not use insulin correctly.
Type 2 Diabetes when untreated will lead to anxiety, sleepiness, confusion, and headaches. Long-term complications from type 2 Diabetes can lead to kidney disease, nerve damage, heart attack and stroke (source).
Coffee contains polyphenols, magnesium, and chromium which have all been linked to lower rates of type 2 Diabetes (source). A recent study has shown that drinking 3 cups of coffee or tea a day leads to a 40% lower risk of type 2 Diabetes (source).
4. Coffee helps fight depression
Depression and mental illness is something that people are finally beginning to feel comfortable enough to talk about openly. It’s about time…
That being said, according to Psychology Today, coffee has been shown to help prevent mild to moderate depression.
Everyone feels down after a breakup or the death of a loved one but that’s not clinical depression.
“Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home” (source).
One study analyzed 12 individual studies about caffeine’s effect on depression in 346,913 people and 8,146 cases of depression. They found that caffeine, in particular, coffee has a protective effect in preventing depression.
5. Coffee increases alertness
There’s a good reason that it’s common to see your fellow campers with a cup of coffee in their hand first thing in the morning. Coffee gives you a boost of energy in the mornings, making you feel less groggy.
The reason you get this little boost of energy is that coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world and activates the same part of your brain as cocaine (source).
A 75 mg cup serving of caffeine will increase your attention span and alertness, and a 160-mg dose will improve speed reasoning and memory (source).
6. Coffee Lowers Your Risk of Liver Disease
Your liver is an organ that is roughly the size of a football and sits on the right side of your body just underneath your rib cage. It plays a role in digestion and eliminates toxins from your body.
Liver disease is genetic and/or caused by viruses, obesity, and excessive alcohol use (source). Over time scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) can lead to liver failure which is a life-threatening condition with no cure.
According to a study by Kaiser Permanente drinking coffee protects alcohol drinkers from developing liver disease. One cup of coffee per day lowers cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by 22% (source).
In an article found in Reuters, researchers took the time to analyze 9 separate studies with 430,000 participants. They found that consuming 2 cups of coffee was associated with a 44% lower risk of cirrhosis of the liver.
7. Coffee Helps Prevent Cancer
We all know someone or know of someone who has been affected by the asshole that is cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death globally. The number of new cancer cases is expected to rise to 22 million in the next 20 years (source).
Cancer is a widely used term for over 300 diseases that we don’t completely understand. The cells around the affected area begin to divide rapidly and spread into tissues all around it (source).
According to American Cancer Society studies link drinking coffee to reduced risks of certain cancers, including…
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Mouth and throat cancers
Cardiologist Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD reports that women who drink at least 4 cups of caffeinated coffee have a 25% chance of developing Uterine cancer. Also, drinking one cup of coffee a day reduces your risk of all cancers by 3%.
8. Caffeine Helps Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are neurological diseases that work slowly. The terms are often used interchangeably, however, Alzheimer’s is under the umbrella of Dementia.
Dementia is a brain disorder which affects communication and performance. Alzheimer’s is a type of Dementia that affects the areas of the brain which control thought, memory, and language (source). Both are diseases which are extremely hard to deal with as they typically affect your parents or grandparents.
Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day in the middle of life is associated with a decreased risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s by 65% (source). Other studies have shown that consistent consumption of coffee may reduce the risk of Dementia by 27% (source).
9. Coffee has Cardiovascular Benefits
Cardiovascular disease or heart disease is a blanket term for a variety of conditions which affect your heart. In the United States, roughly 610,000 or 1 in 4 people die of heart disease each year and each year 735,000 Americans have a heart attack (source).
To say that looking after your cardiovascular health is important is an understatement.
A Harvard University study reports that people who consume 3 to 5 cups of coffee every day were not as likely to die from heart disease or stroke.
Another study on Japanese men and women found that drinking coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (source).
10. Coffee Helps You Live Longer
We’re all searching for the mysterious fountain of youth. For now, the best we can do is live a healthy life, not smoke, exercise and drink coffee every day…
By now we understand that coffee has a long list of positive health benefits ranging from fighting cancers to helping with depression. The studies above all support the idea that coffee promotes longevity.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, men who drank 6 cups of coffee per day had a 10% lower risk of death. Women who drank the same amount had a 15% lower risk of death.
Granted, that’s a ton of coffee and that will only apply to a small percentage of the population, however, it supports the claim that coffee helps you live longer.
11. Coffee Lowers Your Risk of Gout
Gout is a type of arthritis that forms due to the body producing more uric acid than normal. It causes crystals to build up in the joints and often affects toes. The crystals cause severe pain, redness, tenderness, and swelling (source).
A 12 year study in which 45,869 men with no history of gout took place, and they were assessed every 4 years. The total caffeine consumption was addressed using a questionnaire. At the end of the 12 years, they found that long-term consumption of coffee is related to a lower risk of gout.
12. Reduces Risk of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease affects the way your body moves, the most famous case is Muhammed Ali who’s storied career ended, and the disease got ahold of him. It is still up for debate as to whether or not head trauma was the cause of the disease.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s grow slowly over time, there is no set progression and it differs from person to person. The cause is unknown and while the disease itself is not fatal, complications from the disease are debilitating (source).
Some of the effects of Parkinson’s are…
- Rigid limbs
- Balance problems
- Reduction in movement
According to researchers from Sweden, if you have the genetic marker GRIN2A and you consume caffeine regularly you have a significantly lower risk of developing the Parkinson’s.
Another study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that men who drink 3-6 cups of coffee a week have a reduced risk of Parkinson’s.
13. Coffee Reduces your Risk of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the nervous system throughout various points in time. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, therefore, over time you lose motor function and control of your body slowly (source).
According to the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, high consumption of coffee is related to decreased MS risk.
“Caffeine has neuroprotective properties and seems to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.” Drinking 4-6 cups of coffee is also related to decreased risks of MS.
For most people, a cup of coffee or two is part of their normal camping routine. There are reports of the negative effects that coffee has on the body, but as they say, haters gonna hate.
There’s an old saying… “If you torture numbers long enough they’ll tell you anything.”
The studies are overwhelmingly in support of the fact that a few cups of coffee each day are good for your health in a multitude of ways. Waking up on a brisk fall morning with your hands gripping a cup of coffee is good for your soul and for your health.
The bottom line is a cup of coffee or 3 while your camping is good for you. Plus, now you have 13 scientifically backed reasons you can throw in anyone’s face who talks smack. Keep calm and camp on.