8 Shocking health benefits of your morning cafecito

I was around 4 years old when I had my first cup of café con leche. I enjoyed it so much I even made up my own name for it--chélo (pronounced with an accent and everything). I loved the way the smell alone instantly woke me up in the morning, I loved the kettle-like sound that came from my father's old-school Dominican greca, and I loved the way my  pan tostado tasted after I dipped it in my Café Bustelo. Let's be honest, no one loves their cafécito as much as Latinos. For us it's not just coffee--it's cultural! And if you were finally thinking of giving it up, you may want to reconsider because apparently coffee has a load of amazing benefits you probably never would have imagined. Here are 8 reasons why you should continue to start your day with a nice, hot cup of coffee:


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1. It does wonders for your skin: A study in the journal Cancer Research  shows that coffee can help prevent skin cancel cells from developing. There has actually been a number of studies that have seen a link between caffeine consumption and skin cancer risks. Coffee is also loaded with antioxidants which are great for fighting off signs of aging.

2. It helps prevent diabetes: According to WebMD, coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. In 2005 a series of studies on coffee and type 2 diabetes were conducted and reviewed. "Of more than 193,000 people, those who said they drank more than 6 or 7 cups daily were 35 percent less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank fewer than two cups."

3. It can prevent Parkinson's disease: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that coffee might prevent Parkinson's disease, a brain disorder that can lead to shaking (tremors) along with difficulty in movement and coordination. The study found that a male, non-coffee drinker was 2 or 3 times more likely to get Parkinson's than a man who drank anywhere from 4 ounces to four cups a day. Researchers believe the benefits are all linked to the caffeine.

4. It's good for your reproductive systems: A 2011 study found that drinking coffee could lower men's risk of developing prostate cancer and women's risk of getting endometrial cancer. Isn't that enough reason to keep drinking?

5. It's good for your brain: In 2009, a study found coffee drinkers more likely to resist development of dementia and Alzheimer's later in life. Researchers also discovered that the smell alone helps to reduce stress associated with lack of sleep That explains why you feel so good whenever you get a whiff of coffee in the morning.

6. It's good for your colon: Ever have to run to the bathroom after drinking a cup of coffee? That's because coffee is a diuretic that can help prevent constipation.  I always have a little bit of black coffee whenever I'm feeling a little backed up.

7. It fights cellulite: Caffeine is used in a lot of anti-cellulite treatments because it helps increase blood circulation that can help prevent or reduce the appearance of cellulite.

8. It can diminish dark circles: There's a reason why a lot of eye-creams that target dark circles and puffiness include coffee beans or caffeine as one of their ingredients. That's because it helps to draw water away from the eye area that could be a cause for the puffiness and darkness. My abuela used to dip a washcloth in a bowl of cool caffeinated coffee back in the day and then let it sit on her eye lids.

Image via Johanna Ferreira

Topics: advice  coffee  heart health  healthy eating  home remedies