Five things you didn't know about caffeine

The caffeine found in coffee may be doing more than just helping you stay awake. Photo / Getty
The caffeine found in coffee may be doing more than just helping you stay awake. Photo / Getty

Not only does it taste great, your morning flat white may be giving you a range of unexpected health benefits.

It may lessen your risk of oral cancer

While it can make your breath smell less than fresh, coffee may be doing other, more interesting things in your mouth.

In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found a strong link between caffeinated coffee intake and the risk of oral cancer death.

The extensive research looked at the health of 968,432 men and women, who were cancer-free when they joined the study.

During the 26 years the data was collected, 868 participants died due to oral cancer, and researchers found those who drank more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day had about half the risk of those who only drank the occasional cup.

And tea drinkers are out of luck - researchers found no link between decreased oral cancer rates among those who drank more than four cups of tea every day.

Caffeine can boost your workout

In a study at Coventry University in the UK, researchers found older adults who drank the equvilant of four cups of instant or two cups of filtered coffee just before exercising were able to put more effort onto their workouts than those who didn't get a caffeine hit.

The group studied, who were healthy older adults between the ages of 61-79, had increased ability in a range of tasks like arm curls, as well as improved dexterity.

It may lower your risk of skin cancer

While it's not a reason to throw out your sunscreen, a study published in Cancer Research reported that the higher a person's caffeine consumption, the lower their risk of basal cell carcinoma.

Another study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linked caffeine intake with lower risk for melanoma.

However, skin cancer experts say other factors could be involved, as those who drink more coffee tend to be office workers who are mostly indoors, with less sun exposure.

Caffeine can help boost your workout, and may even lessen your risk of oral cancers. Photo / Getty
Caffeine can help boost your workout, and may even lessen your risk of oral cancers. Photo / Getty



It can help control pain

Painkillers that contain caffeine aren't just a marketing gimmick, the combination can be highly effective for some people.

In an analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers found that a single dose (200 mg) of ibuprofen plus 100mg of caffeine was substantially more effective than a placebo when it came to managing post operative pain and migraine relief.

And you don't have to have painkillers with caffeine in them to get the benefits - researchers say you can achieve similar results by taking 200 mg of ibuprofen along with a moderately strong cup of coffee.

Caffeine may improve your memory

While too much may give you the jitters, a moderate amount of caffeine can sharpen the mind.

In a study published in the journal, Alzheimer's and Dementia, caffeine was associated with better memory in healthy older adults (the average age of those studied was 74).

The researchers also found coffee to have a beneficial effect on executive functioning - planning, organising and time management.

The study showed that any amount of caffeine was beneficial, but it had to be consumed regularly to have any impact.

-nzherald.co.nz

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