Health and Hedonism: Coffee and Wine

I might be tweaking my daily routines soon.

I’ll be adding a second cup of coffee, and having a slightly more generous pouring of wine each night.

Why, you ask?

Well, coffee and wine can be really beneficial for your health.

We all know that wine is good.


I do like to drink a lot of it (you know you do too).

There’s a rumor out there that it’s also good for your health.

“…consumption of wine can improve your…recognition, working memory, attention, and psychomotor function.”

The common point of discussion is that it can boost your HDL, which is commonly referred to as “good” cholesterol. (For a more detailed discussion of cholesterol, you can look at my post here.)

This seems to be related to having a specific gene expression of the Alcohol dehydrogenase 1 c (ADH1c) gene, which makes you a faster metabolizer of alcohol, likely resulting in beneficial changes to your HDL.

Beyond that , there’s so much more.

Research indicates that low to moderate consumption of red wine can delay cognitive impairment in aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinson’s (1).

Wine derived aroma compounds — yes, the ones that you smell — can improve brain function and cognitive performance (2, 3). These aroma compounds have also demonstrated to be potent antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agents, protecting your cells and tissues, and protecting you from bacteria!

These aroma compounds can also improve function of your Central Nervous System (CNS), which is responsible for regulation of bodily functions, awareness, movement and sensation, thought, speech, and memory.

In a nutshell, low-to-moderate consumption of wine can improve your:

  1. Cardiovascular health through improved HDL.
  2. Brain health by enhancing recognition, working memory, attention, and psychomotor function (skills where movement and thinking are combined, like balance and coordination).
  3. …and it can delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease (4, 5).

I’ll be having wine with a side of wine please.

Hold on for one second though.

These benefits seem to be linked to a low-to-moderate consumption around 250 millileters per day.

That’s about 8.5 ounces, which is quite a full pour (1).

Yes, it’s still less than the whole bottle.

Nice try.

“This is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee.”


You know those are the words you utter under your breath every single morning of your life as you take your first sip of black gold.

Like Agent Dale Cooper, sipping on damn fine coffee in the R&R Diner, you should consider adding a cup of coffee to your daily routine.

Why’s that?

I) People who drink coffee every day live longer than those who don’t.

I know, you’re scrambling for a cup of joe right now, I’ll wait.

Daily coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and liver, respiratory, and kidney disease; not to mention Parkinson’s disease risk.

It doesn’t even matter whether you’re drinking regular or decaf.

A study with 215,000 participants demonstrated that those who drank coffee had a 12% lower chance of death, while those who drank 2-3 cups of coffee/day had an 18% lower chance of death (6, 7).

29% of these participants were Japanese-American, 25% were white, 22% were Latino, 17% were African-American, and 7.5% were Native-Hawaiian.

16% did not drink coffee; 31% had 1 cup/day, 25% had 2-3/day, and the other 21% had irregular drinking habits.

Of the participants, 31% died, and of those, 36% of them died of Cardiovascular Disease, while 31% died of cancer.

Looks like I’ll be having a second cup of coffee today.

This isn’t without a caveat though, drinking really really excessively hot coffee may cause esophageal cancer.

You should wait 5 minutes after getting your Starbucks drive-thru.

Back to the good stuff.

II) Men who drink 2-3 cups/day (there it is again) are 42% less likely to experience erectile dysfunction than those who don’t, although this isn’t true for men with diabetes (8, 9).

III) Women over 65 years old who consumed three 8oz cups of coffee per day have a 36% lower risk of dementia than those who don’t (1011).

IV) Researchers found an 11% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk over a period of 4 years in study participants who increased their coffee consumption by more than 1 cup per day. Those who decreased consumption saw an increased risk of T2D (12).

V) Researchers have also found that those who consume coffee have a 40% lower risk for liver cancer, which may be due to coffee’s affect on liver enzymes which makes it protective against liver carcinogenesis (13).

In a nutshell, by drinking coffee, you’ll be:

  • Less likely to die before those who don’t.
  • Less likely to have ED (guys).
  • Less likely to have dementia (gals).
  • Less likely to have Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Less likely to have liver cancer.


And the next thing, you guessed it, is French fries!

Just kidding.

The moral of the story.

It’s okay to be excited for your morning cup of coffee, and no, you shouldn’t feel guilty.

It doesn’t even matter whether or not decaf is your thing, you’ll still be lowering your risk of death, E.D., dementia, T2D, and liver cancer.

“People who drink coffee every day live longer than those who don’t.”

Optimally, if you’re consuming caffeine, let’s wait 3-5 hours after waking to allow your cortisol (stress hormone) to begin it’s decline before we jolt it back up with a cup of joe.

At the end of the day, if you’re living a healthy lifestyle, and free of other disease risk-factors, kick back and enjoy a full pour of wine.

Just one though, otherwise you’ll miss out on the cognitive enhancement and cardiovascular protective benefits.

Yes, coffee and wine can be forces of good.

You’re welcome.

I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice. I’m just a nerd who likes to read research, and I figured I’d be productive by sharing it with you.

I’m a nerd, I know.

I read it so you don’t have to.


ps. If there’s anything you’re curious about, and don’t have the time, patience, or know-how to learn about it, let me know. I’ll be sure to post on it if it’s worth-while.

** Images courtesy of Skitterphoto, Posawee Suwannaphati, Kaboompics **

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s