Espresso and espresso-based beverages like cappuccino, latte, or macchiato are a daily staple for many. You are probably well aware of the energy boost these drinks can give you. But do you know of their other health benefits apart from the reinvigorating punch of caffeine they provide?

For example, a regular espresso intake may reduce the risk of developing certain serious medical conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, and even some types of cancer. This article provides a quick rundown of the top five health benefits of espresso.

1.      Stimulates Good Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol – low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). The latter is considered “good” cholesterol since it transports LDL (known as “bad” cholesterol) away from the blood vessels and into the liver which quickly metabolizes it.

Espresso is the only coffee that has enough cafestol, a substance that stimulates the production of HDL. This is because the brewing method doesn’t involve paper or other filtering methods that can absorb this substance.

Higher levels of HDL and lower levels of LDL mean that there’s less chance of developing plaque and cardiovascular disease. However, espresso alone cannot help you. It is also important to adopt a healthy diet and have regular annual checkups with your doctor.

2.      Reduces Diabetes Risk

A Harvard School of Public Health research indicates that a higher coffee intake can markedly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study took a close look at the coffee drinking habits of women and men for four years.

The authors found that those who had an extra cup of coffee a day (four+ cups a day) had lowered their diabetes risk by 11%. It’s worth pointing out that the beneficial properties are not limited to espresso – drip, filtered, and other types of coffee may also yield similar results.

However, you should also adopt certain changes in your coffee-drinking habits to truly keep diabetes at bay. For example, using soy milk in your coffee is a good way to make the drink a bit healthier and thus more diabetes-friendly.

3.      Improves Your Workout Routine and Keeps Calories at Bay

A single shot of espresso has only 3 calories per fluid ounce. That said, milk-based espresso drinks have more calories than that, but it’s still within reasonable limits unless you go for one of the special Starbucks lattes.

In addition, low-calorie, caffeine-rich espresso can help you with the workout routine. Certain studies indicate that it can make exercising seem less exhausting and reduce muscle pain. Feel free to drink one or two cups of double espresso (preferably without milk and sugar) about half an hour before the workout. This way, you’ll get extra stamina for your gym routine.

4.      Helps Prevent Cancer

Compared to other types of coffee, espresso is particularly rich in antioxidants which can prevent the development of cancer. To be exact, drinking three or more espressos a day may lower your prostate cancer risk by 50%. But where do these anti-cancerous properties come from?

The answer partly lies in the preparation process. You can learn more about those methods from Homegrounds. High-temperature water is run over coffee grounds at 9-bar pressure. This allows the bioactive substances from coffee to come to life and helps retain the optimal nutrient profile of the drink.

With that said, those who are already diagnosed should be careful about their coffee intake. That’s because caffeine can increase the blood flow which oxygenates tumors and may expedite their growth.

5.      Aids Digestion

Those who wish for something natural to improve their digestive health may find a cup of espresso to be the perfect choice. Aside from its antioxidant properties, espresso is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. As such it reduces bloating, heartburn, and sickness after a meal.

Plus, espresso (as well as coffee in general) promotes healthy bowel movement. Caffeine can stimulate bowel muscles to move and help you pass the stool easier. However, caffeine can dehydrate the body at the same time, so it’s best to drink decaf if you suffer from more serious constipation.

Three Espressos a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

This list of the top five espresso health benefits just scratches the surface of the medicinal power of this beverage. At the same time, one could wonder if there are any dangers. Right off the bat, there are no health risks associated with drinking espresso, as long as you keep your consumption at moderate levels.

The recommended caffeine intake caps at 400mg per day. A single shot of espresso (1 fluid ounce) has about 63mg of caffeine, which means you would need to drink about six shots to hit the limit.